Thursday, January 26, 2023
As I’m sitting at home sick today and not working, I figured I’d update the blog, since it’s been a while. I’ve been training on the Peloton and lifting weights and stretching pretty much 5-6 days a week, much as I’ve done for the past 2 years. Yes, I’m part of the Peloton cult and I love it. That said, hiking works different muscles than cycling, so I’m going to pick up the training hikes in the coming weeks.
Also, there’s some crazy snow levels right now in the Sierra, which I’ll continue to watch this spring. I’ll address that after the hike breakdown below.
I did a training hike a couple of weeks ago out at Lake Georgetown, which is one of my favorite places to hike within reasonable driving distance from Austin.
I filled my pack with a water weight training bag that I got for Christmas, but it didn’t really work as well as I would’ve liked. Pack weight, with water and food, came in at 32.5 pounds, which is probably about accurate for what I will be carrying in the desert to start off.
The weight was all at the bottom of the pack, which pulled the straps back and down too much. It didn’t simulate a true full pack weight, so I’ll need to adjust my system going forward. I may just end up packing my actual gear, where the weight is distributed much better throughout the pack.
Also, for those who followed this blog back in 2020 for my initial attempt, you’ll notice I have switched packs from the Osprey Exos 58 to the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60. This pack fits me much better and the hip belt is much more comfortable for me. GG is also a local Austin company, which makes me happy.
I hit the trail and hiked about 10 miles out and back. The trail here is pretty rocky and rooty, which is good to build up my ankles and feet.
I brought along my umbrella and rain coat, since there was a slight chance of rain. Video below.
I brought along lunch that will approximate what I will probably be eating on trail most days, at least at first. Tortillas, salami, cheese, and yellowbird hot sauce!
I had planned to go about 15 miles, but the pack weight not being distributed well was wearing on my shoulders a bit too much, so I cut it a bit short. Of course, the longhorns were hanging out as usual.
I pretty much have all of my gear already, which is nice to not have to worry about too much. I’ve been collecting and testing for several years now, but I did get my microspikes in!
Hoping to get to test these out in North Carolina in a few weeks, but we’ll see if the snow and ice cooperates out there. Also, I got a pair of the updated version of my La Sportiva Ultra Raptors.
So far they fit pretty similarly to the old version, but I’m still breaking them in. Hoping I have the same good luck I’ve had with the previous pairs. Hardly any blisters ever in 5 years, though hiking 20 miles a day might change things.
Regarding the snow in California. Man, they had quite a wild December and January out there. From the flooding on the coasts (I was in Santa Barbara right before it hit really bad there) to a ridiculously high start of the snow season, things may be interesting come summer.
Right now I’m planning on starting the trail in mid to late April. I’m more or less resigned to the fact that I will likely have to flip up and skip the Sierra instead of going straight through from Mexico to Canada. This would have bothered me a lot more in the past, but I’ve learned a big part of this challenge is rolling with the punches. If the snow continues the way it is trending, it may be an all time high snow year for the Sierra. It’s just not safe to hike through in those conditions.
I would hike the first 700 miles through the desert, up to Kennedy Meadows, then find a way to get to northern California or Oregon and pick up the trail again to the Canadian border, then back to finish the Sierra after that when the snow should have mostly melted out.
All of this could change, but right now, that’s sort of what I’m planning.
So that more or less catches us up!
I’m heading to Asheville in mid-February for Cat’s birthday and hope to get in a training hike there, as well as see some dear friends. After that, I’ll continue training in March and April, while starting to put together some re-supply boxes and generally start to plan the super detailed logistical stuff that I love so much. Stay tuned!