Jun 25

Next Monday (28JUN2021) I board an Amtrak train to Bakersfield, CA. This is an overnight train with several transfers, after which I board a bus to Lake Isabella. I’ll spend a night in Lake Isabella and then board another bus to Walker Pass. If the weather happens to be unusually hot, I will then continue on to the town of Ridgecrest, and hop a ride from there to Kennedy Meadows to begin my hike for the year. So, I couldn’t tell if I will begin hiking on 30JUN or a day or two later. In any event, I will be hitting the grandeur of the high Sierra in this episode of the PCT. I do not plan on summiting Mt. Whitney, a common side trip for PCT hikers, but will maintain my objective of hiking straight through. I also do not plan on stopping for resupply mid-way through the high Sierras but will head straight to Muir Trail Ranch, a segment that will take roughly 10 days to complete without a resupply. I will do a limited resupply at Reds Meadow (Mammoth, CA, Devils Postpile area) and mailed resupply packages at Tuolomne Meadows and Kennedy Meadows North (Sonora Pass). Rather than hitchhike down to South Lake Tahoe for resupply, I’m hoping that I can do a limited resupply at the Echo Lake grocery store before arriving at Donner Pass. At Donner Pass, I will hitchhike to Truckee, CA where I can catch the Amtrak train back home. I’ve considered plans for a much more extensive hiking season and then opted against that for a number of reasons, including my desire to spend as much of the summer with Betsy as possible, and taking the extremely hot weather under advisement. Besides the challenge of hiking in hot weather, there remains a much greater possibility of forest fires. Later in the summer (September) I hope that I can complete some more of the Washington PCT, perhaps with Russ A.

Preparations have been somewhat haphazard. I’ve been doing long hard day hikes, and last week did a very easy overnighter with Sam and Liam Flanagan. Physically, I feel ready. I’ve mailed my resupply packages to Kennedy Meadows (South) and to Muir Trail Ranch. Today, I mailed resupply boxes to Tuolomne Meadows and to Kennedy Meadows (North).

I will be using a Garmin InReach mini which will allow you to follow my progress. The device leaves a satellite “breadcrumb” every 30 minutes as to my location so that you can observe my progress from home. The link for this is share.garmin.com/PuyallupPilgrim . You may see mileage posted from the InReach mini, but it is highly inaccurate. Because it only takes a location every 30 minutes, it would be accurate only if I were walking a perfectly straight line without ups and downs. I could take my Garmin Explorer, which registers every few seconds and thus get a highly accurate reading on my hike, but that is much extra weight and totally unnecessary. My mileages will be reasonably accurately estimated from the trail mileage data of Guthooks, which is the iPhone GPS map system I use to stay on track on the trail.

Here is what I will be taking with me in my pack…

  • Backpack-Gossamer Gear 60Mariposa with rain cover
  • Tent – ZPacks Duplex
  • Hiking poles – ZPacks
  • Ground Pad – Thermarest NeoAir XLite – female
  • Sleeping quilt – Feathered Friends 20 Flicker
  • Pillow – down
  • Hiking gloves – Outdoor Research sun gloves
  • Buff & Handkerchief
  • Feathered Friends EOS down coat
  • Shorts, t-shirt (synthetic), socks, underpants, long underwear, fleece mittens/hat
  • Stove – Pocket rocket MSR kit with pot
  • Fuel canister
  • Camp towel
  • Long-handled titanium spoon
  • Bearikade bear canister (will change to UrSack at Kennedy Meadows) – an extra quarter to open and close the Bearikade
  • Personal paraphernalia – sunglasses, chapstick, wallet, pen, notepad, swiss army knife
  • Hydration bottle and tube
  • Rain jacket OR Helium II
  • Sawyer Squeeze water purification
  • 1 & 2-liter water bags
  • Suntan and Insect repellent, bug net
  • headlamp with extra batteries
  • Toilet paper, trowel, sanitizing gel
  • Pee bottle
  • First aid kit
  • Repair kit
  • Backup 10,000 MaH battery with charge cables
  • Medications: regular plus emergency meds
  • inReach Mini
  • iPhone

This is it. This will be my only “stuff” for 5-6 weeks. I have arranged for 4 resupplies, one at Kennedy Meadows South, one at Muir Trail Ranch, one at Tuolomne Meadows, and one at Kennedy Meadows North. I will also do a limited resupply at Reds Meadow and at Echo Lake resort. Here’s the contents of my pack…

Here is my resupply list for contents that I will have in the resupply boxes and food that will be on me…

PCT Resupply Box Contents July 2021

I will be leaving home anything that will not be used, save for hopefully a few emergency first aid supplies. Everything in the pack as well as the pack and on the pack have been weighed and re-weighed many times. Alternate items have also been weighed and the choice of alternates depended largely on the comparative weight of the item. I am doing a few things much differently. These include a) not using a fanny pack, but instead will be using a shoulder strap pocket on my backpack to hold my iPhone and sunglasses as well as permits and notepad. I will be using a Gossamer Gear pack. I’ve rigged up some straps to hold the bear canister to the outside of the pack. I may be trying out a hoodie rather than a button-down shirt. I will be using the right hip belt pocket for quick energy food—I used to keep quick energy food in my fanny pack until some chocolate melted and got all over my iPhone; not cool. I’ll be using a large zip lock bag for my daily lunch meal supplies since I am using the Bearikade bear canister which is a little hard to quickly access. I anticipate that I will be continuously modifying my style to best suit my changing needs.

The high Sierra and Washington are the two top-rated areas of the trail. I know the Washington section of the PCT reasonably well but have never been to the high Sierra. So, I’m looking eagerly for this phase of my adventure. This segment is also the part in which you MUST have a permit. Everywhere else on the PCT, you can hike the trail and camp the trail without a permit. If you camp in the high Sierra without a permit or without a bear canister, you WILL receive a hefty fine and curtly escorted out of the park.

I am finishing my pre-hike training with a few more hikes. On 24JUN I ran up to Thompson Lake, a 4000 ft climb and 14 miles of trail. Saturday I will be doing hiking around Mt. Si and Mt. Tenerife (the twin peaks of tv series fame). The weather has been hot, and I’ve been holding up, so I am feeling about as ready as I could be for this upcoming challenge.

I’ll be sending blog pages as often as possible, but in the high Sierra and all the way up to Donner Pass, there will be very few locations where I’ll be in cell phone range to download my blog pages. Thus, the only way you’ll be able to follow me is on the Garmin site. My PLB will receive messages, but I beg of you, PLEASE do not send me a satellite message unless it is most urgent. Rather, e-mail me ([email protected]), or comment on this web page, but do NOT text me or satellite message me. The reason is quite simple. I won’t have cell phone coverage to receive text messages. A satellite message eats up a massive amount of electricity for my PLB, and my contract plan does NOT allow for unlimited messages, which I’d like to reserve for Betsy.


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