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Archive for December, 2005

I have developed an Excel spreadsheet based on Craig’s PCT Planner that outlines where I plan to resupply along the route. Unfortunately, I have not figured out a way to import it into Trailjournals. If someone knows how, maybe they could drop me a note with instructions.

Anyway, on the PCT, hikers seem to adopt one of the two dominant resupply strategies. The choices are basically as follows: 1. Figure it all out ahead of time, plan your meals, and have boxes shipped to you along the trail. 2. Buy what you need along the way as you frequent towns near the trail. Both approaches seem to have advantages. Option one gives you the opportunity to plan quality meals in advance but you run the risk of sending too much or too little food, and you may get tired of meals that seemed perfectly appetizing during the planning phase. Option 1 also costs more in postage as you are sending all of those packages. Option 2 is nice because you can be more spontaneous and are not as driven by the post office schedule as to when you need to pick up your box. However, many of the towns that the PCT goes near are quite small. Thus your opportunities for large grocers with abundant choices are largely wishful thinking.

I have decided to adopt a modified approach. I plan to purchase most of my food along the way but in areas where I know my choices will be limited I will mail a package from my last larger town stop. For me, I think this will work out very well. Fortunately, I am not a picky eater even though my Dr. would like me to be very picky regarding keeping the saturated fats to a minimum. I am figuring with this kind of exercise a few extra grams of fat will not kill me. I also find that I can get pretty bored with the same meals repeated over time. On the John Muir Trail (JMT) in September of 2005, I found that after just a couple of weeks, I was bored with some of the meals I had brought and I had only eaten them twice.

I also have the very good fortune to live in California, I am involved with the PCTA, and I have a lot of family and friends who live near the trail. Thus, in some of the more limited resupply areas, I have people who are coming to meet me with food, drink, and friendship. If need be, they will take me to town. For example, in Burney California, my sister Sheri and her partner Kathy will be taking vacation and going to Burney Falls State Park. When I get there, they have promised to feed me very well and will give me a ride into Burney to resupply. I won’t need much however, because when I get to Mt. Shasta City, my good friends Nick and Christy and Michael and Joe will likely host me in their homes for a day or two.

This strategy is going to be really nice between Aqua Dulce and Kennedy Meadows. My Dad is planning to basically follow me across the desert in his RV, truck, or motorcycle depending on his mood.

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It seems appropriate to give a little bit of personal information about myself for those who do not presently know me. I live in Sacramento with my wonderful wife, Liz Bergeron, our dog Floyd (Weimaraner) and our cat Sally (tiger-stripe).
Those of you who are familiar with the PCT and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) may recognize my wife’s name. Yes, it is the same Liz Bergeron who is the Executive Director of the PCTA. Thus, I am pretty familiar with the PCT and very involved with the PCTA: The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to protect, preserve, and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail so as to reflect its world-class significance for the enjoyment, education, and adventure of hikers and equestrians.

Liz is going to join me for the first month of my hike. We will meet at the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off Party (ADZPCTKO) and she will actually start at Pioneer Mail and hike to Aqua Dulce. The ADZPCTKO is an informal gathering at the county campground at Lake Moreno (20.6 miles from the Mexico border). The event is loosely sponsored by previous hikers and trail enthusiasts and many NOBO hikers show up for the party. I have been to the KO a few times as a volunteer and it is a really fun event. It is very exciting to be going as an actual hiker in 06. And on Sunday Morning Freefall (PCT 2003) is cooking pancakes for the hikers heading north.

I am 42 years old and will be 43 when I start my thru-hike. In March of 2005, I retired from my job as the Northern California Regional Leader of Jones & Stokes (J&S). J&S is an outstanding environmental consulting firm and it was a really difficult decision to leave. Unfortunately, my position there had me dealing more with accounts payable, achieving business plan, cash flow, and personnel issues…..rather than the project work that brought me into the industry in the first place. I am an environmental scientist by training with a minor in biology. Since retiring, I have realized that it was absolutely the best decision for Liz and me. I will likely work professionally again, but I am in no hurry and am keeping an open mind regarding what “next”. I figure a thru-hike should give me some time to give it some thought.

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I recently read that “when a dream becomes a goal the real work begins”. I am finding this true as I plan for my trip and am sure that days and months on the trail will also require significant effort to ensure success. I am really excited about the prospect and I am enjoying this new goal phase of hiking the PCT.
I have been giving the “rules” of my hike some thought. I believe this is important because I have some strong ideas regarding the type of hike I want to complete. In the community of long distance hikers you will frequently hear the term “hike your own hike” (HYOH). This is a way of saying that you should hike the way you want to. Conversely it is a polite way to tell the pundits or hiking pontificators you are not particularly interested in their opinion as to how you are not hiking “their” way, and thus by their definition, “the best” way. The bottom line is the PCT is ~2650 miles and you have some choices on how you are going to attempt to get from Mexico to Canada.

For example, are you going to skip sections because they are not pretty or lack water?

I am planning on hiking contiguously from Mexico to Canada largely along the PCT. If I make it, I want to be able to say to myself that I hiked the entire way and when I look at a map of my route I do not want to see any breaks in the hiking line depicted. I am willing to take side trails if they are more scenic or offer other advantages but I am unwilling to skip any section that would make my hike non-contiguous. Basically, I will not skip ahead. I know already that I plan to take several of the more scenic routes along the route but not on the official PCT. One is around Crater Lake in Oregon and another is the Eagle creek trail also in Oregon. Both of the alternate routes are not appropriate for horses and thus are not part of the official route. They are reported to be significantly more scenic however.

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Greetings,

About 30 years ago, I remember hiking with my dad somewhere on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) in southern California and learning that if I kept walking north I would ultimately end up in Canada. And conversely if I went south, I would find myself in Mexico. Sometime shortly after this I learned that a few hardy souls had actually embarked-on and completed a contiguous hike from Mexico to Canada. I continue to be in complete awe.

I never forgot those early images of the trail, nor the longing to attempt the epic adventure of hiking the entire PCT; of spending a summer in the mountains and landscapes that I truly love. And while I always put this idea in the realm of fantasy, I now find myself writing my first entry into http://www.trailjournals.com as I plan for my 2006 PCT thru-hike attempt. If you follow this journal you will quickly learn I am not the best speller or grammarian. However, I should point out that in the context of a through hike, the trail community spells it “thru”.

I am planning a NOBO which is a hiking acronym for North Bound. My schedule has me leaving Campo, California on April 25, 2006. The small town of Campo is the southern terminus of the PCT and is adjacent to the Mexico border. Hopefully, I will find myself in Canada about 5 months later thus completing my hike in Manning Park, British Columbia (Northern terminus). The plan is to finish in late September with a specific target date of the 26th.

I have taken on the trail name of go-BIG and you can see the history of that under the trail name section of my journal. I have never written a journal before and the process seems rather daunting but I am committed to giving it a sincere effort.

Your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

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