Storm Before the Calm

It’s been a long time folks. But life has been fairly hectic in these last few months leading up to my hike. Now that I’ve got 25 days until I head out to California, I have pretty much accepted that I’m not getting everything done before I leave.

So now you’re wondering, how much work could it possibly be to just leave your life behind and live in the woods for a few months? Surprisingly if you care about the state of your life when you return from the trail, it’s quite a bit of work.

The point of this post is to first, whine and complain about how much I hate prepping for a thru hike. Secondly, to briefly go over what I’ve done in order to prepare.

Gear Prep

Okay, so this might be my one and only enjoyable part of the thru hike prepping process. I’ve been gathering PCT gear since basically as soon as I got off the AT in 2015. I got a tent, then another tent, then a new pack, then a new sleeping bag. Basically I replaced absolutely everything and more. But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed really trying to cut down my base weight as much as possible. (gear list coming soon) Now that I’m coming down to the wire I still have a few odds and ends to gather, but I’m feeling pretty solid in my gear choices and my trail readiness as far as gear is concerned.

Physical Prep

This process has been moderately enjoyable for me. Considering the fact that I live in Illinois, getting actual trail miles and shakedown hikes is fairly miserable and boring. But the cross training and backpacking specific weight training has been fun to program and to actually do. I’ve spent the last several months with 90% of my exercise being trail specific, while the other 10% has been purely to keep me sane (rock climbing, dumbbell curls in a mirror, abductor/adductor machines) The good news is, I’m feeling physically ready to crush miles and I can’t wait to hit the trail close to top speed.

Logistical Prep

DOES ANYBODY ENJOY THIS CRAP? I’d rather encounter five giant venomous death worms in a day than sit in Normal, Illinois planning and organizing my gear shipments. I’m uninterested in this and I avoid as much logistical planning as possible. If you’re the kind of person that ships 35 boxes to yourself along the trail, then I don’t think we can be friends.

Real Life Prep

This is, at least for me, an underestimated aspect of thru hike prep. Real life is crazy, thru hiking is easy. All within a month of starting my hike, I’ve welcomed an adorable little nugget of a niece into the world, I’ll be working my last few weeks at my current job, I’ll celebrate my brother’s wedding, I’ll hopefully organize my crap at home enough so my parents don’t throw it all on the curb, I’ll spend as much time as possible with my lovely girlfriend, and then I’ll finally have to say all my goodbyes to friends and family. I’ll be doing all this while still finishing gear, physical, and logistical preparations for my hike. It’s really a to-do list that feels unbeatable, but as long as I can hike, I’m sure everything else will figure itself out.

The point of all this is, I think I need a couple months of vacation…I hear southern California is nice this time of year.


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