Hang on While I Overthink This
I often see a bit of thru-hiker advice that goes: “Plan less.”
I have enthusiastically rejected this method! My backpacking strategy relies on me planning out the wazoo—plan for the worst hope for the best—and then being flexible on the trail. This strategy gets trickier once you are planning past two weeks. I don’t know what my body will think of more than two weeks hiking. Maybe I’ll get my trail legs and blast through my planned miles faster than expected, or maybe I’ll get my trail blisters and hobble into an early camp in wincing triumph! The key to my method is enjoying the peace of mind planning gives me while also accepting that the plan can change for a huge number of reasons.
My spouse calls my way of thinking pessimistic, but I prefer to think of it as practical. I generally feel great about whatever progress I make in a day regardless of how fast or slow I manage to hike and I feel secure in the wilderness understanding some of what is ahead of me on the trail.
Planning for the Expected
So here I am in my warm home in the Sierra Nevada an hour outside Yosemite National Park (we just had a little snow if you are wondering) nine weeks away from my PCT start date and this is where my plans stand:
Restock plan… CHECK!
Daily mileage plan… CHECK!
Planning for the Unexpected
Here is where all my plans mean nothing: I have injured my foot. It is an overuse injury and it has had me in an orthopedic walking boot for the last four weeks with a minimum of two weeks to go. I will have to reintroduce hiking slowly and my lost training time will total (hopefully) about two months. It leaves me with about five weeks to get training before my kick-off date.
Half of me is grateful for the chance to fix this issue before I get on the PCT, because six weeks in a medical boot mid-PCT is a hike killer and something I would like to avoid at all costs. So, back to the drawing board. I have given notice at my job a month earlier than planned so I can spend time really focusing on my PCT training. Starting out a little more slowly and building up a little more slowly will have to be the method I use on the PCT, and I really hope my daily mile estimations will still get me through the sections I have been hoping to cover this year.
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” Confucius (551-479 BC)
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