Week Zero: Counting Down the Days

I have spent the last few weeks at home preparing myself for the adventure ahead. I have been slowly working through my to-do list, trying my best to leave my “real life” on pause before taking off, and preparing as best I can for my new life on trail.

My last few weeks have been BUSY with planning and prepping, stressing and decompressing, and everything in-between. I’ve learned that the planning process for a thru-hike is lengthy. You take care of everything you need to take care of at home- paying bills, making last-minute appointments, spending time with friends and family. You continue to plan for the trail- packing resupply, making gear decisions, physically and mentally preparing.

A view of Balanced Rock during a last-minute prep hike on a section of the Backbone Trail.

It is, however, a fine line to walk between planning too much and not enough. It’s knowing you can plan and plan and plan, but as soon as you step on trail, most of your plans go right out the window on day one. So, you do your best.

Resupply Boxes

One of the most common question I’ve been asked is: How do you get food when you’re on trail? Contrary to popular belief, I won’t be setting up traps for squirrels and rabbits or foraging for roots and berries, though berries in Oregon can be quite irresistible. My plan is to buy my food in the towns along trail as well as have someone at home send me resupply packages that I’ll pick up as I go.

The chaos of packing resupply boxes.

Let me tell you, packing these resupply boxes was quite the task. I chose to package 10 boxes, ranging between 3-day to 10-day food carries shipped to places where resupply is either non-existent or pricey with limited options. My boxes include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks along with toiletries, contacts, medication, and a few pieces of gear here and there. While I almost regretted my decision to pack resupply boxes immediately, I think I’ll be happy to have them when the time comes.

And if anyone knows how to refrain from eating all your resupply snacks before starting the trail, please let me know.

Tying up odds and ends

The time has since passed for any major preparation for the PCT, so what’s left are the small tasks that will get me ready life on trail. While I still have a few things left to do, like buy food for my first few days on trail, send a resupply box ahead, and deep clean my car before leaving, I’ve taken care of a lot of smaller tasks this past week.

These tasks have included:

  • Eating a pint of Talenti gelato to add the top-tier leak-proof cold-soak jar with a twist-off lid to my gear list.
  • Beach days to get a tan going on my legs so they don’t get obliterated by the desert sun on day 1. Beach days have also been a great time to throw on a podcast or read a book to prep my mental game. A few that have been on rotation include: Backpacker Radio (obviously), No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Viesturs, and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
  • Projects! These projects have included waterproofing some clothing and gear and spraying clothing with permethrin to keep the bugs away. I also completed some smaller projects like DIY-ing a pot coozie and a failed attempt at a milk jug crampon case.

First Day Jitters

Trying to figure out how I can bring Calvin along for the trek!

I’m less than three days away and I plan to spend my time relaxing and creating, spending time with friends and family and preparing them for how much they’ll miss me when I’m hiking, finishing up a few final tasks, and setting my intentions for the trail. I woke up this morning feeling like a little kid on Christmas, feeling like I’m about to start my first day of school or my dream job. April 30th is getting close and I’m getting excited!

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