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[pct-l] Various useful/less comments

Folks --

A trick I used successfully once on the PCT in '94 was to go a grocery 
store upon arriving at a town, buy about a pound and a half of hamburger, 
then ask them to rewrap it in 1/2-lb portions (if I remember correctly), 
and freeze it.  The next day when I left town to go back to hiking I picked 
up the meat, placed it into double ziplocks, and stuffed that into my fuzzy 
coat in the pack.  Two days later the last portion was still partially 
frozen, despite S.Cal temps, and my stews were much more satisfying (read: 
fantastic!) those evenings.  It would be easy to do that with almost any 
kind of meat.  If a trail-side store wanted to cater to me as a backpacker, 
they could sell pre-frozen 1/2 lb portions of almost any meat at a 
reasonable price, no bones, please!

At another stop I tried the same trick, but forgot to pick up the meat! 
(drifty, huh?)

I finally (they were backordered) got hold of a Trangia Westwind emergency 
alcohol stove through SNAC ($20 + s&h).  Quality construction and seems to 
burn well.  Took 15 minutes in a light breeze using windscreen and titanium 
pot w/lid to boil a liter of cold tap water; approximately half that on 
three trials to boil about 400 ml.  Stove with stand weighs ~6.6 oz.  I 
think I can get rid of about an ounce by drilling holes in the stand.  By 
leaving the lid behind I could save another 0.9 oz, bringing the stove 
weight, not counting windscreen, to about 4.5 oz.  MSR windscreen weighs 
another 1.7 oz.  No data yet on fuel consumption.  VERY nice simmer ring 
(0.7 oz) works very well -- I could lie there in the woods at about 45 deg 
ambient, eat for half an hour and my pasta was still as hot at the end as 
the beginning!  But so far have only used stove in nice, comfortable 
weather.  Also -- fits into the 1.5 liter pot nicely, including the stand, 
but not the windscreen.

Doing the treadmill etc at the Q for, say, 2.5 hours in an evening, I lose 
2-3 pounds of water weight, despite frequent trips to the water fountain.

On an eight day trip last summer I carried a couple of small squirt bottles 
of olive oil; it worked better than I thought it would to enhance spaghetti 
at dinner or corn grits at breakfast.

As I see various magazines and talk to people I realize again and again 
what a huge undertaking a PCT thru-hike is.  One person said, "Wow, I've 
never met anyone doing anything like that before!"  A real challenge.  When 
I bowed out in '94 I realized that this is the hardest thing I've ever 
tried to do.  I'm eagerly looking forward to trying again this summer.

-- Dave

David B. Stockton

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