Monday, November 14, 2011

PCT in Review (pt 1)

If anyone has been waiting anxiously to hear my post-op analysis on my trip, I apologize - the real world has been awfully busy lately. My main priority has been graduating on time, and that's kept the time for reflection down to a minimum. The first piece of my reflection is a summary of my trip in numbers. In doing this I realized two posts never went up while I was on the trail, so I've added those to the blog in the correct timeline.

I started hiking on May 18th, and finished hiking on August 16th, for a total of 91 days out in the woods. During that time I hiked a total of 1321 miles, including 1241 on trail and an additional 80 off-trail (up Mount Whitney, in and out Kearsarge Pass, to Yosemite Valley, etc). I took 19 zero days, of which 11 were for recovery from my stress fracture, and another three were to skip up to Crater Lake. That means I took 3 on trail zeros, which was about what I planned to do. I took an additional 7 'nero' days where I hiked 10 miles or less (3 were for my stress fracture recovery), and these were generally going into or out of town.

My overall average pace for the summer was 14.5 miles per day.
Excluding the time out for injuries, my average pace was 16.6 miles per day.
On the days that I hiked, my average pace was just about 20 miles per day.

One thing I didn't realize going in was how easy it is to give in to the temptation to cut a mile or two off of each day. When you're tired towards the evening and its starting to get darker, you may happen upon a great campsite. Many times I didn't have the mental fortitude to push past it and gave in to my desire to rest right there. Over a couple weeks that adds up and can really throw the schedule off in the long term. Offhand I can think of at least a half dozen times this happened, like at Fred Canyon Creek, just after Paradise Valley Cafe, after Mission Creek, and coming up to Baden Powell to name a few from the first three weeks.

Its actually a ton of fun seeing all the data for my whole hike. Looking back I can find places I made mistakes and how I would improve if I did it all over again (and yes, that idea is lurking in the back of my mind). I totally understand now when more experienced hikers talk about how hiking gets in your blood, I can say with absolute certainty I'll be getting back out there when I have the chance.

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