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[pct-l] poor old Ray

John wrote:
>The essence is this; from a PCT thru-hike perspective--can you hike 20+ 
>a day or 8 miles a day?   I've reduced my pack down to 22 pounds, but I 
>can't hike more than 10-12 miles a day.   I could reduce my pack down to 
>and I still couldn't do more than 15 trail miles a day.   All the hoo-haw
>about weight doesn't matter beans if you can't walk the walk.

Yup - so what's your problem?  Meaning - WHY can't you hike more than 15 

If you have a physical problem, like maybe Parkinsons - or terminal cancer - 
or you use crutches - or maybe a foot problem -- well, maybe I could 
understand your reasoning.

But y'see - when I started hiking again I could only do about 10 mpd too - I 
had PAD and the legs just wouldn't work any better than that.  But I kept at 
it and a year later I was doing 15+ mile days - and planning to thruhike the 
AT.  I was 53 when I finished thruhiking the AT - and my "biggest mileage 
day" was 27, my "average" mpd was just under 12.  So - again - why can't you 
do it?

Oh - you maybe think the PCT is different?  It is.  Y'see, I finished the 
CDT when I was 60 - and then tackled the PCT the next year.  And I found 
that 5,000 ft climbs on the PCT slowed me down some - by less than 10% of my 
normal "flat and level" pace.  The PCT IS different - it's longer - but it's 
also a whole lot easier than the other long trails on a mile-by-mile basis.

Now - When we did the PCT in 2000,  Powerful Tiger was on the trail - and 
doing really good mileage for someone who had Parkinsons.  And then there 
was Terminal Man - yeah, he had terminal cancer.
And no - neither of them made it all the way that year, but both of them 
tried - and both of them made more miles per day than what you're thinking 
you could do. Personally, I'll be 64 next week - and we routinely do more 
miles than you're talking about.  So - once again - WHY NOT?

>Going from a 60-pound pack which I carried in my late 30s to the 22-25 
>pack I currently carry (in my late 50s) has done two things; one--it's 
>me to pursue an activity which I enjoy and be on the fringe of something 
>dreamed about (hiking the PCT, etc) AND increase my daily hiking distance
>from 8 miles/day to 12-13 miles/day.   But, even if I could spend 100% of 
>my time
>in exercise and preparation, I doubt if I could increase my miles/day by 
>than 25%, maybe up to 15 miles/day.  Top end.

Now - let me tell you WHY you CAN - IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DO SO.

First - many of Dude's suggestions might help, although a few of them are 
counterproductive.  For example, carrying massive amounts of water will slow 
you down.  Why lighten your pack if you're just gonna load it up with water 
again?  Yeah - sometimes you'll have to carry a load of water on the PCT - 
but not routinely.  Water management is something you should "plan" - not 
make assumptions or rigid rules about.  But generally, his suggestions are 
good - and will improve your mpd - if and only if you actually implement 
them consistently.  Along the way, you'll also find that the mileage will 
come faster and easier.  That's called "trail hardening" - it takes 
somewhere between 3 and 8 weeks on the trail, depending on your beginning 
physical conditioning.

Hmmm - honesty compels me - we sorta, sometimes, maybe, occasionally follow 
Dude's suggestions 9, 10, and 11.   And we rarely build fires - ( I think 
"maybe" 3 or 4 in the last 12 years).  The others we don't bother with at 
all except under "special circumstances."

But unless you've got a SERIOUS physical problem, your main problem is 
between the ears.  Don't go gettin' all bent out of shape on me about that - 
that's the main problem for most people - especially when it comes to "big 
mile days."  On the AT, "big mile days" are 15 mpd when people start the 
trail - it's only later on (maybe a month - maybe 2 - maybe longer) that 
they discover they really can do the 20's - or 30's.  On the PCT, a 15 mile 
day will put you at Hauser Creek on the first day - NOT a desirable place to 
end up.  I know because that's where we stayed our first night out cause 
Ginny sprained her ankle the first day.  So - you need to do a 20 first 
thing out of the box on the PCT.  Can you do it?  Of course you can - IF you 
can believe it.  But for most people, the lack of ability isn't a physical 
problem - it's a head problem.  It comes down to "How much do you want to do 
it?" and "What are you willing to do to get it?"  And you can start with  - 
are you willing to throw out all those numbers you used back there?   Cause 
they're meaningless - they're "assumptions" that have no relation to 
reality.  The only reality is what happens when you get on the trail and 
find out what you're actually capable of on a day-to-day basis when you're 
pushing yourself to the wall.  And I'll guarantee that you're not capable of 
predicting that.

And don't tell me about the "age problem" - I'll be back on the CDT 940 days 
from now (yeah - I'm counting).  I'll let you figure out how "old" I'll be - 
I just don't care.

CAN you do it?  YES!!!

WILL you do it?   How much do you WANT it?  Are you willing to dump your 
preconceived ideas about what you're capable of and push yourself harder 
than you've ever done before to do things you've never done before and 
become more than you've ever been before?  Are you willing to change you 
attitudes and ideas?

I don't have a clue - only you can answer that.  And you will - one way or 
the other.  We all do.

>The Ray Way provides the thru-hiker athlete--and I stress athlete--a
>methodology to walk the walk.   It also allows the average hiker who wants 
>to spend a
>week in the wilderness--a 50/60-mile hike--a way to reasonably accomplish 
>the goal.

When we plan a "week in the wilderness", we plan on 100 miles or more. And 
we don't consider ourselves to be "athletes" or "super-hikers".   50/60 mght 
be OK for the "average" hiker - but if the ambition is to thruhike, then one 
should be shooting for higher goals, bigger miles, better conditioning and a 
"different" attitude.

>However, I think corn pasta really sucks.

Yup - I'll agree wholeheartedly with that.

Walk softly,

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in  my body. 
Then I realized who was telling me this.
-- Emo Phillips

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