Tejon Ranch relocation

The Tejon Ranch area was a sore spot for PCT lovers as the trail had to come down out of the mountains and onto the desert floor for a hot and waterless stretch. Due to an historic agreement between the PCTA, Tejon Ranch and the National and State forest agencies involved that is no longer the case. Here is all the news on this agreement:


If you would like to donate to the PCTA and it's further efforts go here and click on "Donate":




Spent the weekend at the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off. This year they had Eric Ryback speaking. Eric hiked the PCT from Canada to Mexico in 1970. At this time the trail was set in Oregon and Washington but there were 2 routes proposed in California and maps and guidebooks were not fully available. Eric was probably the first to thru-hike the trail.

Here's the differences between then and now.

Now: people hiking the trail typically have about 26 places on the trail where they send themselves boxes of food.

Then: Eric sent himself 5 boxes of food.

This means he was carrying A LOT more weight in food on his back.

Now: people typically hike with a backpack between 15-30 pounds on there back.

Then: Eric hiked with a 75 pound load. He weighed 140 at the time.


Time to update

Well, I've lost about 13 pounds. So the weight thing is going good. I went to Joshua Tree National Park and will update shortly with photos of all the wildflowers. Also, I'm going to ADZPCTKO 2008 on April 25-27 for the kickoff party. I'm very excited to see this year's group and wish them well. Last year I didn't really talk to anyone, so this year I will endeavour to do so and report back to all my readers.


I've been walking . . .

The plan is now in place. I will lose 5 pounds a month this year on average to make my plan of losing 60 pounds before it all ends. This will reduce me from 270 to 210. I am using the Bacpacker magazine site's personal trainer to achieve this goal. The website provides you with a meal plan and exercise plan that are both customizable. You may notice a similar post to this if you look through my archives, as I used this plan breifly before.

That's the goal and don't consider this a new year resolution, this has everything to do with hiking 2,660 miles, not some new year's day junk.


Section A

Planning for Section A is somewhat completed. By the way, that's section A for Southern California. The sections in the book I'm using break down like this:

Southern Cal: A-H
Northern Cal: I-R
Oregon and Washington: A-L

The following is the breakdown of Section A.

Day 1: Mexico border to Lake Moreno Campground
20.6 miles
This will take me from 2900' (altitude) down below 2400' and back up to 3400' before settling at 3065'.
I will camp here at Moreno for the night and I would welcome anyone to come join me. I'll carry limited food as I will resupply in camp.

Day 2: Lake Moreno Campground to Cibbits Flats Campground
12 miles
3065' to 4410'

Day 3: Cibbits Flats to Mt. Laguna
10 miles
4410' to up over 6000'
I will stay in a room with a bed in Mt. Laguna.

Day 4: Mt. Laguna to Pioneer Mail Trailhead
9.5 miles
6000' to 5260'

Day 5: Pioneer Mail Trailhead to Rodriguez Spur Truck Road
15.7 miles
5260' down and up and down to 3650'

Day 6: Rodriguez Spur Truck Road to Top of San Felipe Hills
17 miles
3650' down to 2250' and up to 3360'

Day 7: Top of San Felipe Hills to San Ysidro Creek
20.2 miles
3360' up to 4395' and down to 3355'

Day 8: San Ysidro Creek to Warner Springs
4.4 Miles
3355' over 3500' and back down to 3010'

This section is mostly dry underbrush with little water and can be very hot. There are two 24 mile waterless stretches. This doesn't mean there will be no water, just no guarantee of water. Creeks are usually dried up by spring, however there are volunteers who leave water for hikers. As you can see, this section undulates gradually up and down. One of the more interesting concerns is the illegal aliens who will be passing my tent in the dark along the way.

I look forward to knowing this is behind me. I will enjoy the forest sections much more than the desert for the most part.


Planning, planning, planning

I've learned a bit by planning my little walk. What I've learned is to plan about two or three weeks and then review and break it down as groups of days and then to break it down to individual days before considering it semi-planned. I say semi-planned because after you plan the whole event, you go out and start walking and throw most of your exact plans out the window. This is based on day to day weather, trail closures, and things like your feet.

