WOW ! Arrived safely and was shuttled to an evenings stay and a lift to the trail, by my first trail angel "Girlscout" who was a great host and helped this West-coast-shocked New Englander in many ways. All my thanks for a great time getting to the border! The hiker community famous "Lint" also stayed the night, and I arrived at the Border with Mexico right about 7am on Sunday May 19th. After greeting the 4 other brave souls and taking pictures, we headed north at our various speeds. The mountain desert terrain of southern California has been incredible thus far. I've already seen a mountain lion, 2 coyotes, a road runner, a horny toad, and a number of other stinky hikers! Getting up and over the San Jacinto Mountains these past 3 days has been a challenge, but the views from 9,000 feet have made it all worth it. Still a little snow up at elevation, which is helping to provide some small streams in an otherwise increasingly more hostile hiker environment. Joined a PCT class of '82 hiker for a beer and snacks around the campfire last night to celebrate the holiday. After a 6,000 ft descent over 16 miles coming down to the desert floor, I'm updating in the shade of the trail angels "Ziggy and the Bear" who open up their yard for the use of hikers (they had 61 stay with them in one night earlier this year). Many thanks to these kind and generous enablers of our journey. Thats all for now folks, update you when next I can!
I'm off on this grand adventure, and this is my first post all packed and ready to go!
The time for departure has finally come. On Saturday I'll be flying into San Diego and then starting the trail on Sunday the 19th of May. After a stay with San Diego trail angel and former thru-hiker Girlscout, I'll be on my way on this amazing journey.
Last minute things that I'm doing include:
1) Packaging up some Chia Seeds to help with hydration in SoCal
2) NOT bringing a stove till I have it sent to me at Kennedy Meadows for going through the Sierra's.
3) Getting some last minute socks and shoes finalized for back-ups on the trail
4) Shipping the first 500 miles of resupply boxes to myself (10 boxes will get my to about Bend, Oregon , where I look forward to seeing my girlfriend and seeing some of the local sites around Portland and Bend for a few days R&R)
5) Just got in my new prescription sunglasses - and will be wearing them everyday to help my eyes adjust to the new Rx before I hit the trail
Thanks again to all who have helped me with encouragement, support, and especially to all the companies and individuals who have helped to
A question that people frequently have in regards to a 2,600 mile walk, is "How and where do you get food?". The answer to that question is simple: You get it anywhere you can!
Burning between 4-6,500 calories EVERY DAY will mean that I have an appetite once I start hiking for a week or two. Not carrying that much food every day, means that I will be bulking up on extra food in towns, and in packages I've mailed to supply points.
My food will be split between mailing boxes of food from larger towns to smaller towns (buying food as I arrive at towns, and then mailing a few days worth up the trail to various post offices and hiker friendly stores), and simply buying food as I go.
For anyone looking to send me care packages here are some general guidelines:
- Use ONLY USPS Priority Mail Flat rate boxes (Medium for 2-3 days of food, large for about 4-5) and I will be eating like I'm in a competitive event, so more is usually better!
- Most PO will hold packages marked "For PCT Thru-Hiker" for at least 2 weeks, so mail early.
- Nothing that will melt in the 100* California heat, very dense in calories (cashews, almonds, jar of Skippy, sesame sticks from your local health food, macaroons, tuna in the bag, etc.)
- Something that is fruity and fun like gummy bears, gushers, sour patch kids, fruit/nut granola bars. - Powdered gatorade/sports drinks or powdered peach ice tea / lemonade to add to the thousands of gallons of plain stream water that I will be consuming.
- Any energy bars that you really like - maybe I'll really like them to.
- Some dried fruits - mango, pineapple, apples, etc.
REMEMBER - I will either eat, carry, or throw out/give away everything in the box, so no glass jars, or canned goods.
- Also some wet wipes, travel sized baby powder, a few q-tips, anything homemade (just put it in a ziplock if it may melt in the heat a little) are always good things to add to a care package!
Below is my tentative schedule of resupply points: (I start at mile 1 on 5/19/13 and will hope to be doing between 20-25 miles a day from the start; thus my first resupply point at 110 miles (Warner Springs,CA) means that I will carry 4-5 days of food with me at the beginning, and will then have 100 miles between my next resupply point. I won't be carrying the same amount of food between each section, but any food that is more than I need to carry - I'll simply sit down and eat it right out of the box!)
Big shout out to YAMA Mountain Gear for the beautiful loaner Cirriform Single Wall Cuben tent! Slept comfortably last night at 34* and enjoyed the perfect inside space / outside footprint size combo! Looking forward to getting out into the beautiful west and spending many a night in this tent.
Another big thank you to Rod at StickPic for getting me my 3rd and latest addition for my trekking pole collection. Certainly one of those "I wish I'd thought of that" ideas, you will not want to leave home without it!
Finally, to all those who have made gear contributions and have asked to remain anonymous, I sent you all a heartfelt thank you! You are enabling me to have an experience of a lifetime, and your generosity is deeply appreciated.