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[pct-l] TednDeb - Cascades in May

Well, we survived our 3 night(Fri,Sat,Sun), 3 day (Sat,Sun,Mon) trial in
the Cascades. Although we didn't get out to the PCT (our hiking buddies
were leery of the snow), our trip was very educational.  We set personal
bests for distance travel on one trip, 35+ miles!  It was a bit short of
our goal, but we were still pleased.

First, a lightweight tent is not the plan.  Sunday night it POURED for
our last our on  the trail.  We were soaked!  And there wasn't enough
room to effectively dry off in the microscopic vestibule.  So we ended
up getting the inside of the tent a bit wet.  Pitching our tent went all
right, and we stayed plenty warm, but we weren't able to get anything to
dry out.  Our lightweight tent (Kelty Zen, similar to the flashlight by
SD) has a waterPROOF fly, so we didn't get a lot of ventilation, even
with the door wide open.  Hence, nothing inside our tent or under the
fly dried out at all.  Our sleeping bag (synthetic fill) had been
slowing capturing moisture, and was now noticeably damp, even though we
had been very careful to keep it dry.  Despite being a bit clammy, it
was definitely warm.  With the moisture so high in the ten, the wall of
the tent were finally getting damp, even though they weren't touching
the fly.  It was just too moist in our tent.  We both agreed that a open
air tarp, be it colder, would have been the better choice (yes, we do
have experience with pitching a tarp).  Bottom line:  the three extra
pounds of the ten vs. the tarp just aren't worth it in rainy weather.
Although the tent will be our shelter of choice in bug country.

Our food was jammin'!!!!!!  Most everything was tasty and easy.  The
pretzels were are good source of sodium, but my wife didn't think they
provided much energy.  Our ZipLoc cooking worked like a charm (as
always). The crackers didn't fair too well by the third day.  Anyone
have some suggestions as to how to preserve crackers in the pack?  For
those of you who have our food list, we went with the Stuffing, Mashed
Potatoes, and Mac & Cheese days, minus the Jerky and Logan Bread.

By Sunday our shoes were soaking wet, but our feet held up pretty well.
My feet, in running shoes, poly liners, and rag wool socks, were fine.
Much to my amazement, I didn't develop a single blister! I did notice
some SERIOUS swelling Tues A.M. when I put on my regular shoes, WOW!  My
wife Deb struggled to keep her feet as dry as possible, which caused her
tremendous grief.  Her hiking sandals (Chaos, or something) worked great
when dry, but caused blisters when her feet were wet.  She also had some
problems with her poly liners bunching up in her fabric boots (Vasque).
She came home with two small blisters.

We had a bit of trouble getting everything in our pack and maintaining
some sort of organization.  The food was a bit bulkier that I thought it
would be.  The tent was a new acquisition, and too up quite a bit more
room that the tarp.  I did experience some upper back strain because my
pack (arcteryx Bora 40 ~ 3200 ci) wasn't riding properly.  I'm not sure
if it was overloaded, or the up and down of the trail were straining my
back, or if it was from the increased hours lugging the thing around.  I
didn't weigh it (oops), but it seemed to weight around 40 lbs.  My
training weight has been about 30-35 lbs. My wife had no problems with
her REI pack (1500ci).  It was pretty heavy at 25 lbs, but she was
carrying some extra junk with her.  Man, I thought we were doing really
well on weight...NOT!

I only have one thing to say about hygiene, bald is beautiful :)

The ranger station at North Bend (near Snoqualmie) said that the trails
were snowbound at 3100.  We got up over 3000 ft and didn't see a trace
of snow.  According to the Snotel Sites, the snow is still below normal,
and should be clear a week or two early this year.  My wife has the next
two weeks off, so hopefully she will have a chance to check out the
trail in person.

My sister promised to have our web site up and running before we leave
June 8th, so keep your eyes to the CPU, and we'll post the URL as soon
as it is available.

I'm so excited I could just pee!!!

Canada to Mexico 1998


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