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Topic: PCT Lessons< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 4:17 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I got back this past Saturday from a week on the PCT.  Actually part of the week was spent in Stehekin WA waiting out the rain.  But anyway ... while out on the trail and in Stehekin I got the opportunity to talk with and see in action many different styles and strategies about gear, hiking, and food.  In other words, I was exposed to a lot of different approaches to backpacking.  I learned some new things and saw in practice things I had only read about in threads, blogs, and articles.  This exposure has helped me realize how I might change some of the things I do.  

Getting out on the PCT, especially during the time when section and through hikers are on the trail is a very good educational experience.  Yea, it means less solitude and talking with strangers, but it is an eye opening experience if one is open.  Each time I have hiked a PCT section, I have seen new stuff which has intrigued me.  Some I have rejected out of hand, not so much because it was a bad idea, but because it didn't suit me (or sometimes my budget).  Some I have tried and then either modified or rejected.  A week on the PCT is worth two years of reading these forums.  YMMV  

And it doesn't just apply to the PCT, but undoiubtedly to the AT and CDT as well.  It also applies to other long trails like the West Coast Trail, the Olympic Coast Trail, etc.  I think the reason I have learned so much from the PCT is that many people utilizing great innovations are traveling there.

So if you are of a mind to learn something new/different then schedule a week or two on the PCT.  If you are a beginner or a long time hiker/backpacker willing to learn something new/different, the PCT is a great experience.  Besides that, the hiking is superb.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 4:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Glad you had a good trip--hope the rain didn't wreck things too much. I can think of many far worse places to be "stuck" than Stehekin.

Did you get a chance to do any side trips?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 4:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hoosierdaddy's shin was bothering him so we didn't try any side trips.  The brush was bad and combined with the rain we got soaked on the lower legs and shoes.  But we really did have a great time, just fantastic hiking days.  And yea, Stehekin is nice too.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 4:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So...what were some of the things you were exposed to that intrigued you?

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 5:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There was a guy who went stoveless.  He used a small penutbutter jar to rehydrate his meals and didn't heat anything up.  He dehydrated parmesan cheese to add to lots of stuff for the protein and fat.  He carried a stick of salami which he could eat on for four days.

Another guy made his own tent and backpack from Cuben fiber material.  No hip belt on his pack and he could carry 25 pounds with it.  He used a type of open cell foam in the shoulder straps instead of closed cell foam.

Another guy carried a stack of sliced cheese and meat and made sandwiches for lunch for three days.  I guess technically they were wraps because he used tortillas.  He also carried two slices of pizza for the first two days.  Though technically this is flirting with getting sick, he did just fine.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 5:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When some dude or dudette zooms past you with a small light pack, one begins to be a bit inqusitve about how to change one's whole setup.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 5:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So like, on a trip with old HD, a few years back, going from Timberline to the Columbia River, I met a man section hiking most of Oregon. He was an agreeable sort of chap and I found I spent all day walking with him. He was a wanker to the extreme though. And ate a steady diet of ramen noodles he would crunch up in his empty PB container.

Stove less is OK...but it gets boring after awhile. Although in summer it is pretty easy.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 6:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Sep. 03 2013, 5:41 pm)
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When some dude or dudette zooms past you with a small light pack, one begins to be a bit inqusitve about how to change one's whole setup.

I'd ambush them younguns and steal some of their ligaments if I could hear 'em comin'...
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I had to google Stehekin. Of course I knew it would be a beautiful place just because of it's location  :)

In Washington, what's a trip without rain? Especially in the Northern Cascades. Sounds like worked out regardless. Glad you had fun.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 8:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hoosierdaddy's PCT lessons learned:

Rain.

The distance to a campsite remains constant as twilight approaches.

The sun sets three-and-a-half times faster than normal when you're trying to set up camp.

The area of level ground tends to vanish as the need to make camp becomes finite.

When nature calls at 2AM, it is much less problematic to take care of business when you're tarping, than when tenting.

Be REALLY sure which direction the non-level site is sloped at 2AM.

