Two Weeks Until I Head Out! – JMT 2023
It’s been a while since my last post, but I’m still here. Since I finished my first section of the snow covered JMT on June 25th, I’ve been focusing on work and family. So much has happened. I fully furnished and decorated two model homes. Sadly, my fiance’s mother passed away. My kids and I spent a week in Las Vegas with my parents, and I actually had fun (normally I loath Vegas). I turned twenty-two… times two. David, the kids, and I spent a weekend up near Pinecrest Lake in a tiny cabin and took turns cruising down the river in my tiny blowup paddle boat. My dad had a seizure but is doing fine. Oh, and I concreted my pond with no protection and injured both my feet and hands (I never claimed to be the sharpest crayon in the box). Before I knew it, I looked at the calendar and gasped. There are only two weeks until I head out on the trail!
Panic set in as soon as I noticed just how little time I have. I have so much to do at work and so much prep work to do for the trail. How did this happen? Where did the time go and is there enough time to get back on track? Well, it is what it is, so I’m just going to do my best.
Tying Up Loose Ends At Work
It’s not easy going on vacation. I work for a homebuilder designing each home before it goes out to construction, and as a team of one, I don’t have anyone to keep production going when I leave. Last winter the kids and I headed out to Costa Rica for two weeks and sales had to hault until I returned. Luckily it was a slow year, so it did not impact the company very much, but now that the market has picked up, we cannot hault again. I trained a replacement to hold down the fort while I am gone and I’m so thankful to have her help!
Designing homes for our future homeowners is only half the battle though. As I said before, we are also building new model homes. Last month I furnished two of the model homes, but as soon as I get back from the trail I will need to furnish the last model. That means finalizing furniture selections, window coverings, wall murals, artwork, and accessories. I need to get everything ordered, tagged, and scheduled. On top on that, my office will be moving, so I also need to pack up my design studio before I leave so that our construction team can begin the demolition of my space. Panic! No! Panic! Nooo! Don’t panic. Breathe… slowly. I’ve got this.
What originally prompted me to look at my calendar was a post on the JMT Facebook page. The poster was worried they did not have enough time to ship out their resupply to Muir Trail Ranch because they require it to be there three weeks early. No problem I thought. Hmmm… How much time does that give me? Ummmmm… None! It needs to go out now!
First Stop: Amazon
I missed the boat to order from Amazon for the Muir Trail Ranch resupply, but I can still order for the rest of the trail. I’ll have to work with what I have and what I can get locally for this first bucket. Luckily the only things I couldn’t get were olive oil packets and peanut butter packets. I’ll just have to bring the olive oil in my pack for the whole trip and substitute with almond butter instead of peanut butter. No big deal. I did order a few things I’m excited about though!
First, I ordered some olive oil and peanut butter travel packets. That is not the exciting part though. Oh yes! There is more! Next, I ordered a cork massage ball. My hips and back always start hurting, so it will be nice to roll those spots out. Second, I ordered a new battery pack. On my last trip, I needed two batteries, so I purchased a second of the Nitecore NB10000 so I could save weight instead of bringing my Anker battery. Along with that, I ordered two new charging cables because I realized that my new block needs a C connection and not an A connection. Exciting right! Okay, not exciting, but there is more! I also also ordered an ESEE Izula knife. Now I normally only carry my Swiss army knife, but all my friends and family are freaking out that I don’t carry a weapon. I don’t want to carry a gun because it’s heavy and personally I think it’s overkill, but I found a nice, light knife, in a pretty shade of green (because that’s important). It’ll be helpful when I start fishing on my trips in the future too.
Second Stop: REI
REI is my playground. I could spend hours in there… and I do. What luck that they are having 25% off on their Mountain House meals right now. Normally I eat Peak ReFuel meals, but that deal is too good to pass up. While there I grabbed some fuel, and chapstick, and I found a nice pair of base-layer pants in the garage sale area. Score! I can never go to REI without an impulse buy. I really need to stop that. My closet cannot take any more gear. With that, I just read a great article about this very obsession on Backpacking Light. I need to tell myself to spend money on learning new skills and taking trips that buying just to buy more gear.