Primarily the planning breaks down to a resupply plan. Of course of utmost concern is to know where and when you will be near sources of water, but the resupply lines for food and equipment are fairly darn important as well. So, here's some notes:

1. You need water. Water is critical. Water will be in your backpack. 3 to 6 liters of it most of the time. Water weighs over 2 pounds per liter and thus you will be carrying 6 and a half to 13 pounds of water at any given time.

2. The first 200 miles of the PCT are in desert climates that are often in the triple digit temperature range in the spring. Thus you may need more water than mentioned in number 1.

3. Resupply includes food. This can be shipped ahead when it is dehydrated and purchased at stores along the way. Gaps between resupply points can be 20-45 miles so you will often carry 2-3 days of food. When hiking 20 miles a day you often burn 5-6 thousand calories per day. Resupply should include good amounts of HIGH calorie food. Oh and there's sections where the resupply points are further apart. More on that later.

4. Resupply includes equipment. The hike is 2,660 miles. Shoes last about 400 miles. That's right, I'll be mailing shoes to myself. Also, I will be hiking in the desert and atop snow covered mountains at 12,000 feet. This requires very different types of equipment. Carrying all of this at one time would destroy me. Therefore I'll be planning where I need boots, clothes, jackets, crampons, etc. and shipping them to me.

I sort of feel like I'm planning to invade Canada, not just walk to it.


New map link

Here's a great Google Map of the PCT. You can look at it through the satellite or standard view as well as zoom in on it, etc. I will also put this on the side bar.

Okay desert, here I come.

So, the Cleveland, Angeles, and San Bernadino National Forests are all closed to ALL recreation due to fire hazards. Let me just make a quick note to eliminate ALL the forests near me for hikes in the near future.

I want to go on a overnighter in the next couple of weeks to see how warm my sleeping bag is and how warm my thermo vest+wind shell combo is. I will definitely take some emergency clothes and some hot tea with me because the desert is known to get a little cold at night.

Alright, who's going with me?


So, um yeah

I know I haven't posted. The task of planning out such an epic journey is daunting. Also, I need to post corrections already. It seems I haven't hiked for quite some time. I've also put on weight. Well, that ends now. I'm elated by the recent weather. I know most of you think I'm crazy but, highs in the 40's and lows in the 10's are motivating to me. I will plan my next hike in the next day or so and will get back to epic trail planning as well. More notes soon.


Hike Planning Day 1

Tonight I began planning the hike. Here's the first 3 days.

Day 1 and 2
The first morning will start early at the Mexican border. A short moment for pictures at the Southern Terminus of the PCT monument and time for a few words written into the register. Then I will begin a 17 mile hike to Lake Moreno campground. This hike is an up and down gradual grind. The first 2 miles include a 500 foot descent followed by a 1000' climb over the next 6 miles. At this point I'll have beautiful views for the next mile of the next 1000' descent and 1000' foot climb over the next 7 miles. I have an opportunity to camp at the base of this canyon but hope I will make it up to the peak as the Lake Moreno Campground is 3/4 mile from the peak. I will camp in Moreno till morning of day 3.

Day 3
On this day I will start early on an 18 mile hike that will take me grinding up 3000'. It is a full day of nothing but unrelenting climbing. The first of a few along the trip. Fortunately this is only 3000' up. I will camp in Lower Morris Meadow where the guide says a beautiful camp awaits.

With mostly drought years recently, I can plan on few water sources. There are three campgrounds along these first 35 miles of the trip that I can count on to have water. There may be a seasonal spring or two, but nothing guaranteed and therefore I cannot plan for these. Therefore I will carry at least 8 liters of water per day. This is roughly 16 pounds of water per day. This will be on top of the weight of my pack, supplies, food, and clothes. Probably putting my pack around 35-40 pounds for this stretch.

Alternatively, a solid winter will provide water, but will mean the hills that I summit will have snow to slog through.

The first 200 miles of the hike are often the proving ground. It is all desert and mountains. If I can make it through this section, I can start feeling confident about my chances.


Ahh, new discoveries.

Discovery number one: I can go on a long hike and not have to twist my ankle every mile or so.

Discovery number two: Bobbi bought a pad to sleep on with three requirements; it be soft, it fit her sleeping bag, and it be pink. I bought a pad with two requirements; it be light and keep me warm. Discovery, Bobbi bought a nice comfortable pad, and I wake up every 30 minutes.

