[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [pct-l] Rice Brothers Advice

Hello All -

I just reread the interesting post from the Rice brothers.  I wish that I
could have run into them on the trail...it looks like they worked
themselves into almost the exact same hiking "system" that my son and I
used in '95.  It would have been a hoot to compare notes - I bet that I
might have learned something!

We liked cold cereal for b'fast when the night temps were above freezing.
We made up a mix of our favorite cereals (bulk packs from Sam's) and loaded
up a bunch of little zip-loc sandwich bags with about a cup each (we bumped
that up to about 1 and a half cups later in the trip).  We added powdered
milk to each bag at about 4 times the normal strength (we had noticed a
VERY strong craving for dairy products on the AT and we figured that our
bodies were trying to tell us something <g>).  We went down to the local
health food store and bought two big cans of powdered protein supplement
(vanilla and strawberry).  Kinda like "Instant Breakfast," but a lot
cheaper (in bulk) and the nutrition numbers were a lot better.  We loaded
double the suggested amount into each cereal packet.  Neither my son nor I
particularly like the taste of powdered milk, but the above mix tasted fine
to both of us.  I started to burn out a little on the strawberry flavor
just before we switched to hot b'fasts, but fortunately my son still loved
it and was always willing to trade <g>

I would set my alarm watch for about 10-15 minutes before first light.  I
always enjoyed laying in the bag as it slowly got light enough to see.  I
would shake Tony up and we would see if we could pack up and get completely
ready for the trail before we had to pee (lent a REAL sense of urgency to
the process each morning <g>).  We usually ate a bar (granola, power, or
sports bar) as we fluffed up the stealth camp and we were on the trail well
before sunrise.  A couple of hours later (or when we found a warm spot in
the sun with a good view, or when we hit water, or when the cereal started
calling a little too loudly, or...) we grounded the packs, doffed boots and
socks, and pulled out the cereal for b'fast.  We always rinsed out the
cereal bag with canteen water and drank it...the empty bag then became our
pocket trash bag for the day (at night we would add our personal trash
collected during the day to the trash bag carried with the food).  I
carried my spoon in my shirt pocket, so the only cleanup needed was to lick
it and replace it.

I wore a white long-sleeved shirt for the entire thru-hike.  My tan hiking
shorts converted from long pants to short pants by zipping the legs off.  I
started at Campo with the sleeves rolled down and the legs zipped in (I was
NOT prepared for all that S California sun!).  Took about a week of up/down
off/on before I became comfortable with sleeves rolled up and legs off all
the time.  I later rolled the sleeves down and put the legs on when we were
hiking on slick trail after dark when it was below freezing (protect the
meat!).  Looking dirty was NOT a problem and the shirt developed an odor
only when we were dry hiking some of those 30-40 mile stretches between
water sources (we were sometimes jokingly "accused" of not really being
thru-hikers because we looked so "clean"!).  Both of the shirts that I used
on the PCT (switched at about the half-way point) developed stains on the
left breast pocket from the "Sun Dog" camera pouch that I carried on my
left shoulder strap.  I now have replaced the metal fasteners on the camera
pouch with plastic and the sweat-rust isn't a problem anymore.  The stains
are just now starting to fade out (after about a gazillion washings...).

These "Sportif" brand shirt and shorts are made of supplex nylon.  The
material is VERY tough (protects the hide) and it is very easy to keep
clean (rinse it in every creek I pass, zap it with detergent at every town
stop).  The supplex is texturized to simulate the feel of cotton and the
shirt is built with vent panels that give more "breathability" than similar
cotton shirts.  I decided on the AT to never (never, Never, NEVER!) use any
type of cotton clothing again on a thru-hike.  I have now decided that
supplex does so well for me that it is usually the only type of shirt that
I wear on or off the trail (am wearing one of my PCT trail shirts as I type
<g>).  I am beginning to wonder if they will ever wear out.

I tend to do MUCH better hiking in cold than in heat...IMHO white (or light
colored) clothing is the only way to go.  I broke my no-cotton rule for my
white 100% cotton bandanna, which I often wore under my (white <g>)
baseball cap to cover my ears and neck.  I tried to use a wide brimmed hat,
but the load control straps on my pack kept getting in the way.  The
baseball cap actually wound up working much better for me: kept my glasses
dry in the rain, kept the glare down, the mesh top gave my headbone plenty
of ventilation, and later the cap could be worn under a boggin in freezing
temps with no problem.

My son and I both used an umbrella all the way up to Kennedy Meadows.  We
duct-taped a cut-up space blanket (pocket size) over each of them, removed
the handles, and rigged ways to attach them to our packs.  I wound up
adding "control strings" to mine so I could tilt it to my best advantage
without using my hands.  They were a godsend during some of those very hot
afternoons, but we were more than ready to send them home as we got up into
snow country.  We didn't get rained on all that much in the Cascades, but
neither of us wanted to get the umbrellas back even when the bottom did
fall out.

We messed around trying to figure out our water needs quite a bit.  We
wound up eating all of our meals at water when we could.  We didn't carry
soap at all, so we used potable water to clean our pot (rinse clean and
drink the rinse water).  We always tried to drink a couple liters at each
water hole and we would start hiking with at least one liter each for every
5 miles we expected to hike before getting more water.  Cooking supper at
water and then hiking for another few hours allowed us to enjoy the evening
coolness and to always make dry camps right at dark (or sometimes after
<g>).  We only filtered the water we drank, all cooking water was boiled
(as we cooked) to zap the critters.  I doubt that I will bother with a
filter on my next thru-hike - boiling and iodine worked well for us during
the last part of our PCT hike.

Later, as the days got shorter and the temps were below freezing at night,
we tried to do all cooking and cleanup during the dark (daylight was for
hiking!).  I would cook while Tony laid out the ground cloth (and pitched
the tarp if rain looked imminent) and set up our bags.  We ate and cleaned
the pot after changing to sleep clothing and had gotten into our bags...we
always left creek water in the pot so that we could easily do B'fast even
if the water froze during the night.  I would set my watch for about an
hour before dawn and would reach out an arm to fire up the stove for
grits/oatmeal water.  I would eat my 4 packs of instant grits or instant
oatmeal and then would wake Tony up when the water was hot for his 6 packs.
I boiled coffee water (Folgiers coffee bags) while he ate and we sipped on
the coffee (insulated mugs w/lids...the coffee cleaned out the oatmeal <g>)
while we broke camp.  We tried to be moving as soon as it got light enough
to see the trail.  Sometimes we made it before we had to pee <VBG>.

John - Do you think that the Ricebrothers might be interested in joining
the list?

- Charlie II  AT(MEGA'93)

* From the Pacific Crest Trail Email List | For info http://www.hack.net/lists *