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[pct-l] Act of reason

I started from Campo on May 2 and was sidelined near Warner Springs with
torn ligaments. June 1 is my target return date. In the meantime, I
thought I would share some of my experiences and observations on a
rather unique year for hiking the PCT.

Tarps: I left my tent at home and brought a Tyvek tarp that I'd
purchased via the PCT-L.  Everyone I talked to said "Don't worry about
rain. It hardly rains in California in the summertime." Having grown up
in Southern California and having spent all of my adult years in
Northern California, this was not contrary to my experience. However, I
wish I'd brought the tent. Except for the first night out it rained
every day. I don't mind the rain really. But the Tyvek tarp in the rain
(and the accompanying wind) sounds like a percussion section of a junior
high school band. Sure the weight savings is great but a good night
sleep is more important than two pounds. When I head back out, the tent
will be on my pack and the tarp will be in the trash. (By the way, of
all the hikers I ran into during my first week, not one was  using a
tarp; I was so jealous). I hate to think of what could have happened to
me in the snow storm that followed my departure if I'd stayed out there
with just that tarp. You can read about one fun experience in a storm at

Boots: If you have a history of ankle injuries, think long and hard
about wearing running shoes before you head out on the trail. I bought
into the lightweight shoe thought, eventhough I have at least 4,000
miles of experience with heavy and lightweight boots. I trained and
started with cross-trainers for extra support, but they weren't enough.
I twisted my ankle on a rock and had to pull off for a couple of weeks
while my ligaments heal.  I'll have a pair of boots on when I get back
out on the trail. They will come in handy in this year's heavy snow. I'm
not too worried about the cost, either. I've already spent some money on
this trip and it is too important to me to cut corners (Giving up my job
for five months is about $20,000 to $25,000 just to begin with, so you
could argue that it is already an expensive hike).

Water: I never carried more than two liters. This year there were water
sources every couple of miles and the wet weather kept me from
dehydrating. The only time I ran into trouble was at Rodriguez Spur
Truck Trail, when we couldn't find the spring. I had to hike an
additional 10 miles with less than one liter. I passed one trickle after
Pioneer Mail Picnic Area, and I wish I'd sunk my purifier in it to fill
up. (Incidentally, it wasn't dehydration that caused me to twist my
ankle; I made it to San Felipe Creek with water to spare).

Corn pasta: I never bought any and never tried any. But the first guy I
was hiking with bought tons of it and planned to eat it every night. By
the second night he was already complaining about it. Apparently he
hadn't heard the discourse about it on the PCT-L. We split up at Mt.
Laguna (that was as far as we had agreed to hike together. Besides, he
wanted to stay the night there).

Sorry if it sounds like negative ranting. I received mostly great
advice, which I employed quite successfully, and I cannot wait to get
back out on the trail. Reorganizing my itinerary and resupply boxes is
something I CAN wait to do (Anybody know how long a post office will
hold a General Delivery package?). The things I listed were things that
stand out in my mind right now. Just because Jardine and *everyone* else
is doing something, that doesn't mean that it's best for you. Hike your
own hike.

back on the PCT on June 1 (with boots and a tent).

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