3 weeks to go!

Sunday, April 2, 2023

I’m writing this on the mobile app about 10 miles into my 15 mile hike on Lake Georgetown today. This is my second to last long training hike before I hit the trail on April 24th!

I haven’t posted from the app in a few years, so I’m wondering how the formatting will come out. This is how I will blog from the trail, so I guess I better get used to it.

I’m currently airing out my feet and eating lunch before I push the last 5 or so miles back to the car.

I feel really good today and am waking up most days really excited now. This coming week is food testing week and next week is setting up resupplies. Then the next week is finalizing everything and flying to San Diego!

Ok, back at home now. I’m feeling it a bit from the 15 mile hike yesterday, but I came through with only one real blister (deep under a callous on my left heel). This spot has always given me trouble, so I’m just going to tape the hell out of it and hope it hardens up quickly on the trail.

When I got home yesterday I took an epsom salt bath and then got cleaned up and went to my parent’s house for dinner.

bath time with my PCT Trials book

The trail itself was great. The wildflowers in Texas this spring are strong.


Pack pic

More flower pics!

I did about 10 miles before I rested, did a quick meditation (something that I will try to do daily on trail), changed socks, and ate lunch. The last 3 miles were fairly tough and I had to stop twice to tape up hot spots. I would LOVE to prevent blisters before they happen and my shoes are great, but I’ve never done multiple 15+ mile days in them in a row, so it’s just going to be a trial and error system for my feet when I get there.

Today, I went on my first grocery store trip to get various backpacking meals and test them out. I’ve decided I’m going to try and only use my stove for boiling water and then adding that to pre-packaged (both self-packaged and bought) bags. I just don’t want to deal with the clean up of a pot after a long day of hiking, not to mention the extra water it takes in the desert. It already annoys me doing it at home. We’ll see if it works, but that’s how I’m going to start out.

I’m going to try out different combinations for dinner this week and then cap it off with a sous vide pork chop on Friday night as a grand finale!

I really enjoy the planning aspect of all of these, even if it’s a bit intense logistically. It reminds me of my tour management days in the music industry when I was in my 20s. I have a knack for it and it’s really fun, even if most of these plans will probably go to hell once I actually get into the reality of trail life. Oh well!

Onward, to the trail!

Solo Overnight – Lake Georgetown 2/1/20

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Went out for my first solo overnight on Saturday and it started off well, but didn’t end in spectacular fashion. I hiked in 4.5 miles from the Cedar Breaks Trail Head, as I have multiple times before. The guy at the gate said I was the only overnighter to have checked in so far when I got there around 3pm, so I was hoping to have my pick of campsites.

Twas not to be. When I arrived 1.5 hours later, there were about a dozen people already setting up camp. I inquired as to where they came from and it turns out they had entered the trail from a non-official trail head a couple of miles back. Not a huge deal, as I still scored a decent site by the lake, but I’m somewhat of a stickler for rules at times. To be fair, this site doesn’t require reservations.

I set up camp quickly and the sun started to go down around 6. My tent was fantastic. Easy to set up and very cozy. I didn’t feel too closed in (I’m used to at least a 2 person tent) and I discovered a few new interior pockets to store gear in.

Pack explosion
Camp shoes

I didn’t end up using my stove for dinner, as I ate a large late lunch right before I headed out, so I wasn’t super hungry and just downed a protein bar instead.

I will say, I was bored. I brought a book (which I will not be doing on trail) and also had good cell signal, so I basically read a bit and tooled around on the internet for 3 hours after the sun went down before going to bed at 9pm (also known as hiker midnight).

I learned overnight that I am a cold sleeper. The temps only got down to the low 40s, but my feet were numb. I am used to sleeping with Courtney and the two dogs when we camp, so being solo, I didn’t have the advantage of those warm bodies and I guess I need a bit more warmth than I thought.

Clearly I don’t have my quilt and sleeping pad system fully dialed in. I’m going to practice this at home over the next couple of weeks. Also, I bought some down socks to wear at night and I’m also going to put my sit pad under my feet for some extra insulation, as well as stuffing my extra clothes sack down by my feet when I sleep. Hoping this will do me well.

I tried sleeping on my side, but I woke up every hour or so with sore shoulders, so on the advice of my PCT buddy Mac, I’m going to practice sleeping on my back only. He said I’ll get used to it. I tend to sleep on my back sometimes anyway, so I don’t think this will be a huge adjustment.

By 6am I was praying for the sun to come up. I was cold and on very little not great sleep. I kept my pack under the vestibule of the tent, so it stayed dry, but my rainfly was soaked and my camp shoes as well. Not a big deal, but I think if I had been further back from the lake, maybe I could have avoided some condensation.

Sunrise out my front door

It’s all a learning process. Even after 7 years of hiking and camping, there is still a ton to learn, especially when it comes to back country camping. I’m looking forward to learning more when I get out on the trail!

Starting to Dial it in – Lake Georgetown, Goodwater Trail

Sunday, January 12, 2020

This will be one of the main trails I use for training the next couple of months. The entire thing is a 26 mile loop around the lake. Today I did about 9.5 miles total, out and back.

I went out with a full pack and a couple of pieces of gear that I hadn’t tested yet. The main one being my new Gossamer Gear shoulder strap pocket. I bought the medium one first, which said it would fit iPhone X models, but I guess they didn’t mean X’s with cases. I upgraded to the large version and it works great. Phone with case fits easily and my inReach Mini rides in the front mesh pocket, while my earpods (with their own waterproof case) hang off the side on a carabiner. I also brought my umbrella for the first time, but didn’t use it.

I also tried out a different anti-chafing element on my hips and I don’t know if it was the balm or a combo of other factors, but my hip bones got WRECKED on this hike. I’ve gone 10 miles with a full pack before and never had it this bad. I really hope this won’t be the new normal, as I might have to get a whole new pack. They don’t really hurt now, but they are bruised to hell. I’ll spare y’all the pics.

I’m going to get a pack shakedown this week from my buddy Mac, so maybe that will help some, though I don’t think weight is the problem. Mac might be going for his Triple Crown this year with the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). He’s already hiked the AT (Appalachian Trail) and PCT, so just has the CDT left.

The hike itself was great. It’s a super warm January so far. The high as I type this in my office today is going to be almost 80. Here’s a video and a few pics. Good wildlife on this hike.

My destination across the lake, dead center
Trail guardians
Deer running away – kinda hard to see
Crockett Garden Falls

Oh! Side note, I got approved for my Canada entry permit! Guess I did everything right. So now I just need my California Campfire Permit, which I can get online and I’m done with permits!