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Re: [pct-l] suture kits

Laurel / PCTL,

You wrote:
"What has been everyone's experience in obtaining these things?"

I explained to my doctor before hand about the possibility of serious
infection or physical damage in a situation of two to three days maximum
from help.  He prescribed a general anti-biotic that I never needed and a
pain killer, codeine, as I recall.  I never used or needed this either.

However, I considered that I could be in a situation with a broken or
sprained limb, by myself, in the middle of Northern Yosemite and need to
walk, limp, stumble or crawl out.  It was my strategy to have a good pain
killer with me that would enable me to withstand the pain from such an
injury in getting myself to outside care.

This brings to mind another way I view the ultralight vs heavy pack
strategies.  Each is just a strategy to cover yourself in any of the
multitudes of possible worst-case-scenarios.  One strategy might be that: I
don't get sick from unfiltered water nor have common stomach or digestive
tract problems so I will risk going without a filter and without an
anti-biotic.  My joints are strong and I have never had a sprained ankle and
so I will risk going without a strong painkiller.  I plan to hike 30+ miles
per day so I will risk not carrying a full tent to shelter me from an
intense storm banking on being able to walk out or away from it.

But do you see what is happening here?  You are compounding odds of a
negative event occurring.  When you compound odds (statistics 101) the
overall odds of one of the events of occurring go up!  I can almost
guarantee that something bad is going to happen to any thruhiker or section
hiker that spends 4 to 6 months on the trail.  The odds are good that
something will happen that will challenge your strategies.  It may be two
things, it may be two things at once, it may be two things at once with
complicating factors that wouldn't otherwise cause problems but in
conjunction with the two other problems can REALLY challenge your

You see this, in an amplified sense, in the 1996 Everest climbing tragedy in
"Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakaur and others.  Don't get me wrong here, nothing
anywhere close is likely to happen on a PCT hike like what happened on
Everest in '96.  My analog here is that a combination of situations
conspired to cause a serious loss of life and injury.  Not one single event
or situation can be blamed for the deaths.  It was a combination of
misjudgment by guides, in-experience of clients, a terrible storm, poor
planning and timing, all complicated by the extreme altitude and lack of

So what's my point?   Don't just plan for the sprained ankle in Northern
Yosemite.  It might just happen that you sprain you ankle trying to set up
your tarp in 60 mile per hour winds that are carrying in a freak late spring
storm that is going to dump two feet of snow and your stomach isn't feeling
too well either.  Your food is low and that bear is really interested in the
smell of food coming from your pack.   (how's that for conspiring

Now your tarp isn't going to help in this situation, your light weight
sleeping blanket is going to get blown away and the 30 miles per day pace is
worthless with the sprained ankle and . .  you are now in big trouble.

I'm not trying to be an alarmist here.  I am just trying to make you
thruhikers aware of multiple conspiring circumstances.  I know that I am not
the only person that has ever had a first hand experience with this.  The
better your strategies are thought out, and the better your equipment is and
the greater your experience is . . . the better you are likely to come out.
All of this, of course, balanced with the weight you have to carry on your

IMHO, Hike your own hike.

Greg "Strider" Hummel

PS (maybe its the conspiring circumstances that make it so exciting and
memory worthy!)

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