The last couple of weeks have been kinda strange to me. I got sick like two weeks ago and stayed at home since then. Nothing critical but still a struggle for me. I finally came to an end with most of my planing chores. I even booked my first flight to Atlanta where i will stay for around 2 weeks. Plan for now is to test out all of my new gear which has been ordered and delivered to there a while ago. Clarity (one of my closest friends from the AT) and I will hang out for a while and hike a part of the AT for a couple of days. Right now i can’t tell what I’m more excited for. Hanging out with Clarity and do some hiking on the AT (damn, i miss that trail so much) or for my thru-hike of the PCT. I think its a good mixture of both.
Besides all the “planning” tasks I had to do lately (figuring out my resupply options, researching of replacement options for gear i wanted to bring from my AT thru-hike, looking up flights and prices, and so on) i got into reading two different Blogs from Tom Outland, PCT Class of 2015 and Katie Fleming, aka Yoda, PCT Class of 2016. Yoda and I hiked together for a couple weeks back on the AT. She is going to do the CDT this year. Anyways. Both blogs made out for a very good read. Interesting to see those two totally different hiking styles. Tom chose to stay away from big bubbles and he simply enjoyed his solitude over being part of a (larger) group. Yoda, on the contrary, chose to hike in a group (about 7 peeps in total). I can see a lot of pros and cons on both approaches. I’m not quite sure how my hike will be like yet, but from my point of view, hiking in a small group (max 4 in total) will be the maximum i can stand. I know my “social” limits from the AT and 4 is just a good number. It wont make things that much complicated as when hiking in a bigger group (or bubble) to say the least.
On the one hand i do like my solitude a lot. It’s kind of a “fear” of me i’d like to come over along the trail. On the AT there were a couple of times that i felt “left behind”. Sometimes as a result of my own decisions, sometimes as a result of others. No complaints from me, it was still the most amazing time of life!
On the other hand, hiking in a group can be so much fun! You will laugh, eat, sleep, hike together. You become family to the people in your group. Some will last for a lifetime, others not. Thats the way it is. As i said, there are lots of pros and cons to that topic.
Now that i gained a little experience about thru-hiking, i also know what i want and what I don’t want to experience on the PCT and the TA. I do know that no one can “plan” such things. It’s also possible that i will end up hiking with a larger group. I will see. As of now i’m opting for a Solo Hike since this is one of my biggest fears.
I do not hike that trail for others (only in terms of inspiration, if at all). I am doing that for me. To grow as person and human being. To expand my comfort zone and learn what the world can teach me.
However, I also made a “plan” on how to deal with the VISA (damn, I really hate this BS, but it’s just not avoidable) thing for New Zealand. I found a blog on the web where someone was doing a so called “Visa-Run” (if that’s a “real” term). That means, flying out of the country just to get back the very next day in order to extend your stay (3 Months is the maximum in most countries when entering on the VISA Waiver Option). I still “need” my 6 Months for the Te Araroa in NZ. Maybe i can make a deal with the Immigration’s office as soon as i arrive in Auckland (so that i don’t have to leave the Country half-way through my hike). We will see. If i can avoid the VISA Application process by doing so, i’ll take the chance 😉
Regarding my gear i wanted to bring (from the AT, i mean) i have to make some adjustments. My cooking system was great. It never let me down. But it has also some flaws i just want to get rid off. The total weight of it (~ 1 lb/470g) is just to much for carrying it on two trails. I can go lighter and save half of its weight by switching to another stove and pot. I know that it must sound crazy to switch gear for a little less weight to carry. I can tell you, it’s worth it, especially over the long haul (about 8000 km / ~ 5000 miles in total, for me). I will also carry some electronics (didn’t i tried to get away from them???) which will include:
- Smartphone (Blackview BV8000Pro, Outdoor Phone, IP68 certified)
- GoPro Hero 5
- Camera (opting for a Sony DSC HX90V or Sony DSC RX1(R) only if I’m able to land a good deal though)
- Tripod (Lammcou® 3in1)
- Battery Pack (Anker, 26800 mAh) i know this thing is like a brick and weighs about 1 pound, but i think it will give me enough time in the wilderness without having the need to recharge from a power outlet
- cables and connectors (cant avoid them 🙁 )
Doesn’t look like that will be that heavy in my pack, right? Its almost 4 pounds in total I`m willing to carry along. I know for sure that i would hate myself for ever if the pictures i will and want to take were absolutely crap because of my poor choices.
The last items i still need is clothing. I will take care of that as soon as I’m in the States.
As of now my estimated base weight (before Water, Food and fuel) will be around 15 lbs whereas my Pack is able to hold up to 35 lbs. That means that i should be able to carry another 20 lbs worth of food and water (and fuel of course). Compared to the 35 lbs of base weight on the AT, not too shabby. I surely don’t want to go ultra-ultra light (some refer to that as “stupid light” as well, because people seem to be willing to sacrifice an appropriate shelter or cooking system, for example, just to save the weight)
Encountered one or two of such people on the AT and it was no pleasure. But that’s none of my business.
All in all i have a good feeling about my gear choices and looking forward to test them out on the AT 🙂
I will retire from my Job in February for some last tasks that are left for me to do. Go and see the doctor for a medical check-up. To the dentist to get things fixed. And to be able to buy last minute items. I also want to test out some of the gear (mostly photo equipment) to see if everything works as expected. It should! But i want to make sure 🙂
In the meanwhile everyone who is interested in following along, please feel free to subscribe to my blog (to be found on the right 😉 to not miss any further updates.
Since this blog is hosted on my own server, you can be sure that there will be no advertisements on this page or tracking BS and i wont give your mail address away!
I also thought about how and when i will post updates on here. As of now, there is no plan. I will write some kind of a “Logbook” on my phone every night and will upload a new article as soon as i’m done writing it and i find it worth sharing. I will figure that out on trail but expect at least one update per Month! Thats a promise!
And I’ll keep word, as always!
Now i wish everyone a peaceful, relaxed and merry Christmas and a happy new year! 🙂