Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Long Wait - Confessions of a PCT Dreamer

I must confess, I am little obsessed with counting down the days until I am able to begin my thru-hike, and mark the beginning of a radical change to my lifestyle.  I do obsessive things to psychologically distract myself from thinking about the last few months of this long wait, to manage the motivational drought I have, so that I can mentally cope with having more than three months still remaining until I am standing at the trail-head ready to take my first steps.

I began keeping a journal around the same time I made the choice to hike the PCT, and that first entry was made on July 9th, 2011 while sitting in a Barnes & Noble bookstore with a latte and a new black vinyl journal.  With a little bitterness, I wrote:  "I can only see the tunnel narrowing in front of me as my choices in life slowly dwindle until there is only a straight path leading to my uneventful retirement and subsequent enrollment into an assisted living facility.  Here I will spend my last days watching National Geographic specials on the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks while sipping a bottle of Ensure through a straw and wondering 'what if?'"  That was a turning point - almost exactly 7 months ago today.  A few days later I had already made several rough gear lists, PCT preparation lists and had gone to the library and borrowed and read through a good portion of several travel and hiking books.  On July 14th I exclaimed, "Only 37 weeks until showtime!" (I was short by a couple of weeks)

Monday, January 2, 2012

More On Food Dehydration and On-Trail Meal Strategy

As I am approaching the 100-day mark in the countdown to the beginning of my hike, I wanted to provide an update on my food preparation for the PCT hike.  Here is what has worked for me so far...

I decided early on that I would ship pre-packaged meals to myself in only half of my town stops.  For the rest, I will rely on resupplying in town or enjoying restaurant meals when available.  I am more happy with this decision now after getting a taste for how much work would be involved in preparing and packaging 150 breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks!  Even if you cut that in half, that still leaves 75 days of meals to prepare - no simple task.  For these meals, I am finding that dehydrating food is the most effective way of getting the nutrition and convenience I will need on the trail.  See my previous blog on dehydrating potato soup for a description of one of my first experiments with dehydrating soup.  Some advantages that I like are:  guaranteed nutrition through knowing what goes into each meal (dehydrating preserves the nutrients in the food), lightweight, variety, ease of preparation on the trail, and definitely taste!  I have relied on the following sources for tips and recipes for this endeavor:

PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!