Discovery number three: Although I have a ways to go in conditioning, I really think I can do this border to border hike.

We hiked this weekend in our regular spot. The PCT above Wrightwood to Jackson Flats campground. This time with the added twist of spending the night and waking up to hike 8 more miles (it's about 2.5 miles to Jackson Flats). The hike was pretty nice, we had great weather and although I didn't sleep well on the pad, all of my other equipment worked well.
I have a new stove that boils 2 cups of water in about 20 seconds, and a sleeping pad and bag combo. I say combo because the bag has no down or insulation underneath, instead it has a sleeve for a sleeping pad to slide into and insulate underneath you. This is a stellar idea as down stuffing does nothing to pad you and thus you reduce some weight as you'll have a pad anyways. These all worked great except I may have to adjust to the bad or splurge for a softer heavier one.
Also, I got to use my trekking poles again. These were bought by Bobbi and are my favorite hiking items. They create a lot of stability while transferring some load off of your legs and back, into your arms. This allows you to go much farther and faster in my opinion. Although a trekking pole-less Bobbi still kicks my butt's pace.
Here's some pics from the hike. Also, I will start planning my PCT thru hike in the next week, doing a small section each week. I will post this process and my thoughts as I go.


Well, the doc said to go...

We're going for an over-nighter next weekend. My Physical Therapist wants me to put at least 10 miles on my ankle without my brace, but he suggested I put the brace in my backpack, just in case. Depending on the weather, we're going to hike above Big Bear. There's a great little campground hidden in a lush creek. I'm very excited. Obviously, I'll finally have more to write about.


The foot

Well, the foot handled the hike this weekend well. Of course I was wearing a brace. Hiking puts your mind into interesting places. We hiked (Bobbi and I) about 3 miles. My foot did not hurt at all, but I did get a deep aching in my right shoulder under my backpack strap. I also felt my sunburn from the 4th of July sting a bit. The point here is that this pain gets compartmentalized. It is as if there were two of me hiking Sunday. I have read that many hikers talk about the trance-like state your mind enters. You see, there was the guy hiking the trail, enjoying the outdoors and the view and just "being there". There was also the guy who noticed the pain in my shoulder, felt the sting on my sunburn, and choked in the heat between breezes, but this part of me felt like it was somewhere else. We'll see if this guy starts to push into my brain and speak a little louder when we hike more miles. I know he interrupted my hike with Bobbi in Big Bear and battled the "Lizard of Hope" for dominance a month or two ago.

Continuing with my foot, we have a series of exercises to do 3 times a day to strengthen the stabilizer muscles. This should compensate for the bad ligaments. I will be seeing my physical therapist "Nathan" every 2 weeks for the next month. By the way, if you have an injured toe, as I do, there may be no worse pain in this world then the towel crawl excercise. The way this works is you sit in a chair and lay a towel on the tile floor flat away from your foot. You then use your toes to scrunch the towel slowly towards you, pulling the full length in without using the rest of your foot. Repeat 5 times and scream a little.

Well, today is my birthday and we're off to REI tonight to do some shopping. I will have gear updates shortly. Also, some pics from this weekend will pop up soon.


Okay, the ligament is bad but workable

It looks like the ligament in my foot has been my problem for years. Good news is, on Monday we will be seeing the physical therapist, and we have a very effective brace. Result of all this, is that I will be hiking this Sunday. Stay tuned.


Stupid foot...

Well, if your wondering why the nes here has slowed to a crawl, blame my stupid foot. I tend to roll over my right foot, (called over pronation), and stumble a lot. While not the best experience for hiking, it has been manageable up till now. Approximately 2 days after setting a doctor's appointment to look into this problem, I stumbled down 4 stairs on top of my big toe. Did I mention I was carrying a couch when I performed this "April-like" manuever? Haven't been able to really walk right since. If I was on the trail at this moment, there would be a daily dose of Ibuprofen and the hopes of fighting through the pain. As I am not on the trail, proper healing is the call.

So the Doc looked at my toe and said, "I don't . . . think . . . it's broken, but I think you should see a podiatrist about all of this. I'll refer you and he'll setup an appointment in the next few weeks."

So, I'm waiting for a call. Of course, the toe gets worse every day. I could call and see my doc again sooner, but who wants to pay $30 to be told to wait for the podiatrist?