PCT vs. AT Hiker Prep Smackdown
There is strangely little to do this time around.
Having hiked the PCT in 2015, I originally thought there would be the same amount of prep work to be done for the AT. Sounds like a reasonable assumption, right? Well, as it turns out, I can practically hear the crickets when I sit down and think about what I need to do. Here is a PCT vs. AT prep list for your consideration.
–Make a spreadsheet of expected per-day mileage to calculate the amount of resupply boxes. Don’t judge; spreadsheets are pretty awesome, especially if you have a type A organizational personality. I also had to use the Halfmile app and judge mileage based on elevation gain each day and reasonable hiking mileage. This actually took days to complete.
–Buy food. Lots and lots of food, enough for 17 resupply boxes.
–Buy more food because you keep eating the food slated to go in resupply boxes… you know, to make sure it’s suitable.
–Load boxes, which was surprisingly fun.
–Address and stack boxes in Mother’s spare bedroom because you just sold your house.
–Prepare separate spreadsheet with dates for resupply boxes to be sent by logistics personnel… aka Mother.
–Transfer money for resupply boxes and possible incidentals to logistics personnel.
–Yes, you have two of everything, but buy lighter stuff anyway… because researching and buying gear is a drugless high and you are a true addict who is 50 years old and working a real job. Hello Western Mountaineering sleeping bag that compresses to the size of a butternut squash. Hello Neo Air that you will grow to hate because its crackling will keep you and everyone within a one-mile radius up at night.
–PCT hiking permit. Yes, they check for it, especially within the first 15 miles from Mexican border.
–Post picture on Facebook so you will look like an idiot if you back out of hike; self-manipulation is a thing.
–Halfmile app on phone. It’s free and really the only thing you need for the trip.
–Halfmile maps printed out and placed in resupply boxes.
–Flight to San Diego. Baggage tag with note saying “if this pack is lost I am fucked.”
–Ride to PCT Southern Terminus. Oh, you lucked out here, didn’t you. Had a friend to hang out with for two days and a ride straight to the Mexican border by a Mexican national. I told Enrique at the time that Lexus or no Lexus, I hope he had his papers on him because there was some serious surveillance going on.
–Make a spreadsheet of expected per-day mileage to calculate amount of resupply boxes.
Just kidding, I’m buying food on the trail this time, so I just needed to know how many days between towns. My average food carry on the PCT was six days of food. Looks like I’ll have one day with five days worth of food until I get to Maine. Giddy just thinking of it! Besides, Guthook’s guide does not allow you to simulate a position on the trail, so calculating elevation gain is near to impossible. I just made assumptions based on the visual elevation profile. Seriously Guthook, Halfmile’s app is free and they do a better job?
Hello Hyperlite Mountain Gear and 3.63 pounds total for both! That’s New England ingenuity at its best.
–Get new tattoo, which is completely relevant to this blog because it’s a compass.
–Put mail on hold. Yeah, I bought a new house so my Mother can’t collect and review my mail.
–Shuttle to Springer.
All in all, I have more time to hang out just waiting to start my hike on March 28.
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