Third Stop: Grocery Shopping
For the bulk of my shopping, I just hit up my local grocery store. It was bad timing indeed because I was starving. What should have fit in a small basket filled an entire cart. Haha! Ok, I did get a few huge bags of dog and cat food while I was there in addition to a few basics for home, but quite a bit of the items in my basket were for for the trail. I grabbed protein bars, snack mix, candy, almond butter, tortillas, and oatmeal. Not only that, but I also grabbed a meal fit for a queen that I can scarf down as soon as I get my package. That includes an ICE drink, chips, peaches, green beans, Vienna sausages, Twinkies… hmmm… I know there is more, but I can’t remember. I’ll be rolling into my hammock that night for sure!
Resupply Prep Work
Prepping for a resupply takes time. I tossed all my goodies on my kitchen island and set to work. This section of the trail will be for 6 nights, so that’s what I’m packing for. 6 Snickers bars, check! As long as I have the important stuff. Haha! I also pack 6 energy bars, 6 packets of peanut butter, 14 tortillas, and 6 hydration packets. Next, I divide up my snacks (trail mix, dried fruit, and candy) into small ziplock bags. I grab two bags of chips and 1 packet of cinnamon rolls. Dinners and breakfasts are more time-consuming. I open each prepackage freeze-dried meal and divide them out into ziplock bags. I don’t usually eat a whole dinner, plus ziplock bags take up less space and weigh less too. If the dinner contains pasta, I will add more pasta to increase the meal. If it’s a breakfast cereal, I will add in extra cereal. On the ziplock bags, I will write out what the meal is and how much water it needs to cook.
In addition to food, I grab a bottle of travel sunscreen and travel soap from my gear closet. In my medicine cabinet, I grab about 14 Advil, my vitamins, and my medication. From the bathroom, I grab a wad of toilet paper plus about 7 wet wipes. The wet wipes I hang up to dry so they weigh less. I re-wet them when on the trail as needed. The last thing I grab is a new pair of socks. Socks get so gross out on the trail no matter how many times you try and hand wash them.
Time To Pack My Bucket
Being that my fiance works in construction, it was easy to find a bucket in our garage. Now finding a lid took some time, but I got lucky. I lined my bucket with a garbage bag just in case it got a crack in it. Next, I proceeded to place my items strategically. Tortillas go on the bottom with canned food around it. Next go my snacks, then meals, then very light food like chips. Basically, my items get lighter and lighter towards the top so they don’t get crunched. I don’t know why this matters to me. I’m sure when traveling my bucket will be tossed every which way. Those chips are going to be toast. Oh well. According to Muir Trail Ranch instructions, I wrote my name and date of pick-up on the side and put my label on the top. I taped the container closed and I’m ready to go!
What’s Left To Prep?
Well, I don’t have time to give a detailed rundown, but here is my to-do list for the next two weeks. I’ll keep adding to it as needed.
- Ship 1st Resupply to Muir Trail Ranch (I’m doing that today)
- Pack and Ship 2nd Resupply to Mt Williamson Motel in Independence (I’ll do that right before I leave on the trail)
- Do I need to buy anything else? I’m debating on a new rain jacket and still trying to decide if I will wear shorts, my skirt, leggings, or both. I don’t know.
- Refine all of my maps with my trail route and stops (I’m working on this right now)
- Research a workaround for the dismantled San Juaquin Bridge (Done! I’ll be doing the Up and Over if needed)
- Confirm logistics of getting there and back (Right now my fiance will be taking me)
- Download all of my maps
- Download a few podcasts
- Download a book
- Download a few Spanish lessons
- Set up blogging for the Trek on my phone
- Research the weather right before I head out on the trail
- Charge all devices
- Pack backpack
- Set up my Garmin device and pay for a subscription
- Kiss everyone goodbye!
I’ll See You Out On The Trail!
September 11th will be here before I know it. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. The day is almost here and I can taste it. It tastes like protein bars and freeze dried meals. Haha! Ok, it tastes better than that, but there is an undertone of that mixed in there. I can’t wait to smell all the smells (Not of me, but of nature. I’ll stink of course), feel all the feels, hear all the sounds, and meet all the people. From what I hear it’s pretty empty out there, but I’m sure I’ll meet a few great people. I always do. Here’s to another great adventure! Wish me luck!
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