I do feel pretty confident on starting the Pacific Crest Trail, mostly because I am doing smaller trails beforehand to dial in my gear as well as my physical and mental conditioning. But I can promise you, a bone head mistake will most likely happen somewhere along the way. Completing two of the three Triple Crown trails wasn’t perfect. There were quite a few challenges along the way. To more experienced hikers these will seem pretty hilarious, but I was a noob at one point. I guess the best way to learn is to fail, sometimes miserably.
Packing Too Much
It is almost a rite of passage to pack too much for your first trip. Yeah, I was more concerned about having gear and not looking into what thru hikers use. Tent – check, sleeping bag – check, etc. I started the AT with a full military GEN III sleeping system that weighed 9.5lbs. Yeah, I can laugh at myself now, but when a fellow hiker tossed me her bag one morning in Maine, I was beside myself. On the Arizona Trail, I weighed my pack at a motel to find it at 50 lbs. Needless to say, by the time I hit the CDT that year, it weighed significantly less.
Yup, I am that guy. So, what happens when you get out on trail and find a place to camp, then look at your tent and go hmmmm. How does this go together? It took three of us over an hour to figure out how to put up my tent, using the trekking poles as my tent poles. I was so embarrassed afterwards; I did not ask anyone how to light my stove! 🤫 So all I had was granola for dinner, then breakfast, and lunch the following day, before I figured out how to light a simple pocket rocket. The 100-mile wilderness section could have been so much worse.
Scrolling through pictures of previous hikes I find a lot of them are of amazing views, landscapes and wildlife. I can remember so many times when the weather was just miserable. Hiking the AT during winter sucked. Even today I really despise cold weather. My worst section of the CDT was going through the …….