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[pct-l] Things that worked for me and ones that did not

I thought I would relay the things that were helpful on my 1800 mile PCT
hike and the ones that were not.

All the equipment that I made for myself, worked fairly well (hooded fleece
top with long sleeves so that I could pull them over my hands on the
trekking poles, fleece pants, 1.1 silicon coated ripstop parka, chaps,
daypack, stuffsacks,gaiters, and side pockets, pack, 2 lb tent, and
sleeping bag, tumpline, Tyvek ground cloth, front pouch and bottle holder,
and a 3/4 thermarest that I had cut in half.)

My supplex pants, and solarweave shirt from Campmoor showed no fraying or
holes (other than the squirrel injury when I left my shirt on a picnic
table for a short time to go swimming - I often carry nuts in my pockets
and he /she enjoyed the salt by chewing holes inthe pocket.).  Other than
the shoes/boots, the only thing that I replaced or fixed was the zipper on
my front pouch ( I canabalized one from my fleece shirt).

I essentially began and ended with the same equipment with few exceptions. 
I added a Bug Bivy from Adventure 16 (weight 7 oz) because I usually just
slept out without my tent , using the Tyvek footprint from my tent as a
groundcloth.  I found that my mosquitoe head net was very hot, did not
protect my arms and shoulders from the bugs, and did not remove the
mosquites far enough away to prevent their buzzing from waking me up all

The small tarp that I used for my first month was only 5 feet wide; another
foot wider would have helped.

My 3 oz Sigg alcohol stove I used the entire trip; my husband sent me
alcohol, and when that ran out I used a 3 oz can with holes and slits on
the side ("bark burner") which enabled me to control and focus  a very
small fire, without leaving a trace.  I grew to dislike the practice of
having a fire on or next to the trail, the remains of which were very
obvious and unsightly.  I am sure that the way Jardine  uses this practice
, it leaves little or no scar; however, that is not what many people are
doing.  If these people are going to leave an obvious burn scar and
unburned wood and charcoal - it should be done in an already existing
firering and away from the trail.

It took me more than a month to use my Olympus styus Epic Camera.  I found
that it invariably washed out backgound mountains and would give very few
real dark values (like siloulettes), so I found that I had to the use the
spot light meter on EVERY shot, usually by putting it on a very light value
(like the sky) and then moving the camera to the picture that I wanted.  I
used the panorama on only one roll of film.  It got dunked twice, and
actually floated down the Tolomume River for a ways.

Almost all the food that I dried worked well with a few exception:

I no longer can eat dried apricots or dried Kiwis

I probably should have put more salt in my dinner mixes or included a
chicken or beef gravy mix in some of them.  In the end, I just had a film
cannister of salt which I relied on for every dinner.

I made a drink from sugar, maltodextrin, yeast,koolaid, and salt, with
Weight Gainers 900.  I had 3/4 of a pound for every day - about 1500
calories.  This worked well for me, until I got the Giardia.One of the
first symptoms for me is lactose intolerance, and apparently the weight
gainers 900 has a lot of lactose in it.(whey).  Milk chocolate caused
problems too, but not nearly as severe (Cramping, bloating, and nausea)

Despite having 10 different kinds of energy bar, at about Sierra City there
was a  complete inability to eat certain kinds( Metr-X, Pro-Max, Balance,
PR Ironman).  I seem to tolerate the Boulder Bar, Think , and Cliff bar
better, but I suspect that it was just a matter of time before these would
have been tossed too.  Snickers never failed to give me pleasure.

I also never tired of the Logan Bread, escpecially with coffee in the
morning.  and it held up very well, and did not get stale.  only once did
it get moist somehow and crumble.

I added olive oil  to my resuppy, and this tremendously improved all my
dinners; some yeast, ground flax seeds meal, and spirulina tablets also
seem to add something that was missing.( I took daily vitamin pills -
Maxilife from twinlabs, and Joint Fuel).

I had a pair of light weight all leather boots from Walker pass to Mammoth.
 They got wet, did not drain, and did not dry out for the entire distance. 
I envied the others who had mesh top running shoes.  When I got to Mammoth,
I bought some Brooks running shoes  and they lasted well all the way to
Crater Lake.(they produced some tendenitis on the top of my Left foot where
the shoe creased, this was relieved by adding space with sheepskin, which I
used for all my blister problems). I used a single pair of Superfeet for
the entire 1800 miles.. My feet did not grow but I found that I appreciated
larger shoes which accomodate more movement.  I had very few blisters,
which seemed to show up with increased soft sand, and/or heat.  My tender
heels (probably plantars fascitis) gradually lessened, but remained acute
during the night and on starting the trail in the morning.

I usually forded the creeks by taking my boots off, and putting on a pair
of nylon socks(from the hiker box) with the shoe inserts from my hiking
shoes inside.  this afforded some warmth, cushioning and lots of traction. 
 I also used these to pad around Vermillion, so that my boots would dry out
and so I had something else to walk in.

I saw bears occaisionally during the day, I never had any visit during the
night or try to get my food.  I slept with my food next to me in my pack(no
bears, no mice).  I can not explain this (I probably stealth camped about
1/3 of the time).  I was very careful in Yosemite to stealth camp or get to
a campground where there were bearboxes.  I did this for the most part in
Sequoia-Kings Canyon as well.


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