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[pct-l] Introduction

My name is Allen Downs, and I've pretty much always been a walker, but I've
never attempted anything approaching a PCT Thru-hike  I'm 55, a software
engineer living and working in Silicon Valley.

Back in March I decided I was going to take a break from work during 1999
and take a long walk.  The idea had evolved from hiking the (currently
incomplete) 400 mile San Francisco Bay Area Ridge Trail to walking across
the country (California to New England), and finally to thru-hiking the PCT
- something I had given some thought to in the past, but never really
considered as a serious possibility.  Can I complete a 2700 mile hike?  I
wasn't sure then - and I'm only a little more confident now - that I have
what it takes physically and psychologically to succeed in completing a PCT
thru-hike. I've decided the only way for me to find out is to prepare the
best I can, then give it my best try.

I've been keeping track of my daily walking and since April I've averaged
almost 6 miles a day, (I know, I know - most of those miles are on smooth
and level sidewalks with a light daypack. I'm going to have to quadruple my
daily mileage, and with substantial weight on my back).  I've weighed most
of my gear, and started considering and acquiring lighter alternatives.  My
reading, in addition to PCT101 -Jay Jardine's "Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's
Handbook" - has included foot care, dressing for warmth, using an ice ax for
self arrest, and so forth.  I've experimented with food and become very
conscious of calories per ounce.  I've discovered a good many ways NOT to
set up a tarp and that hiking in sandals works well for me under some
conditions.  And I've become very much aware that I have a long way to go in
terms of skills, conditioning, equipment, and planning, between now and May,

I've gotten many good ideas and equipment leads from this list.  My thanks
to those who have contributed the fruits of their experience.  My wife, and
many of my friends, think I'm crazy to be planning a PCT thru-hike, and it's
great to feel connected to a group of people who share the same ideas.

By the end of February, I'm expecting to be in a position to devote full
time to preparing my equipment, my supplies, and my body.  May 99 will be
here in no time, and then it's. Campo, here we come!  I hope to meet many of
you along the way, to share the joys of the trail, and the satisfaction of

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