13 days and counting!
Surprise! I only have 13 days left, before I set off on my hike. For those keeping track, I originally planned to leave on March 15th. A month and a half ago or so, I moved it up to a mid-week start (March 11th) for a few reasons.
First, I wanted to have a bit of a buffer for my time-table of arriving in Kennedy Meadows and the start of the Sierra. I am taking an Advanced Snow Skills Class on May 3rd. While leaving on March 15 gave me ample time to arrive, I figured adding a buffer of 4 days wouldn’t hurt. At worst, I would simply have to take a couple of Zero days, and I would use up the extra time.
Secondly, I wanted to start on my own. I believe there has been one other permit issued for March 11th. However, on March 15th about a half-dozen permits have been issued.
Everything is coming together. I have checked off most of the items on my to-do list. I finished up my resupply boxes. There will be odds and ends added by my crew before shipping the boxes out, but I am confident in their contents for now. There are 29 resupply points total.
One rather funny thing happened while I was packing my resupply. I have planned for a certain number of days on the trail. I wanted my resupply boxes to cover 90% of my needs, with planning to hit stores for supplemental items, perishable foods, and to fulfill cravings. The other day, I was finishing up my resupply boxes. With the boxes all ready to go, I had used up all the food that I had purchased in advance. I felt accomplished. Until I realized I had packed ALL of the food I had bought. I hadn’t left any for the 3 days hiking I have from Campo until I arrive at my first resupply in Mt Laguna! Minor oversight of course, and a quick trip to the store remedied the problem, but it was definitely a humorous realization.
After buying food for my first three days, adding all my gear, and my anticipated water needs for the first day, my pack weighs in at a reasonable 42 pounds. This is a few pounds heavier than I was hoping for, but there are a certain items I didn’t compromise on to shed weight. For example, I have a full tent. While it is an utralight tent, it’s still a tent. Many hikers prefer to go with a tarp tent to save weight. This is one example of weight savings you can realize by paring down your gear.
Many of my choices were a result of planning for the extremes. My gear will cover me for more weather swings than those that go Ultra lightweight. Many UL hikers have very little gear for dealing with extreme weather. So, being warmer, dryer, and more able to withstand harsh weather adds pounds to your pack weight.
I am sure after a few days on the trail, I will end up sending home whatever gear I think I have over prepared with.
Even at 42 pounds, my pack is less than 20% of my body weight, which is a good starting point for just starting out on the trail.
Speaking of weight. Weight loss is a concern on the trail. From the statistics I could find, weight loss varies widely, however, a man of my size can expect to lose anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds on the trail. You generally run a calorie deficit everyday. Expending more calories than you take in. Over a week or so this isn’t a big deal. Combine this with, 5 months on the trail, and 2660 miles of hiking and you’re talking about real weight loss. Many people compensate by gorging themselves in towns. With that, I have also added some weight to compensate. Lets just say, I played a bear this winter and added my winter fat.
When I leave Campo, I expect to weigh 220 pounds. Now, if I happen to lose 40 pounds on the trail, VIOLA! Im back to my high school graduation weight! That wouldn’t be so bad! Gurl, I went on a trail diet and lost 40 pounds! Thanks megashake!
Along with my (un)intentional weight gain this winter, I am not as trained up as I had hoped to be. The first couple weeks on the trail are going to be challenging. Fortunately, over the past several years, I have trained for dozens of endurance events. My body should adapt rather easily, as it is no stranger to the rigors of hard work. In my mind I keep falling back to the adage, “If we wait until everything is perfect to start, we would never start!” I guess I will just have to mosey my imperfect self to the border and start walking north.
It is finally sinking in that I’m leaving. In looking at the calendar for the next 2 weeks, nearly every day is full with preparation or social engagements. I am going to need to head out on this hike just to get some rest!
Time has certainly flown by.
I’m getting excited.
Here’s one of my favorite videos from the trail.