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Monday, April 9, 2018

PCT: Pre-hike jitters

Being able to sleep again is the only reason I am hiking the PCT this year.  That and maybe getting the opportunity to start a inter-species fight club with mountain lions, marmots, mountain goats, and aggressive cows.  

If it's your first night at Fight Club... you HAVE to fight.


Tyler Durden seen here training for his fight with a mountain goat.

In case my sarcasm is lost in translation to the keyboard from my east coast trained brain, I will elaborate with a touch of gravitas.  Alright, I lied, there's nothing serious in this post at all, other than maybe the following statement.

The planning involved for a PCT thru hike is significant.  

The regular PCT planning FAQs (if there was such a thing) would probably resemble the same questions someone might ask if coming over for a party.
  • What should I wear?
  • What food & drinks should I bring?
  • How many/what kind of people are going to be there?
  • What's the weather going to be like?
  • Is there a place for me to sleep if I get too drunk?
  • Is it 420 friendly?
  • Etc...

The simple stuff regarding gear decisions, I have mostly figured out from previous backpacking trips, and thru-hiking the Colorado Trail in 2016.  I also know from my Colorado Trail hike that these jitters are all bull shit.  To steal a quote from Ecclesiastes "All of this is meaningless, a chasing after the wind".   

Yet. I. Can. Not. Stop. Thinking.

My mind is like a kitten on Adderall laced catnip playing with ball of yarn.  Just going and going and no end in sight.  It is constantly firing little questions and comments, and they often snowball or build upon one another.  

For those of you who don't live with anxiety, this is how those of us who do think sometimes.  And yes my thoughts have the same sarcasm and often resemble a conversation.  Yeah, I talk to myself; don't judge me.  : )  

The thought train wreck looks like this...

Hmmm, I wonder if I should resupply between Tehachapi and Kennedy Meadows.  

Nah, it's such a long ass hitch to Lake Isabella.  That'd waste an entire day, just to go get food for another 50 miles of hiking to Kennedy Meadows.  

Yeah, what was I thinking, after all, it's "only" 136 miles with measurable elevation gain, through the driest, maybe windiest, and possibly hottest section of the PCT where I'll be carrying 6-7 liters of water at a time and hiking through loose sand while dodging Poodle Dog Bush and rattlesnacks; why wouldn't I want to carry 7 or 8 days of food through this section to add to all that suffering?

Wait.. what the hell is a 'rattlesnack'?  While it sounds like a tasty treat hiker-hunger could dispose of quickly, I think you meant 'rattlesnakes'.  Anyway, you've hiked in the desert before, just night-hike 20s for seven days straight and wait out the heat in the shade.

Yeah, shade... whatever.  
Argghhh... guess I should resupply in Lake Isabella.  

No, fuck that, you can do this.  

Um... no I can't.  

What's the worst that could happen?  Death by dehydration or heat stroke is a noble death right?  

Why should I even care if my death is "noble".  I'm not a fucking king.  

You're right, a king would have someone else carrying his 7 liters of water and 8 days of food thru the Mojave desert.

Maybe you could carry less water and rely on the water caches that are "usually" around in this section.  

Relying on water caches seems like a dumb plan and a great way to accomplish your 'noble death'.

Argghh... maybe I should have hiked the AT instead.... at least they have fucking water.

No, the AT also has more bugs.  Fuck bugs.  

Yeah, that's true the desert only has FUCKING SPIDERS!

On that note, I'm going to get a beer or two, or nine; one for each day until I begin this adventure.