Counting my chickens, thru-hiker style – PCT2018!

After last year’s aborted attempt due to a broken foot, I’m trying again!   Once more my wife is being super supportive, and we’re getting things lined up for a 5-6 month absence.  There’s a ton of house chores to do, and a big project – chicken run, to complete.   Work is going to have to wait.   While this is putting a big dent in my career path, completing the PCT is something I need to do.

Read all about last year’s trip here: https://smokebeard.wordpress.com/category/pct2017/

So far, this is a low-snow year.  I say “so far” because the season has barely started.   But according to California, the snowpack levels are well below average, and they’ve already taken the step of banning all fires in the Angeles National Forest.  I’m tracking the snowpack water content here, and I will admit to checking it more than once a day.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/products/PLOT_SWC.pdf

With my tentative start date of April 14, 2018, I’m working on a new planning spreadsheet.   In addition to miles and days, and resupplies, I’ve added in daylight hours, moon phases, and am tracking my seven day total, seven day rolling average, and overall average.  Using arithmancy, I’m also using the date, my overall average, and the miles remaining to predict a finish date.  Talk about optimistic!   Each day, I also estimate how many days against the finish date I’ve gained or lost, based on that day’s performance.   Current planned end-date?  Sept 28, 2018.  I might shave a couple of days off that.
803

Right now it only goes out to Mile 803, because a) I’ve already done about half the distance, b) am familiar with the terrain and its challenges, c) I wanted to predict when I’d be at Mt. Whitney, and d) once you hit the Sierra, all bets are off.

Early predictions are, I need to walk:

  • 700 miles in 6 weeks, plus
  • 400 miles in 4 weeks, plus
  • 600 miles in 4 weeks, plus
  • 450 miles in 3 weeks, plus
  • 500 miles in 5 weeks = done

How hard can it be?   In seriousness, I’ve heard that 30-mile days are doable in northern California and into Oregon, so I’m remaining open to the possibility of success here.

I’m also rolling out some new gear; I’ve picked up a down quilt to replace my sleeping bag, built a fast-pack version of my tent where I’m only taking the fly and poles.  For Christmast I got a polycro groundsheet, some lightweight smellproof plastic for the inside of my pack, and a neat bamboo spoon.   I’m thinking of getting a new backpack as well – one similar to mine, but almost a pound and a half lighter.   Also a few new clothes – I’m ditching the rain paints and buying real (read: non rippy and teary) windpants.

I’m finding that April is a tough time to get to San Diego for some reason, or all the airlines raised their fares.   Still finalizing the logistics.

Full gear list is coming up once I finalize it, but I plan on being about 4-5 lbs lighter than last time.

I’m still not 100% sure that I’ll be able to go, I need to see the podiatrist to get her final, if reluctant blessing.  Not that my foot won’t be ready, she simply thinks I’m insane for doing this in the first place.

About smokebeard 135 Articles
Smokebeard has hiked the 2652 mile Pacific Crest Trail, the 2160+ mile Appalachian Trail, the 73+ mile Great Glen Cycle Route, all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks, the 78+ mile Rhode Island North/South Trail, and the Saranac Six. He is also a certified Leave No Trace Trainer. A former MATC Caretaker in the Piazza Rock/Saddleback area, he’s passionate about applying Leave No Trace as an ethical system. His latest adventure was a 3 week thruhike of the 273 mile Long Trail in Vermont.

6 Comments

  1. So proud of my crazy, nerdy graph and spread-sheet-making husband! Hopefully all bones and muscles will be stronger and more cooperative this year!

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