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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.
Solitude is great, and for a weekend, I'm all in favor of just enjoying the solitude. But yeah, after a week it gets old.
The permit is not technically necessary. You can hike the trail by obtaining a permit from each of the wilderness areas and permit-required areas that the trail passes through. The free permit just makes it simpler by not having to apply for a separate permit for each jurisdiction.
This is incredible. It is hard to know how to recommend it to people though, because knowing anything about it makes it less effective. I think I settled on just saying, “ you should read this, I won’t spoil anything for you.”
- I started using Instapaper and/or Pocket to send #goodlongreads to my Kindle because I knew I didn't stand a hope's chance of reading them at my Desktop.
I had this set up at some point in the past, and I should set it up again. It was a pretty good system.
I bought a Kindle 3rd generation forever ago (the one with the keyboard). I got the 3G model, which had free internet all over the world through the experimental web browser, with no contract. I got some good use out of the kindle sometimes when it was the only internet I had. (This was before I had a smartphone.)
I broke it a few times. The first time I dropped a belt directly on the screen, cracking the screen. Amazon replaced it for free! A while later it was in my backpack and got the screen crushed amidst the heavy textbooks. This time they replaced it with a Kindle Paperwhite, which I’ve had ever since. I’m pretty sure their reasoning was to remove the 3G web browser.
I used to do quite a bit of reading on it, but I’ve found myself reading less and less on my Kindle. I think my attention to reading is less constant with a device with a screen than it is a physical book. It’s not nearly as bad as trying to read something long form on my computer or an iPad - that’s pretty much hopeless. I think it’s because my brain knows that there is so much other content immediately available, so I have a harder time concentrating deeply on what I’m reading.
I'm a bit late to the conversation it'd seem.
I still have plans to write up a trip report of my experience on the PCT Washington section (about 500 miles, hiked in just over 3 weeks). Being back in civilization has been weird—having regular and easy access to the internet has made time wasting a lot easier, plus I have a lot more productive things I want to be doing, which my brain isn't used to.
I bought a Nintendo 64 since getting back home. At the moment I just have 4 games for it: Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time; Super Mario 64; Super Smash Bros; and MarioKart. Having never played Ocarina of Time before, I can see why it's so highly regarded. I played Zelda Twilight Princess on the Wii a few years ago, and even though Ocarina of Time has vastly inferior graphics, I still like it better than Twilight Princess. I didn't have a Nintendo 64 growing up, but my cousins did and we'd play whenever we visited, so it is nonetheless a very nostalgic experience for me. I've been spending a fair amount of time playing Ocarina of Time. I plan to finish the game before starting Super Mario 64.
There's still some more adjusting to do to fully be back in "civilization mode". I haven't fully unpacked and cleaned my gear from my backpacking, so it's making my room fairly dirty. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to a) finish cleaning and putting away my gear, b) categorize and make photo albums of my trip, and c) post a trip report to Hubski. I'll get there eventually—perhaps tomorrow is that eventuality.
Good on you, that trip looks like both a lot of fun and pretty exhausting! A few questions- Hubski regulars may already know some of the answers, so forgive me if I ask things you’ve already answered somewhere else.
How many miles of “rucking” did you do most days? How big was the group? When you didn’t build a hooch, did you sleep in a bivy, in a sleeping bag, or just out in the open? How many in your group?
And a couple of general questions. What are you studying at Westpoint? Is it a general study track for becoming an officer, or something specific like pre-medic or engineering? Pardon my ignorance, I don’t really know how it works there.
And good for you being finished with the trip - sounds like it’s a relief to be back in the front country.
If you’re looking for a lightweight 1 person tent, I highly recommend the TarpTent Notch. I used it on my section hike of the PCT Washington section (traveling home from that right now), and it was fantastic. Full trip report to follow once I get home, sort through pictures, and have an actual computer keyboard to type on.
I can now see the post button. Thank you, that seems to have done the trick! I won’t get to it tonight, but I’ll write up the promised trip report once I get back home.