PolyCryo ground sheets do a great job of protecting your sleeping bag from ground moisture!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 9:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good stuff. I would have liked to see the DIY cuben.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 10:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(reubenstump @ Sep. 03 2013, 6:10 pm)
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(RumiDude @ Sep. 03 2013, 5:41 pm)
QUOTE
When some dude or dudette zooms past you with a small light pack, one begins to be a bit inqusitve about how to change one's whole setup.

I'd ambush them younguns and steal some of their ligaments if I could hear 'em comin'...

That's where hiking poles come in handy.

You trip 'em when they try to pass.

Experience and treachery trump youth and enthusiasm every time.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 10:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, Rumi!  Did you run into my old friends Trapper and Roxanne when you were hanging around Stehekin?  That's a cool place.  And when I think about the pack I carried through that section back in 1990. . . Ouch.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 10:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This OpEd from the NYT isn't about PCT lessons but it is a good read.  Give it a shot and see if you agree.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 10:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Been doing stove less trips for years, even on spring ski trips. Many advantages, minor disadvantages.

The little peanut butter jar sounds great, I've been rehydrating in zip locks baggies.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 10:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"Ground Moisture". Is that what the kids call pee these days? LOL!! :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 11:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eric H @ Sep. 03 2013, 7:54 pm)
QUOTE
Been doing stove less trips for years, even on spring ski trips. Many advantages, minor disadvantages.

The little peanut butter jar sounds great, I've been rehydrating in zip locks baggies.

The guy told me it was kinda hard to let go of the hot meal, psychologically.  He also said it took a bit of adjustment to eat cold meals but the food hydrated just fine.  He carries a lot of stuff in bulk and then makes up his meals as hee goes.  He carries couscous, sheese, salami, rice, vegies, etc, along with herbs and spices.  Then he makes meals according to how he feels.  He doesn't drink coffee or cocoa so doesn't miss the stove in that respect. He said it simplified things as he did not have the fussing with cooking to do. 

I am not sure I want to try going stoveless because I like my coffee and hot cocoa and manytimes at the end of a hard day, a hot meal is a real pick-me-up.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 11:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If it weren't for the thought of hot coffee and a hot breakfast I'd never get out of the sleeping bag on a cold morning.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 11:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TDale @ Sep. 04 2013, 8:21 am)
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If it weren't for the thought of hot coffee and a hot breakfast I'd never get out of the sleeping bag on a cold morning.

This.

On the other hand, we do flash overnights in the desert with no stove.  Hike after dinner, eat a breakfast of cold cereal (usually with a box of shelf-stable milk) and I have a can of iced coffee.  It works out, because we have to carry all our water anyway, so having liquid milk and coffee doesn't matter.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 11:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ Sep. 04 2013, 8:27 am)
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(TDale @ Sep. 04 2013, 8:21 am)
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If it weren't for the thought of hot coffee and a hot breakfast I'd never get out of the sleeping bag on a cold morning.

This.

Well, while on this trip, I did have hot coffee each morning, but I ate a cold breakfast.  I have come to believe different types of trips call for different strategies and that especially applies to breakfast.  Section hiking or thru-hiking reguires one get up and get going.  A hot breakfast kinda gets in the way so that situation calls for a cold breakfast.  

Whe Ldyblade and I are doing relatively short distances each day, a nice breakfast of biscuits with sausage gravy and/or potatoes w/onions and peppers is really a psychological starter.  Sometimes we even have a hot lunch.  Base camping doing day hikes is similar.

Anyway, when on the PCT, one gets exposed to so much new/old/different ways of doing things.  I kinda liken the PCT to the R&D department of Backpacking, just like racing is to auto makers.  And getting to see it first hand, talking with others, sharing ideas, asking questions, etc. allows one to visualize how one's own setup might be adjusted.  Love it!

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I can't remember the last time I used a stove.  I've rehydrated rice and instant potoatoes and gravey in cold water, during the day while hiking.  It works just fine if you don't mind eating cold rice and potatoes, which I don't mind.  I've carried pizza, too, and it last for quite a while.

