Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Hiking We Will Go

New found time for a needed break
Here it is Mid-June already.  I’ve managed to save up some vacation and can afford additional time off.  Initially I had hoped to do a long trail this year, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  However, taking that long off (4.5 months) seemed risky work-wise.  Let’s face it, leaving a good job is not easy.  So, after an honest conversation with my bosses on my plans, they agreed I could take the time off, with the potential for being back with the company in October in a different location.  That is all good news for me.  I will be taking a good amount of time off to hike then.

So then why not the PCT this year?  Well the total time off was not just a problem for work, but for the costs associated with that time off.  I still have bills to pay.  The least amount of time off the better on the costs.

Then there’s the third reason… it’s the snow!  It would seem that California received more snow along those mountains than…. EVER!  Record snow falls.  Well that just means that I’d be taking more than 4.5 months to finish the PCT and it would probably cost more money.  It would also cost more in gear and possibly training in snow hiking skills.  That is not how I plan to hike the PCT.  I’ll do one day, just not this year.

So, the question remains, where we going?
I have scoured over maps, websites, blogs, guidebooks, and more websites to discover several trails that I would love to do.  Some have different requirements that others as far as time of year to start or the logistics in resupply options.  Others had few towns in between the greenways or dirt paths. 

My plan required that I layout my criteria for trails to hike in order to make a decision on where.  The first and most important criterion was that I can finish the trail this season in less than 4 months (16 weeks).  The second criterion was that I hike trails that have hostels or cheap hotel options in towns.  This all about hiking on a budget.

After going over several options, the vast part of my plan includes hiking a couple hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail up to Vermont where the Long Trail starts (first 100 miles coincides with the AT), then continue along the LT until the end at the border of Canada.  After that, I’ll be getting ready to fly to Colorado to hike the Colorado Trail.  One of my hiking friends from the AT in 2012 (Rainbow) is planning on meeting me there so we can start at the same time.  We’re both excited.

Since I’m not sure about the in-between time from the LT to the CT, I may have an extra week or so to do another small trail or two.  On the hit list are the Cranberry 50 and the Northville-Placid Trail.  Keeping my fingers crossed I get done in time with the Long Trail.

Prepping gear, going ultralight?
My backpack has been packed and repacked, and repacked again and again and again.  I’ve made so many changes to the way I’m packing it hurts.  I’m using a new backpack that is an ultralight pack, however the weight in the pack is not quite ultralight.  I think my base weight is right around 18 pounds.  I’m not carrying anything that I would call extra… maybe except for a down pillow I made… and a razor and some blades (I did cut the razor handle down to save weight)… and my hiker’s umbrella… and a small sit pad… yes, it all adds up.  I’ll eventually figure out what I’m using over the first couple weeks and will ship it back home to save a pound or two.

Again, it’s mid-June.  I should have started a few days ago but since I got sick last week with Strep Throat, I decided it would be a better decision to wait until I knew I felt 100%.

That takes me down to tomorrow… my new start date.  I will be northbound going over some of the terrain I either slept through on the AT in 2012 or I just can’t seem to remember much about.  There are some highlights I remember from this section of the AT that I can’t wait to see again, like Bear Mountain, the Ten Mile River, Upper Goose Pond and most of MA, Stratton Pond, Bromley Mountain, and Killington Peak.  I may even end up in a familiar town somewhere in VT (READ A PAST BLOG).

No matter what comes at me this time, it’s time for that adventure to begin.

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