Was it just a walk in the woods?

Did I learn something like what Walden or Thoreau would say? Nothing that they couldn't say better. Was it a rucksack revolution as Kerouac called for? I suppose it was a start. Did I find myself like Cheryl Strayed? No, but that's her story. 

I know it was an adventure and it was far more than just a walk in the woods—but I don't know how to summarize it. 

The truth is I had many conversations with myself. Well, none out loud - I think that would've been a sign of going crazy. But the mind does wander. Below is a collection of photographs and thoughts.  

I should've come up with a great epiphany. 
But, I didn't think that deep.

 

It's not the most ultra-light list you've ever seen — but it is mighty nice. 

 

Gear Goal

I wanted light, but was equally concerned with getting a good deal (read: this trip was the perfect rationalization for outrageous gear investments). I live and work in a town with virtually unlimited access to industry discounts and insider sales — some say it’s the Silicon Valley of technical outerwear, and I can’t argue with that. I’ve nerded out on gear this last year and these are the pieces in my pack that made the cut.

Tl;dr: Wool, feathers, Gore-Tex.

"The Big Three"

BAG, TENT, BAG & PAD  –  126.5oz7.4lbs

Bag Buttermilks 55 Medium

Bag
Buttermilks 55 Medium

Tent Mountain Hardware SuperMega UL 1

Tent
Mountain Hardware SuperMega UL 1

Sleeping Bag Western Mountaineering VersaLite 10°

Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering VersaLite 10°

Sleeping Pad ExPed SynMat UL

Sleeping Pad
ExPed SynMat UL


The more you know, the less you need.
— Yvon Chouinard

Water, Hygiene, Toiletries & First Aid

  • Water Treatment - Aquamira  

  • Dromedary - MSR 3L (2x) 

  • Repair Kit - Ducktape, Sewing kit (floss & heavy duty needle), Air Mattress Repair Kit

  • Vanity - Nail clippers, Travel Deodorant

  • Toothpaste & Brush - Mini Travel size + Sonicare Head

  • Foot Care - Leukotape, Moleskin

  • Pack Towel - Cut piece of super absorbent shammy 

  • Toilet Paper - 1/2 Role In Ziplock + Packout Bag + Wet Wipes (2 per day)

  • Poop Shovel - Plastic Trowel

  • Hand Sanitizer - Alcohol based

  • Insect Repellent - Bens Spray

  • Sun Screen - SPF 30 - Repackaged

  • Bag - Toiletry Stuff Sac

  • Glasses Case - Light Leather Case


Clothes

Worn

eng_pl_Neckwarmer-Wool-Buff-VERDON-1356_2.jpg
  • Hiking Shirt - Outdoor Research - Wayward Sentinel Shirt
  • Hiking Shorts - Outdoor Research - Mens Equinox Shorts
  • Hat - Big Foot Country
  • Neck - Amazing Everything-in-One neckerchief, bandana, baklava, hat, headband, skull cap, scarf, safari cap 100% Merino Wool
  • Socks - Icebreaker Men's Multisport UL Micro Socks (3x) 55% Merino / 43% Nylon / 2% LYCRA®
  • Glasses - Warby Parker Prescription Lenses, Ames Frame Polarized 

Packed  –  57.8oz  4.4lbs

Thermal Layer

Long Underwear - Top Icebreaker Tech top Longsleeve with hood 100% merino wool 220 weight

Long Underwear - Top
Icebreaker Tech top Longsleeve with hood
100% merino wool 220 weight

Long Underwear - Bottom Icebreaker - Oasis Leggings w/Fly 100% merino wool - 220 weight

Long Underwear - Bottom
Icebreaker - Oasis Leggings w/Fly
100% merino wool - 220 weight

Insulating Layer

Puffy
Patagonia Nano Puff w/ Hood
Primaloft

Wind Layer
Men's Ghost Whisperer™ Hooded Jacket

Rain Layer

Rain Jacket
Arc’teryx Alpha FL Jacket Men’s
Gor-tex Pro

Rain Pants Mountain Hardware - Plasmic Pants Dry.Q EVAP™ 40D 2.5L  100% nylon

Rain Pants
Mountain Hardware - Plasmic Pants
Dry.Q EVAP™ 40D 2.5L  100% nylon


Electronics and Miscellaneous 

  • Phone - iPhone, Charger Cord (cool wrapped one), Wall Plug
  • Camera - GoPro with housing

  • SPOT - SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger  Line power with a 5v USB connection.

  • Battery Pack - Satechi 10000 MaH Premium Aluminum Energy Station

  • Headlamp - Petzl  - Look into USB Rechargable Batteries
  • Compass - Small Metal Keychain sized vintage compass
  • aps - HalfMiles - Printed Maps
  • Notebook / Pen - Notebook / Zebra 201-F

  • Headphones - Apple Earbuds

2,650 Miles from the Mexican border into Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.

 

The sheer size of the journey I’m on won’t just be measured in miles traveled, but in the many, many days spent plotting and planning before my boots — or more accurately, gently broken-in Nike Zoom Wildhorses — even hit the trail. 


About the Plan

Mileage
I began to wrap my head around the enormity of the task I’m undertaking with Craig’s PCT Planner, an awesome tool that made stitching the journey together more or less manageable. A day’s mileage is measured at a leisurely sixteen-and-a-half miles per day, but I’m sure I’ll have longer and shorter days along the way.

