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comment by WanderingEng
WanderingEng  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: [Trip Report] PCT Washington Section Hike

How many miles do you have done, then? Section hiking the whole thing over years is a cool achievement. I have about 170 miles of the Ice Age Trail's 1100 miles done, a few miles at a time.

Tomorrow I'm heading out for one or two nights of backpacking, and being alone in my head is a concern for me, too. Once I get to my campsite, I know it'll be a bit of a struggle. I should be set up by 6:00, and then what? I loaded a phone with movies and TV shows, and I have a book. Those hours of idle twilight are tough.

For a stove, I have an Esbit. It's pretty minimalist. This week I'm going even more minimalist and seeing how I do on only cold food: Mountain House granola for breakfast, a Pro Bar and summer sausage for lunch, and the same for dinner. I have dried fruit and gummi bears for snacks.

It's possible my trip will be two nights, and I always take some extra food just in case. I have 10,000 calories packed, and it's probably massive overkill. I'm figuring 3000 calories per day and planning for three full days (even when I might be done in as little as 28 hours).

How much hiking did you do before this? You seemed well prepared; I suspect you hike a fair bit?




violinist  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've done somewhere between 505 and 510 miles, depending on which source you believe (the sign at Cascade Locks says 507 miles to Canada, while the GPS track I used says it's 505 miles).

I actually strongly recommend staying in your head somewhat longer than is strictly comfortable. I found that my brain dredged up a number of things from the past for processing, which I think is pretty valuable. Time for the brain to work without external inputs is more and more rare in today's world, and backpacking is a rare opportunity to unplug. Really, for trips less than a week I probably would recommend even leaving behind podcasts and music, but just letting yourself disconnect.

I've thought about using Esbit or some other "minimalist stove" system like Alcohol or HEET. One downside to those systems specific to the PCT is that they are explicitly disallowed in firebans, which are quite common in all three states of the PCT. I have a BushBuddy wood burning stove which I considered bringing, but fire bans were a damper on that idea. I think I'm content with a canister stove for now, I can just get a lighter one than my JetBoil.

I've done quite a bit of hiking before, but this was my first backpacking trip over a week. I did a lot of hiking and camping in high school, and led a lot of trips as a leader in my college's outing club. So I've been pretty comfortable in the outdoors for a number of years. And yes, I try to hike a fair bit—every few weeks at least, preferably at least once a week during the summer.