3 April 2021
Zero day in San Diego
No PCT miles hiked!
It was weird coming home after leaving just two days ago, but given how booked Mount Laguna was it made the most sense. And boy did I sleep well last night in my own bed!
This morning I dried out my things, did laundry, repacked, and then jumped in the hot tub I built (humblebrag, it was just a kit!).
Then I ate a bunch of fries and onion rings for lunch — because that is something I would never do in real life!
Half Cookie and I watched some nature drama in our backyard as a red-tailed hawk had a standoff with a crow while a hummingbird looked on.
We did some gardening and now we are getting ready to grill some fish and vegetables. Yum!
Speaking of food, my friend Elbow Maven asked me in an email “how do you do food? so I know you won’t want to carry a lot but can you really plan places close enough to get food every day?”
And the answer is that in Southern California there are so many people that the next food is never really more than 2 or 3 days away.
For example, I got food at a store in Lake Morena (1 day) and another store in Mount Laguna (1 day) and I plan to hitch into Julian for food in a day and a half. After that another day and a half brings me within a mile of the Warner Springs post office where I mailed myself some food. Then another two days to Paradise Valley Cafe where many people hitch into Idyllwild which is nice mountain town with all services (I will get a ride with Half Cookie who is coming to visit me).
As the trail goes further north, it gets more remote, but only occasionally do I expect to have to carry more than 5 days of food. Probably my longest carry will be Independence to Mammoth in the Sierra, which can be 10 days depending on the snow conditions.
I am currently carrying about 1.5 pounds of food per day, but at that rate I am losing body weight. I plan to lose about 10 pounds and then pick up my food carry to 2 pounds per day to maintain my body weight. I try to average about 125 calories per ounce (peanut butter is 150, tortillas are 100) so that’s 2 * 16 * 125 = 4000 calories a day, which is typical burn for a 20 mile day.
At least, that’s the plan.
I have a lot of experience with shorter trips, but I don’t think I have yet experienced what thru-hikers call “hiker hunger” which I gather is a constant feeling of insatiability. On the John Muir Trail I was pretty hungry the last week, but that was more because I did not pack enough food.
There is a lot of obsessing about these topics on the internet, and one of my favorite sites is Halfway Anywhere’s PCT Resupply Guide. Rather than telling you what to do, he does a survey of thru-hikers from the past season to ask people what they actually did. It’s some really good descriptive social science, and I appreciate the effort he has put into it.
Tomorrow Half Cookie and I will be up at 5am and I hope to be back on trail by 6:30. I am going to try for 25 miles tomorrow to get to one of the few water sources in the next stretch. Wish me luck!
Why walk many miles
Just to see Nature’s drama?
It’s here in my yard