Monday, May 16, 2011

Final Day at Home

So the most amazing thing has happened over the last five months. Somehow I've managed to spent that time wrapping up my undergrad and prepping for this massive summer undertaking. I've gathered up 90 days of food, boxed it up, ready to ship to myself on the trail. I developed an itinerary for how I plan to cover 2600 miles of trail in just three months. I've put in nearly 350 miles of training, and feel pretty good about my physical condition. I've assembled all the gear that will keep me safe and warm over the course of this adventure. And somehow through all of that, this day seemed to be exceedingly far away. Suddenly, yesterday, as I walked back from receiving my diploma, it was here. Whoa, that hit me fast, because part of me never really wanted, or even expected this senior year to end. I was just having too much fun with everyone, and the end was always weeks or months away, then BAM! Game over. Undergraduate life has been forever locked away in our photos, transcripts, and memories. Now its time for things to get real.

I'm home right now looking at everything that come together for this trip (including a frantic rush to postpone jury duty that came up in June!) For anyone who hasn't followed me from the start though, let me give you a brief recap. This summer I plan to hike the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the Mexican border in Southern California and working my way up to the Canadian border. I follow the mountain crest up the center of the state, so no, I will not see the ocean. You can see the route below.

I'll be starting out in the high desert, and will be there for about 700 miles before transitioning into the Sierra Nevada mountain range, including a short detour up to Mount Whitney, the tallest point in the lower 48. After several hundred miles there I will move into the volcanic areas of Northern California, winding around massive volcanoes such as Lassen and Shasta. At the 1700 mile mark I will have finished my first state, and will head into Oregon and the Cascade mountains. As the trip winds to a close I will come through Washington, up to the Canadian border, and just across to catch a Greyhound bus back to the states for my flight home.

If you were wondering, no I'm not crazy, just ambitious. I'm looking to push myself to the limit as I need to walk an average of 28 miles per day in order to finish this before grad school starts again in the Fall.

I'm starting out solo (much to my mother's chagrin) but I fully expect to run into other hikers and spend time hiking with them if we're going the same pace. About 400-500 people attempt the full thru-hike each year, so I won't be the only one out there.

Yes, I do have a satellite emergency button, and I hope never to need it. The nice thing is that it lets me send 140 character check-in texts w/ my GPS location, so that will let me stay in touch even out of cell range. If you want to be on that list for text messages, please message me and I'll make sure to add you to my account.

For supplies, I clearly can't carry 95 days of food with me, so the plan is to box up 5-7 days of food and ship those boxes to post offices near the trail. I'll just have to walk in, show my ID, and I'll be all set for another week of hiking.

In terms of keeping everyone up to date, this will be my primary location for updates, at least when I have cell service. I'll try to post as many photos and entries as I can.

I think that pretty much covers it, so I'm off to pack my bag for the flight tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your support, and I'll see you all in a few months!

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