Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Gear Splurge

Last year, I finished the season with a respectable base weight of around 16 pounds. While discussing our upcoming Pacific Crest Trail section hike, I proudly mentioned this to Paul. "Wow," he said, "that's a pretty heavy base weight." Ouch, there goes my ego!
I've recently worked a lot of overtime, so I have a bit of extra spending money. Well, I did, until 15 minutes after Paul's comment. I've ordered a new pack (Mountain Laurel Super Prophet), water bladder (Platypus Big Zip 1.8L), mattress (Gossamer Gear NightLight), Wind Jacket (GoLite Ether), and a few other bits & pieces. I've also tweaked some of my existing gear, including streamlining my first aid kit, repackaging hygiene items, and eliminating items unnecessary for the specific locale.

The verdict? My base weight is under 10 pounds! I've posted a spreadsheet, please feel free to take a look and offer any suggestions. I plan to review all of the new gear, and detail the optimization steps to get to this weight.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Crunch time

In an effort to compensate for a winter of sloth-like activity, I've started an exercise schedule to help me get back into shape. Using a Google Apps spreadsheet, I'll keep track of my daily mileage and fitness routine. It's a bit geeky trying to use a spreadsheet to get in shape, but I find having a visual aid helps me stay on track. Shadow, my training partner, is really enjoying this new fitness routine as well. She's getting at least 6 or 7 kilometers of walking/hiking/running a day, rain or shine. She doesn't much care for the spreadsheet though.

The other geeky thing I've added to my fitness routine is my GPS. Not exactly a necessary item, but I really like knowing how far I've hiked, what my average speed was, as well as learning to use the darned thing. I don't know if it will join me on any backpacking adventures, but at 5 oz it isn't too unreasonable to bring on some trips. If there's any interest, I'll write up a review and usage guide for it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Out of Hibernation

I'd like to start by apologizing for my shockingly long absence from posting. I could give you the usual excuses about being busy and all that, but really it's because the dog ate my homework.
Anyhow, spring is here on the West Coast, and my desire to get back out on the trails is in full bloom.

So far I have two hikes confirmed to tell you about. First, I'll be joining my friend Paul (Potential 178) on a week-long Pacific Crest Trail adventure in late April. We'll be flying down to San Diego, hiking a section of the trail southbound, and finishing up in time to participate in the ADZPCTKO. Paul has hiked the southern section of the PCT twice now, so I look forward to learning from his experience.

My second confirmed hike will also be on the PCT, but this time with my brother, Nathan. In August, we'll be tackling a section in Southern Oregon, around the Crater Lake area. I've vacationed in Crater Lake, but I'm very excited about getting onto the trails in the surrounding area.

I really need to get in shape quickly, as it's only 6 weeks until I'm on the trail. I have a layer of winter fat to shed, some gear to update, food to prepare, and itineraries to plan. I'll keep you up to date with my progress!