Glad you two had a good trip.  No boat trips on Lake Chelan?


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 3:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rumi,

The value we perceive in food, warm or not, is cultural and our taste buds can reprogram if motivated.

I first went stove less motivated by weight, wanted to do 3 night spring ski trips with a 20 lb. pack. (only with a stellar weather forecast)

Not for everyone but it works.

Dodging weather in Stehekin last week? I think I was a few miles north of you, playing dodge em with ugly hour long rain showers east of Hannegan Pass.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What kind of pizza for the trail? I'm thinking anything with veggies is going to get soggy. Meat-eaters Delight should fit the bill?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 4:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eric H @ Sep. 04 2013, 12:31 pm)
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Rumi,

The value we perceive in food, warm or not, is cultural and our taste buds can reprogram if motivated.

I first went stove less motivated by weight, wanted to do 3 night spring ski trips with a 20 lb. pack. (only with a stellar weather forecast)

Not for everyone but it works.

Dodging weather in Stehekin last week? I think I was a few miles north of you, playing dodge em with ugly hour long rain showers east of Hannegan Pass.

Oh I know a taste for cold food can be somewhat aquired.  I regularly eat cold pizza, pasta, casseroles, etc, almost always leftovers the next day.  It is all a mind game.  But one of the things I have tried hard to overcome was all the good for you but bland trail meals I ate on the trail (or on conoe trips, ski trips, etc) for many years.  My two boys griped loudly about the meals and I couldn't blame them.  Now I look forward to meals on the trail and some of that is due to a nice warm entre with a cup of coffee in the morning and cup of hot cocoa in the evening.  

Anyway, it is a careful balncing act, reducing weight but not becoming too Spartan, making things a real grind.  The guy I talked with had quality food.  But even with good quality foods, the temperature does actually change the taste of foods.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 7:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is another consideration, which is the benefit of hot food for cold people.  Obviously not an issue in benign conditions.  But I have definitely been in situations where a hot meal or a hot soup may have made a difference.  

I could probably adapt to cold food and no hot tea or coffee in the mornings.  I'm just not sure I would care to (given I don't expect to be hiking the PCT).

This summer we found that we could get through a hot breakfast and hit the trail about 75 minutes from the alarm going off.  Teamwork helped a lot.

ETA: my husband would happily hike a few miles before breakfast but I don't function without food.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 9:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"benefit of hot food for cold people". Yes, I hear ya. That said there are other ways than a stove/fire to being comfortable in cool weather camping -- and not ending up in a situation where you "need" hot food.

In general that means adjusting your behavior so you don't get chilled. Lots of nuance to that but it is possible and reasonable and I've seen numerous examples where it worked just fine in multi-day ski trips with lows in the 20's, highs 40 to 45.
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(hoosierdaddy @ Sep. 03 2013, 8:48 pm)
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The area of level ground tends to vanish as the need to make camp becomes finite.

This happens even faster when you have a 3-man tent  :;):

I do sing the praises of polycryo (AKA window insulation film; I recycle mine off our windows every spring).

Stoveless - not for me as we like warm meals in the evening, although we are routinely doing a cold breakfast on the last day now.  It helps us get out of camp faster, something we are NOT known for LOL

Although I will go stoveless on a single overnight, on occasion, just to simplify things a little bit.  I don't think I could go completely stoveless for more than that.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 2:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

At least you have an open enough mind to consider new ways and means. Personally, I'm not going stoveless anytime soon. I guess it's dependent upon what shape I'm in.

I've decided that when I can't backpack anymore, I'm going to start to do those catered rafting trips down rivers.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 4:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

DD- It won't be catered, but kayaking with Roger and I is cheaper than those rafting trips, even if you decide to buy your own kayak.  :)  Roger and I have enough to supply a small flotilla, so that wouldn't be necessary.

Winter time in Fl, kayaking among the gators.  It does sound interesting, right?  


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 6:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you need a break from Roger and Zeke, see my buddy John Ruskey.

If you're so inclined, he'll even let you help hollow out a canoe.  No charge.   :D
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