6 Weeks to Go: PCT Prep Overview

What planning looked like a few weeks ago.

What planning looked like a few weeks ago.

I had really grand ideas about how I'd be writing about my preparations leading up to the PCT. And hopefully I'll cover the very important bases in separate posts, but for now. This is what's been going on:

ANXIETY.

Like, really bad lately.

From dreams to just daily mundane shit. I am so anxious about all of this and everything going on. I am leaving my main bread and butter business, starting and managing new business, leaving the place I've loved and lived in for the past 10 years, dealing with taxes, getting rid of lots of my stuff, maintaining a long-distance relationship, working out, planning for the trail, trying to take care of myself, trying to not let the rigors of money saving and crunching weigh me down and and and...

My now bare witch/kitchen table. Slowly packing up everything.

My now bare witch/kitchen table. Slowly packing up everything.

It's a high snow year. Will I like the trail food I bought? DO I even have enough funds for this trip? Is my budgeting correct? Will that soreness I feel in my left foot in the morning be an issue on trail? Is my pack weight too high? WHY IS EBAY SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS? Why is applying for a passport such a pain in the ass?

So suffice it to say, I haven't done a whole hell of a lot of planning. I have sadly not been as excited as I thought I would be at this time. Last year I was just foaming at the mouth with excitement. The PCT was all I could think about and now, thinking about it makes me wince a little.

Normally this time of year I am so full of joy, with all signs of spring pushing up and the air warming and smelling good. But I have been so focused on winding my life down here, I feel like I haven't been appreciating the small things as well as I could. All around me is the beauty I don't see, because I am so focused on this goal.

Sweet violets, little harbingers of spring. 

Sweet violets, little harbingers of spring. 

All complaining aside, I am going to break down each realm of concern and maybe the act of writing this down will bring me some peace and calm. I plan to expand upon each category in a separate blog post for those interested in the details.

GEAR

Pretty much figured out, thank goodness. You can see my gear list here, it does need to be updated. Hiking the OCT dialed that in for me. My heavy old headlamp broke, so I got a new and lighter one. Decided to go with a canister stove. I have my old alchohol stove as a backup. I have been interested in seeking out a new pack, as HMG has the worst hip pockets known to man. But as they say, if it ain't broke...

CLOTHING

Pretty much the same. I'll likely use some sort of ratty cotton/poly blend shirt that I own. I picked up a sun shirt and a sun hat for the desert. I changed my shoe situation up and have been enjoying the Nike Wildhorse 3 quite a bit once my feet got used to them. They run a bit small, so I'm going to have to go up a size. I bought a pair of loose style running shorts from Pearl Izumi that I like, but due to eating a lot and lifting heavy weights they are now a little too tight on me. I'll likely use them once I have dropped some weight on trail and stick to ye olde tights till then.

Cat approved sun shirt. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS TO FIND OLIVE GREEN?

Cat approved sun shirt. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS TO FIND OLIVE GREEN?

ELECTRONICS

I am a former Android user that switched to iPhone and ya know, I love the iPhone. I didn't think it was possible. Sadly, my 6s had a battery issue and would die at 50% randomly. Not good if I'm going to be using GPS from time to time. Thankfully I was due for an upgrade and I now have the 7, which is apparently dust and water resistant. I have my little Anker battery pack and it works perfectly.

And this beauty will be coming with me, damned the weight. Thanks Wangie!

The Canon Eos M10 with a 22mm lens.

The Canon Eos M10 with a 22mm lens.

FOOD

This is the thing I think I have spent the most time on planning. Right now, I have a lot of mac and cheese, rice noodles and various bars in my kitchen stacked along the wall. About $400 worth of meat sticks in my freezer. Also about 20lbs of whey protein heading towards me as I type. I will absolutely be doing a food post soon, it's a serious topic for me!

A lot of time spent cruising through Grocery Outlet to catch good deals. These were $.50 cents a bar for 240 calories at 1.6oz!

A lot of time spent cruising through Grocery Outlet to catch good deals. These were $.50 cents a bar for 240 calories at 1.6oz!

ON TRAIL LOGISTICS/RESUPPLY

This is where a lot of people freak out and stress but honestly, I'm just going to kind of loosely run with Craigs PCT Planner for ETAs with minor adjustments here and there and send my food/gear boxes. Planning nitty gritty details is always a fail. Everything changes when you get on trail and it's best not to plan logistics meticulously.  

PRETRAIL TRAINING

I'm lifting heavy 4 days a week. That's it. I dunno if I'll have the time to squeeze in cardio conditioning before hitting the trail and I don't have the time or gas money to do multiple hikes a week to build up my climbing conditioning. The trail will provide this for me with time.

FINAL DAYS LOGISTICS (GETTING TO THE TRAIL)

One must always read the PCT Class of the year Facebook group with like, piles and piles of salt. As a matter of fact, if you're a future 18'er don't join the Class of '18 group. Save yourself the stress, doubt and anger that it will likely bring you, especially if you are a queer person or a woman! ANYWAY.

I planned on taking public transit to Campo, where the southern terminus resides. The idea of that was to have more of a solo start than going the usual route of staying with trail angels (folks who help hikers). I planned my flight and my start date around this perfectly. Then, I read about a guy in the Facebook group who got robbed while using public transit in San Diego. Pack, sleeping bag and all forms of ID stolen from him and he was left stranded. Now, I've ridden Tri-Met in Portland for 8 years. I have seen a LOT of crazy and been in some situations that were pretty dangerous. I understand how to utilize the thousand yard stare and ignore/avoid unwanted attention and advances. Even then, sometimes it doesn't work. With increasing anxiety surrounding this political environment and being a solo woman I decided to shave off pounds of stress by signing up to get to Campo via the famous Scout and Frodo.

I did not realize to the extent of which Scout and Frodo did this shuttling work and that they do it free, completely free and out of the goodness of their own hearts. I hope to wash a lot of dishes for them and help in any way possible while I'm there. 

Pretty Portland streets and Edgeworthia papyrifera, or Chinese Paper Plant. It fills the street with its gorgeous fragrance come February.

Pretty Portland streets and Edgeworthia papyrifera, or Chinese Paper Plant. It fills the street with its gorgeous fragrance come February.

So, that's that. Feels good to have typed this out, but still a little daunting. Leaving Portland, leaving my nice little apartment on the street corner is going to be hard, but good. I love my city. It's the first place I have ever in my life been able to call home. It helped me grow into the adult that I am now and it has allowed me to freely become exactly who I wanted to be, free of judgement or shame. It's like ending a relationship that you enjoy, but know that ultimately will not foster the growth you seek in the long term.

As old Sam Herring sang, "running away is easy, it's the leaving that's hard."