Saturday, March 10, 2012

Money bags... not any more.

I THINK I have purchased the last of the gear I will be needing for this big trek north. In the last month I have purchased, all from ZPacks, one each of their cuben fiber rain chap set (2.0 oz), cuben fiber poncho (4.8 oz.)  a 20 degree down quilt in its stuff sack weighing in at 16.1 oz, with lots of little notions for sewing up my own stuff. In true multiple use fashion I can use the poncho as my ground cloth when I have to go to ground and as an under quilt/rain splash protector when I'm in the hammock. All this is in addition to its function as rain gear! The chaps are good for protection from flying insects and cold winds, as well as trail side Poison Oak and Poodle Dog Bush. I checked and they can be washed in warm water as long as they are air dried afterwards.

I didn't have the time today to get all set-up for photos but here you can get the idea of the poncho.
And here are the chaps. They can be tightened at the bottom and simply clip onto my pants/shorts at the waist.  The material looks freaky, does it not? Sadly it makes a crinkling sound and because of this I won't be able to sneak up on anyone while hiking the trail...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hiking buddy

I did a nice training hike yesterday with my hiking friend Lee. We met because he responded to a post on the PCT-L, the mega list serve for all things Pacific Crest Trail. I was selling a pack and he wanted to buy a pack so that is how we made contact. He lives in the same general area as I so we have managed to go on a few hikes together in Nicene Marks, one of the local state parks here in Santa Cruz County. We seem to hike at about the same pace and he has good snacks to boot!
Yesterdays hike was around 11 miles, which took about 5.5 hours, including lots of breaks. If I were at my projected pace right now I would be hiking 13 mile days, soon to go up to 15 miles on training hikes. It looks like I won't meet my projected training goals so I fear 11 miles will be my maximum. I hope this won't cause me trouble once on the trail... I won't be as fit as I had planned for but it will be as it is. My plan was to hold myself to 10 mile days for the first three weeks anyway - hopefully this will be enough!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm sort of torn...

When thinking about the plan for this blog I am torn between image heavy posting with light word content or image 'lite' with more wordy content. I don't really think of myself as a writer, though I can toss words together. I tend more towards a Zen idea of writing. Generally, I am of the "less is more" school (is this really a school?) thus I get suspicious of 'wordiness', especially when I am writing the words. Some people are remarkable skilled with words but I don't have the confidence to toss them about, willy nilly. I worry about such things. 

Having said all that, I guess I'll just jump in here. I am knee deep in preparations for my PCT hike. I did a 12 mile hike today, which was a bit taxing, but I managed it in 5 hours. With a #20 pound pack. Dodging poison oak and bike riders.... don't get me started on that last part. Grrrrrr. The sun was warm, the air filled with spring. I didn't see too many critters, other than winged ones, but there were lots of undergrowth rumblings. Fortunately no wild pigs to run from... they are kind of scary.

You know what is really scary? Trying to plan for a 5-6 month hike. Pigs? Pah! Nothing compared to trying to manage the 30+ resupply packages I have to deal with. Bring on the Mountain Lions and nutty Republicans... easier than what I have before me. Well, maybe not that, but you get the idea.  The whole thing is hard enough to make my brain twirl, and that ain't good.
poison oak, yikes

So, this pretty plant. Nice and oily. The bane of people who are susceptible to it's special properties. I try mightily to keep myself  away from this plant but no matter what, I seem to break out in blisters. I am, apparently, a delicate flower...

I have poodle dog bush (also bad) to look forward to in the burned out areas in the LA mountains.... Yikes! 

Fun with phones

This pretty remarkable. Here I sit, phone in hand, tentatively thumbing my way through my thoughts. It looks like this method will work! The only thing that would make this easier would be if I could use the keyboard in landscape mode. I guess I'll just have make my thumbs more pointy.
Sorry about that. I was just trying to see if the camera transfer would work. And it did!