By September I already had bought a book on Oregon/Washington section of PCT, downloaded National Geographic maps and started dwindling into some logistics. With my winter being overwhelmed by my never-ending saga with my beloved children and deterioration and eventual demise of my father, not to mention working my butt off to hold off the trips I had to put up to tend to said issues, as the time changed to longer days, and we rolled over official Spring beginning, it was time. It was time to sit down and start mapping the adventure...
- it is a backpacking trip, not running or fastpacking. That means my pack will be heavy - I might be lighter than your regular through-hiker, but surely heavier than ultrarunners are used to, or those ultrarunners going for 3-5 days into wilderness. I like to sleep in a full tent, and despite common idea Oregon has stretches of no water for 20 miles, so 3 L is mandatory for me. Not to mention food for 5 days for most - and potentially for the longer in some areas of preference. I am hoping to start with below 45 lbs (FYI, I started Tahoe circle with 53 lbs, of which 12 lbs - 5.5 L - were water). I got a little more knowledge after last summer, but also know I used all I carried, and while some of my items are pretty new and lightweight in terms of technology, I am not replacing some that are working well.
- it is a SOLO backpacking trip. No, Larry is not coming - and yes, I am still happily married:) In fact I love him more than I did when I dated and moved to this God-forgotten state of Texas, and more than I knew I was capable. But for a number of reasons, some of which depend on his life's schedule, and some on my personal needs to be alone and overcome, I am backpacking by myself. We will be doing backpacking trips yearly together, no worries, a little shorter may be, but we will, for sure, and it's already in the works for this year as well. But the long hauls are mine to take on, and this one - especially.
- I am doing it in July. I will start a few days after the fireworks celebrate this country's Independence and will finish shortly before Larry turns big 5-0. That's all I am going to say in terms of dates publicly, go figure it out:) But I will say it should take me 15 days, what puts me into 30 (and some+) miles a day for those 15 days, no break. Larry is coming to the last day to possible back-hike a few miles, meet me and bring me in to the Bridge of The Gods. This will be a huge culmination of so much for me, I get teary just thinking about it. We will spend his birthday around doing whatever is that he wants for the next few days.
- logistically I will need 1 big step: a ride from Ashland's bus stop to the CA border, on some 4-wheel drive car as we will have to travel some serious dirt roads for over an hour. I got some ideas, and will approach them in a month or so.
- in other helpful hints, I will ask a couple friends to drop a gallon of water and a can of fuel for my at one (only) road crossing with PCT that I will likely be desperate at, to promote my further along camping and cutting off a mile each way detour to a lake on one of those long water-less stretches.
- in terms of purity of the hike - it will not be. I mean, I don't have an agenda to through-hike PCT as PCT stands. Truthfully, I do plan to backpack ALL of the PCT eventually, in sections, Washington will come probably next, and California will be split into lower (hot and dry and Spring) section and Sierra's. But with that, my goal right NOW is to hike Oregon for it's most beautiful trails and what makes my heart jump. I plan on taking 3 alternative routes - which are taken often by backpackers unless they do the whole thing by the Golden Standards. I am making a detour to Crater lake, taking Oregon Coastal Trail to Odell lake, and finishing to Cascades locks on a much more scenic Eagle creek trail. All those are due to water and potentially re-supply location, as well and more so for scenery.
- it is a self-propelled hike. I will carry my own food, get my own water, and make detours as needed to meet my needs (besides that water drop I mentioned, though I will be able to live without if needed). I will have 3 stops at the stores for re-supply: Crater lake, Shelter Cove resort at Odell lake, and Olallie lake. If one of you have information what they have in terms of hiker's food, I'd appreciate hints, but I will be calling in closer to departure as well, of course. I will also add eating meals at (may be) Big Lake Youth Camp and Timberline Lodge (also may be) to those 3 stops.
- I hope all my Oregon friends understand my innate need to be alone for this one. I am fully aware that if I wanted to, I could have had company for at least half of my trip, but the thing is, I want to do it for me. I love my friends dearly, and that's why I keep visiting, and I probably will never have friends as I did (and hopefully do) in Oregon, but this one is for me. This is a need to sort through my life, my thoughts, my desires.
I guess that's it in a nutshell. With the days suddenly longer due to time change (as much as I hate the idea of the time change), and 2 days a week me working not into late hours, we make an effort to get out of the house in the evening and enjoy the beautiful weather of our "in-between" season - before the crazy summer heat and humidity hit, because we know, it's coming, and it is right around the corner, you blink - and you're stuck at home worse that if you're in the dead of winter (for me anyway).
And we get to visit our good friends Marta and Alberto!