Storing Away My Gear

Start Date

It’s Friday, April 10—Today could be any usual day and for many of you it is, but for me it isn’t. This date has been floating around in my mind ever since October, momentous as the start of a great adventure. A journey of a lifetime.

As I’m reminiscing about the excitement I still felt a month ago, I get overwhelmed with a peculiar feeling. Now that date, April 10, has arrived that excitement has turned into a sense of loss. Almost as if it would never be. I feel nostalgic about the PCT, while it hasn’t even happened yet.

Postponing My Dream

On March 12 I wrote the following post:

Trump’s Europe Travel Ban Shatters My Heart

Looking back on that devastating morning, everything feels blurry now. I remember crying my heart out, feeling defeated and hopeless. Nonetheless, the following days I pulled myself together. I remained upbeat about potentially still hiking after the travel ban.

However, a week later my house of cards came crashing down again.

“The PCTA asks you to postpone or cancel your PCT plans.”

This made it official for me. I won’t be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020.

COVID-19 might have shattered my heart, but my dream will never be shattered.

So, I want to celebrate my NOGO start date by dedicating this post to all the gear I would have carried on my way to Canada.

HL Is the New UL

For many hikers the abbreviation UL (ultralight) won’t raise an eyebrow, but I wonder how many of you are familiar with the acronym HL. I am sure it isn’t common love language among thru-hikers. HL, also heavylight, probably doesn’t exist in the hikers’ dictionary, but it does in mine. Before I elaborate:

Gear is a sensitive topic and completely personal. I’ve been using most of my gear for a long time and it works for me. Be kind to each other regarding gear, and just be kind in general!

So, heavylight… It’s a word I made up to describe my point of view on gear.

Big Four

For the PCT I decided to carry my lightweight gear in a heavy pack. I’m bringing my old rusty trusty Osprey Aura 65 AG without the brain. The pack works for me, because I can easily carry 33 pounds without feeling the weight on my body.

As my shelter I’m bringing a semi-freestanding tent: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2. I replaced the stakes with the MRS mini groundhog stakes. It’s an amazing roomy tent and a cozier fit if you’re sharing it with your trail babe.

My sleep system consists of my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow—for some to be considered as a luxury item:

  • Carl Denig Barentsburg 20F Down Sleeping Bag
  • Sea to Summit UL Insulated Sleeping Pad
  • Sea to Summit UL Aeros Pillow

As the gear freaks may know, my Big Four is quite heavy. I have been backpacking with these items for some time now and they never fail on me. So it’s worth the extra weight.

If you are interested in more details about my gear, you can check out my complete gear list on my page. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions about my gear! For those who are interested:

My base weight is between 16-18 pounds and that’s perfectly OK.

Next Chapter

What’s next for me?

Since Monday, April 6, I launched my career as a nurse. I am currently working at a COVID-19 unit. As soon as things calm down I’ll start early with my job at the acute care unit. I feel grateful that I can make myself useful in these difficult times.

Over the summer I hope to go on a week hiking trip. I have my eye on a loop hike around the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in Norway. It’s the sixth largest glacier in Norway based in Finse. Finse is a remote place surrounded by mountains from national parks Hardangervidda and Hallingskarvet. The only way getting there is by walking, bike, or train! It will be a breathtaking scenic hike around the glacier.

I won’t be thru-hiking this year. However, I am definitely attempting again in 2021. The trail will always be there and so is my dream. I’m not giving up on my desire to hike the PCT. I will take this year to grow as a nurse and mentally prepare for next year.

Storing Away My Gear

As I am looking at my gear I shed a tear. I feel sad, but also more determined than ever. Right now I might be storing away my gear, but I know that I will bring it out again. I am already looking forward to the day I will be using my gear on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Thank you for following along and I’ll see you next year!

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