PCT Prep – The Plan – Organized Chaos

547 days ago, I was counting down the days, the months, and the weeks until I started walking, 2659 miles, on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s hard to believe that what once seemed so far away, can now be counted down in days, hours even. Yes, I started planning my trek a year and a half ago, and here is the organized chaos that took place, which led me to being as prepared as I can be, to start this wonderful journey.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. This is my first thru-hike. I have backpacked before, the longest being a 9 day trek. With that being said, I took the advice of previous hikers, of many resources, and my mentors in mYAMAdventure. I’m not perfect, nor was my planning. I planned my trek in a way that fit me, and my perfectionist personality!

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Resources Used: 

Yogi’s Pacific Crest Trail Handbook (2016-2017) 

After I found out about this book, I used this primarily. Updated yearly and can be purchased at http://www.yogisbooks.com

The Pacific Crest Trail: From Mexico to Canada

I used this to read about the trail and terrain. It has been updated since the version I bought. It can be purchased through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Crest-Trail-Hiking-Mexico/dp/1852849207/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1491917809&sr=8-9&keywords=the+pacific+crest+trail+from+mexico+to+canada

Pacific Crest Trail Data Book

Great resource to help plan resupply stops, but again, I primarily used Yogi’s Handbook for resupply planning. Purchase through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Crest-Trail-Data-Book/dp/B010EWBJ6C/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1491917809&sr=8-7&keywords=the+pacific+crest+trail+from+mexico+to+canada

Craig’s PCT Planner

Another awesome resource that allows you to create a username/password and create a plan specific to your start date and specific to your trekking past. Check it out at https://www.pctplanner.com

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The Calendar 

A year and a half ago, I had no idea how to start planning for this. Although there are several guide books, they don’t exactly say “Step One”… So, where do you start? I purchased a blank calendar, wrote my anticipated start date, and mile by mile, I started filling in the days. I knew I wanted to resupply every 5-7 days. So, as I was filling in the days, I used a combination of Craig’s PCT Planner and Yogi’s PCT Handbook, to fill in resupply stops with the calculated mileage on the calendar.

Organizing Resupply Boxes with Index Cards
After completing the calendar, I then made  out 29 – 5×7 index cards. On the front of each card, I wrote the resupply location, address, phone number and days of resupply. On the back of the cards, I wrote in any gear I needed to put in the boxes and the meals and snacks listed out. These were definitely a big help when actually packing the resupply boxes.

Gear

As already discussed in previous posts, buying the “right” gear was one of the biggest challenges. Trying to be as light weight as possible, but not sacrifice warmth, comfort or my camera gear was a big challenge. I will soon be posting my gear list, but haven’t quite perfected it yet! Still trying to ditch some weight in the next couple of days!

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Image from http://myamadventure.com
Sponsorships

What is a sponsorship? Sponsorship, by definition is when a company or person provides support either financially, or by providing gear to a person (or group). I will also be writing a blog about sponsorships, so I won’t go too much into detail, but I am very lucky to have obtained the sponsorships and mentorships that I did in support of my hike. A big shout out to my biggest sponsorship/mentorship with YAMA Mountain Gear in their 2017 mYAMAdventure program. Check the program out at http://myamadventure.com

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Resupply Boxes

Resupply boxes, to say the least, were a ginormous, time consuming pain in the butt. The 29 resupply boxes took about 2 weeks to label, pack, number, address and decorate.

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Resupply Shipping Chart

I created a chart with all of my resupply locations and shipping details for my parents to keep track of the boxes, dates and boxes shipped.

Emergency Plan

After some research, discussion with my mentors through mYAMAdventure and discussion with my parents, I created an emergency plan in case I go missing. Pretty self explanatory. I would rather have a plan and nothing happen, then something happen and my parents not know what to do. I used the following articles to help me create this plan:

https://www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/backcountry-basics/safety-tips/emergency-beacon-search-rescue-trip-plan/

https://jansjaunts.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/dear-friends-family-if-i-become-a-missing-person/

Extra Gear/Back-Up Supplies

I placed all of my extra gear items in individual plastic bags, numbered them, and color coated them. Instead of calling home and trying to describe a piece of gear to my mother, whom hasn’t spent too much time outdoors, I decided to make it easy on her and my step dad.

Pay Off Debt

I worked by butt off the last year and a half to pay off all credit card debt, my car and to save money for the next 6 months! After my travel nurse contract ended, I updated my student loan income based repayment plan, and I am all set financially!

Laser Hair Removal

I previously had laser hair removal and didn’t feel like it was effective. After a lot of research and consultations, I learned the reasons why it wasn’t effective in the past. Although very expensive to have laser hair removal done right, it is the best money I’ve spent. I couldn’t afford to get my legs done, but I got my underarms, bikini and a few other areas done and am only 3/4ths of the way through treatments (it takes a year), but am so happy I did it. I didn’t get paid to advertise for them, nor do I get anything for posting this, but I highly recommend Ideal Image. The great thing is, they have locations all over the country. https://www.idealimage.com/

I am Ready!

In only a few days, my loving and supporting parents and I, will be flying down to San Diego. I am so lucky to have such wonderful parents. We are staying a few days, renting a car and they are so willingly driving me to Campo. You’ll hear from me next week, regarding my adventure to the border! Let the trekking begin!

 

10 thoughts on “PCT Prep – The Plan – Organized Chaos

  1. Your organizational skills are to be envied! I’m really impressed, and taking many cues from you for next year. I fear your calendar may be requiring corrections and revisions soon into your journey, but that’s ok. You probably spent more time planning for this walk than it actually takes you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have an iPhone 7 and it’s important to me to have a camera. I’ve done a lot of research on cameras and lightweight cameras. Although the Samsung s7 can take good pictures, it doesn’t compare to a dslr any photographer or amateur photographer can tell the difference. Although I appreciate your replies, I don’t feel as if I do anything that you would agree with. My base weight is still 19lbs, and that’s really good. We all have our own ways… hike your own hike.

    Like

  3. I think the pre organizing / planning / shipping schedule etc would be what i would dread most by far vs actual hiking adventure. You are very organized and well planned so well on road to success.
    Remember to try and fail is not failure. To not try is failure. Go for it and do it. Be smart about it which i have no doubt you will. I look forward to your pictures and posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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