Saturday, March 13, 2010

What worked

Before hiking the PCT, I read Ray's 1992 PCT Hikers Handbook, too. At first read, I thought his ideas were pretty crazy, but as far north as Washington, when I would try something he suggested or fail at something because I didn't try what he suggested, I would think to myself, hey, he was right. (I know he wasn't the first for some of his ideas but his book lays them all out.)

I read a lot of Colin Fletcher's Thousand Mile Summer, too. He gave me an appreciation of the desert and a desire to do a solo adventure, although I struggled to keep reading after he killed the snake.

Going light really worked for me and that is why I am so adamant about it. At my hiking weight, I weigh 125lbs. A 60lb pack would be ridiculous for someone my size or smaller. My pack was easily 10 or more pounds lighter than the previous year. I easily walked an average of 10 miles a day further with a lighter, happier step. I was astounded and joyous at my ability to walk so far. Within a week I was regularly hiking close to 30 miles a day. I kept up that pace easily, hiking 25-35 miles a day all the way to the end. And this time 30 miles felt easier than 25 did last year.

Other things that worked for me:
  • Writing the water report as notes in my Data Book so that I would never lose the water report or fail to look at it
  • Trusting the trail to have water when I needed and trusting myself that I could get to the next water. Worry wastes a lot of water.
  • Emergence-C joint health formula and Crystal Light Hydration
  • A positive attitude, focusing my attention on how trail magic was providing everything I needed
  • Not going home even when it seemed like forward progress was impossible
  • Accepting that some parts of the trail would not be completed this year and that the important thing was the adventure, not the purity
  • Flexible shoes that allowed as much of the full range of motion of my feet as possible--no motion control
  • Asking others for help (all I asked for is if I could tag along through a dangerous section, no assistance needed, I just didn't want to be alone.)

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