Martha's PCT Trail Journal: (March 15, 2009) Getting Ready to Go
Here I am getting ready to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. While hiking the AT, a lot of people talked about the PCT. I really had no intention but was curious about the trail especially since I had lived several years in San Diego. When I moved back to San Diego to be close to my daughter, Dust Bunny, I started working at a local outfitter, Adventure 16. I had bought several things from them over the years and had gone in right before hiking the AT. I knew that they carried a lot of the gear that I love, Icebreaker, Western Mountaineering, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, etc. It seemed like a good way to spend my time when I was not watching my grandson.
Well, Adventure 16 goes out to the PCT kick off every year and since I was a thru hiker, I was offered the opportunity to join them. Well, I was standing in line to check in and the guy in front of me was Captain America. It took a little bit to recognize one another as we looked so different but I just have to say, WOW!!! The whole 2005 AT experience just came rushing back and it was all I could do to keep myself from bolting to my car to drive home to get my gear.
Well, I decided then that since my grandson turned 3 in April 2009 and would be better off in pre-school, that was the year for me. Each year it was hard to go to the kick off and not head out with the other hikers. The most difficult was 2008 as there were soooo many 2005 AT hikers hiking that year. Some of my absolute favorite people were hiking, it was so hard!!!!
I think it was good to wait though. The west coast is so different from the east coast. The conditions are so much more diverse and potentially dangerous. I learned a lot from the people at Adventure 16, hopefully enough to keep me safe. I really do love them there!!
Last night my daughter and her family and I spent the night at the park in Lake Morena. It is the first time she had been to the park and she was considering whether to come the week of the kick off. She has a three year old son and did not know if he would enjoy himself there or not. He is not much of a hiker to say the least but he had a great time just the same. They are coming to the kick off.
I recently bought a huge family tent, the Big Agnes Big House 6, so there was plenty of room. What a wonderful tent! It is the first time I have owned a tent that you can stand up in. It really is a nice tent. I have three extra large base camp sleep pads but one more would fill the tent from side to side and make it wall to wall sleep pad except for at the feet, sweet! You can open it up all around to let the breeze in when it is hot or close it down when it is cold. It even has a sky light. I really like it!
To get used to trail life, I spent the night in the vestibule in my Integral Designs Overbag Bivy and Western Mountaineering Apache sleeping bag, Down Mat Seven (I use the short to save weight) and a piece of Z-Lite. We sat up roasting marshmallows after the boy went to sleep and got a bit chilled so it was hard for me to warm up once I got into the "sack".
I was trying out a new pair of hiking pants that I bought for the desert, Patagonia's Serenity Tights. I have to say these things are wonderful! These are cotton but they make a synthetic version as well, the Morning Glory Tights. I also have a similar pair in wool, Smartwool's Spectrum Pant. Those of you who know me know that I DEARLY love my wool. My idea of a hiking pant has always been Icebreaker leggings with a pair of running shorts over them in the day and at night they are my jammy. Well, either of these three pants get rid of the need for the running short so I don't look so odd to non-hikers. I don't really care so much when I am in hiking mode but I will gladly wear either of these pants around town when I am not hiking. It is kind of nice to look more normal even while in hiking mode. Icebreaker makes a fabulous pant that I dearly love too but they only come in black and I wanted brown this time around. I went with the cotton for the desert - it is so stinking hot out there!! I wanted something that would not bake me yet protect from sunburn. Unfortunately I will have to carry a second pair of pants for warmth but I think I have no choice as cotton is cooler for the day. I also have a beautiful pair of 150 weight Icebreaker leggings in Nutmeg, matching Nutmeg cami and long sleeve top. The Nutmeg goes perfect with dark brown leggings and hopefully will not show the dirt too bad. They give me the option of layering up or down.
Ahhhh, sorry, back to the point. I am a wimp when it comes to cold and for some reason I have trouble staying warm when I go to sleep. I absolutely have to sleep in my wool, nothing else will do! I have also decided that for a mere 7 ounces, I will go with my Western Mountaineering Antelope. Wool and a 5 degree bag!! The wool was going before so that is not a change. I am happy with my sleeping bag choice, what a wimp I am!
Today I have one last hair appointment before I leave. The guys I know thought I should not bother but the women understood. Tomorrow I have another GPS lesson from Half Mile.
After my hair appointment today, I will stop in at Adventure 16 and tweek my boots with their tools.