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[pct-l] Introduction


I'm a native upstate New Yorker and current Californian (Bay Area) since July
94.   I've always felt "at home" in the wilderness.  I grew up camping (car
camping, I now realize it's called) on family vacations, hiking, canoing, and
cross country skiing.  I got involved with backpacking 3 summers ago (I guess
that would be the summer of 1996) and can't stop!  I've taken a snow camping
course and have been on 3 snowcamping trips (snowshoes, backpacks, building
snow shelters etc.).  I'm grateful for the skills I learned, but am not too
keen on doing that regularly.  I've done desert hiking (which I enjoyed much
more than I had expected!) as well as a great deal of backpacking in the
Sierras and its foothills, the Trinity Alps, and various other areas.  I also
led a group of girls (12 year olds) this past Aug. on a 5 day backpack in
Colorado for an organization called Big City Mountaineers  (web site:
http://www.bigcitymt.org).  (Any other BCMers out there?)

I'm planning on doing the CA section of the PCT (South to North) starting mid-
April or beginning of May 1999 and hiking through the end of August.  

My timeframe is such (hiking until the end of August) because I'm a teacher
(I'm a Special Ed. teacher, currently working with kids who have moderate to
severe learning differences) and I'm taking 4 months off of work (April- July
- yes, our school runs through the end of July - only August off...) and would
like to have my position there for me in Sept. when I return.  

I am hoping to do the entire CA section within that timeframe.   I'm figuring
if I start mid-April I'd have a good chance of doing all of CA by the end of
Aug.  (But depending on the winter, it may be wiser to start in May.)  I'm
also investigating whether or not this goal would be too much of a "push" for
me.  (Suggestions?)

Right now I tend to hike from 3-8 miles per day when I do weekend or weeklong
trips, mostly because part of the purpose of these trips is the relaxing
afternoons and evenings at each location.  However, after reading Jardine and
other sources, I know I could break my day up differently and I'm sure I could
cover 10-15 miles a day (maybe more?) (depending on altitude) without
increasing my speed or my soreness.  (I'm trying to lighten my load also - to
help with this.)  

I've started "training" by walking hills and trails in my neighborhood every
day after work and doing a longer hike each weekend.  Any other suggestions of
how to get physically ready?  I hear this is the best way.  I may try to add a
weight routine for strengthening my knees as well.

Any PCT through hikers living in the Bay Area?  I'd love to meet some people
who've done extended trips on the PCT or other trails and hear about their
experiences and get suggestions etc.

I've just joined this listserve and appreciate the comments, suggestions and
encouragement I've found here.  Thanks.

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