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[pct-l] suggestions

On Sat, 4 Mar 2000, CMountainDave@aol.com wrote:

> A few suggestions from my 1999 thru hike:
>   You don't need a tent in S. cal. no bugs and very little inclement weather 
> first 700 miles. A good idea to have one thereon

I'll agree with that. Just take the time to test out your tarp or
whatever alternative you choose ahead of time. You don't want to be
pitching a tarp for the first time when that odd storm is rolling through.

>    Internal pack vs. external. Tweedle dum and Tweedle dee. Have used both 
> extensively and can't tell the difference.

I used both [not at the same time] on my thru-hike. Use what works for
you. An external *might* be a little cooler in So.Cal. because of the air
circulation on your back. An internal *might* be better going through the
Sierras because of the added agility you'll get. The differences are
slight enough not to really matter. Use what works for you.

>   Don't miss Vermilion Valley Resort. Best layover of all.

I'll second that. 

>   Callahan's near Ashland - can stay in barn loft for free.
>    Best bug protection - long sleeve shirt and pants

Don't forget a head net. I thought they were ridiculous before I used one
but wouldn't have traded mine in for anything in the Sierras.

>   Won't say anything about boots. You won't listen anyway. You'll just have 
> to find out the hard way that fabric boots suck

Sorry, but I can't agree at all. Two pair of Vasque Clarion Impacts lasted
me the whole way. My podiatrist tells me that I have loose ankles and need
some support. My experiences with sneakers confirms this. 

Incidentally, it's not a bad idea to see a podiatrist before you go even
if you've never had foot problems before. I developed sore arches about
the time I entered Oregon. The arch supports I wear now would have
prevented that. 

>   Your worst enemy is going to be that voice that say's,"why am I doing this" 
> The only way to defeat him is to refuse to listen to him.

Most definitely! Poor gear selection won't keep you from reaching your
goals. If you really messed it up, you can always make adjustments along
the way. Try and stay focused on your whatever your goals may be. If you
want to get to Canada, keep reminding yourself that when you're tempted to
stop early or take an extra day in town. If you don't care about how much
of the trail you complete this year and just want to spend a few months
on the trail, then do what you have to to have fun. 

It's important to remember that you're going to have good and bad days. If
you've been having a bad day or two or even a week or so, the trail has a
magic way of getting better. I suffered a lot of doldrums in northern
California and considered quitting. Now, I wouldn't trade my experiences
in Oregon or Washington for anything.

Just a couple of other random thoughts...

Distribute pre-addressed post cards with mailing dates to your friends and
family. 4"x6" index cards work well. You'll still only get about half of
them sent to you but at least you'll get some mail. It's easy for people
to forget about you out there. Any little word from home will be like gold
out there.

Have money with you when you get to Stehekin. The bakery is on the way
into town and waiting until you get your resupply package will be
intolerable. Really, the bakery alone is worth the 2500+ mile walk. :-)

Don't be afraid to take side trips. A little peak bagging might just be
what you need to boost your spirits. I'll even offer a few suggestions;
San Jancito, if it's clear of snow; Olanche Peak, the southern sentinal of
the Sierras; Sonora Peak, last thing over 11,000' until Shasta and it's
easy; Sierra Buttes lookout, the northern sentinal of the Sierras;
Mt. Thielson, again it's easy enough. 

Good luck out there. I wish I was going along.


Karl "Birdman" Brandt PCT97 LT98                       (650) 363-1350

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