Halfmile’s PCT maps have been updated for the 2014 season, so I have been downloading those and starting to get them printed out in the various sections I will be mailing to myself. I was considering if I should get them laminated but I think that is overkill and will add a lot of weight. Which reminds me.
Gear choices; I will be doing a full blog post about all the gear I will be taking but there has been some discussion about the drought we have been having on the West Coast for a while now and the fact that the fire danger this year is shaping up to be fairly serious. I now have to reconsider my stove situation. I had chosen a manufactured alcohol stove with a stand and pot/pan thing. It is light, and the stove has a lid so you can easily shut it off. However I am now looking at doing a Jetboil and will be picking up one of the titanium Sol versions, they are expensive but the regular version is about half a pound heavier so an extra $40 for half a pound savings on weight is not bad considering I will be carrying it for five months.
I finally also chose a sleeping bag and decided not to skimp and went with a zpacks 20-degree bag which has excellent reviews and also allows me to shave off some weight for less expensive options I had been looking at. That rounds out my big-three, and is perfect with my ULA Circuit pack and my Tarptent Notch tent.
I made a rather large order from my final amazon wish-list that I have been working on for months over the weekend for many more items which I will cover in my pre-hike full gear checklist. I have been picking up various things item by item over the last nine months or so as well. I would like to say that the amount of preparation for this trip is kind of insane, like take some simple item you will need on the trail, a ‘trowel’. Nobody ever talks about trowels (it is a little shovel to dig catholes so you can go to the bathroom and cover it up). Do you go with a titanium folding one, or try one of the new hard-nylon ones that collapse much smaller, which is better when the weight is the same and can you trust the reviews online for the products? This is all stuff you have to think about for every single item. It also helps to read previous hikers gear lists and what they brought and then (this is the most important) their follow-up gear reviews, I get really interested in what they thought they needed and eventually tossed, or what they bought along the way. For instance, I was dead-set on a quilt and saw that some people were using them on the trail, then I read follow ups on the trail gear and decided that perhaps I should rethink it and go with a bag.
I was hoping to be able to order permits when I wrote the previous blog post but it seems that you cannot get them until February (couple days now).
This is getting real. Like, real real. Butterflies kind of heavy real. This is no longer just me sitting around looking at gear and dreaming and trying to plan logistics of this because that is something I like to do, this is happening. I talked to my building maintenance guy this morning about putting in my notice to vacate.