 

Mail Drops & Resupply Spots
Mail drop and re-supply locations came courtesy of Yogi’s PCT Handbook, one great little guide with the combined wisdom of quite a few prior thru-hikers — most importantly, simple town maps that I plan to follow right to the beer and burgers.

 

Only time will tell, but I tried to strike a good balance: planning enough to reassure myself I could do this thing, but not so much that my trip up the PCT would be free of surprises. I’ve left myself a little leeway, and the freedom to let things happen as they will.


0

US/Mexico Border 
to Mt. Laguna                               

42.3 mi   2.6 days

Hit the Trail April 6th, 2014

Southern Terminus - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywhere

Southern Terminus - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywhere


42.6

Mt. Laguna
to Warner Springs  

67.3 mi   3.7 days   

Mail Drop - Laguna Mountain Lodge 
Ian Crombie
c/o Laguna Mountain Lodge
10678 Sunrise Hwy
P.O. Box 146
Mt. Laguna, Ca 91948
($5 dollar fee)

Resupply:
Small Grocery Store 9-5

 


109.5

Warner Springs
to Idyllwild

69.9 mi   4.4 days

Mail Drop - Post Office: 
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Warner Springs, CA 92086

 


179.4

Idyllwild
to Big Bear City

95.5 mi   5.9 days

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Idyllwild, CA 92549

Resupply:
Village Market or Fairwayfoods

Sleeping:
Idyllwild Inn
888-659-2552
idyllwildinn.com

Wind Turbines - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Wind Turbines - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

275.0

Big Bear City 
to Wrightwood

89.5 mi   5.4 days   

Mail Drop - Big Bear Hostel:
Ian Crombie
c/o Big Bear Hostel
PO Box 1951
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315-1951

Resupply:
Big Bear City Grocery
Big Bear Lake Supermarkets

Sleeping:
Big Bear Hostel in Big Bear Lake
909-866-8900 

Free ride to and from trail(HWY 18)


363.5

Wrightwood
to Agua Dulce 

90.8 mi   5.5 days   

Mail Drop - Mountain Hardware:
Ian Crombie
c/o Mountain Hardware
P.O Box 398
Wrightwood, CA 92397

Resupply:
Jensen’s Finest Foods

Joshua Tree - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Joshua Tree - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

454.5

Agua Dulce
to Mojave 

103.9 mi   6.3 days   

Mail Drop - The Saufleys:
Ian Crombie
c/o The Saufleys
11861 Darling Road
Agua Dulce, CA 91390

Resupply:
Sweetwater Farms (Large Grocer)


558.5

Mojave
to Kennedy Meadows 

144.5 mi   8.5 days   

Mail Drop - Motel 6:
Ian Crombie
c/o Motel 6
SR 58 / Sierra Highway @ SR 14
Mojave, CA 93501

Resupply:
Vons Supermarket

Kennedy Meadows Sign  - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Kennedy Meadows Sign  - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

702.2

Kennedy Meadows Store to Independence

67.3 mi   3.7 days   

Mail Drop - General Store:
Ian Crombie
c/o Kennedy Meadows General Store
96740 Beach Meadow Road.
Inyokern, CA 93527

USE PRIORITY MAIL


788.9

Independence
to Vermillion Valley Resort

132.4 mi   7.0 days  

Mail Drop:
Chevron accepts packages
Ian Crombie
c/o Chevron
PO Box 403
Independence, CA 93526

Resupply:
Good resupply at the Chevron

Lodging:
Maybe Stay In Courthouse Motel
760-878-2732
courthousemotel.com


878.8

Vermillion Valley Resort
to Tuolumne Meadows

65.5 mi   4.1 days  

Mail Drop - Vermillion Vallery Resort:
Ian Crombie
Vermillion Valley Resort
c/o Rancheria Garage
62311 Huntington Lake Road
Lakeshore, CA 93634

$20 Dollar fee, 25lb weight limit, Must have name and ETA on all four sides of the package.  

UPS Only

Switchbacks - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Switchbacks - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

942.5

Tuolumne Meadows 
to Echo Lake Resort
 

151.8 mi   9.5 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Tuolumne Meadows
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Resupply:
Tuolumne Store 


1094.5

Echo Lake Resort
to Sierra City

103.1 mi   6.2 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Echo Lake, CA 95721

Resupply:
Chalet Grocery (Large C-Store)


14,000 Feet - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

14,000 Feet - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

1197.5

Sierra City
to Belden

91.6 mi   5.6 days  

Mail Drop - Bill and Margeret Price:
Ian Crombie
c/o Red Moose Inn
PO Box 384
Sierra City, CA 96125

Resupply:
Sierra City Country Store


1289.5

Belden
to Old Station
 

88.5 mi   5.4 days  

Mail Drop -The Braatens of Little Haven
Ian Crombie
c/o The Braatens at Little Haven
15913 Highway 70
Belden, CA 95915

UPS or FedEx only


1377.8

Old Station
to Burney Falls SP
 

45.9 mi   2.4 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Old Station, CA 96071


1423.5

Burney Falls State Park to Castella 

82.9 mi   4.9 days  

Mail Drop - Camp Store:
Ian Crombie
c/o Burney Park Camp Store
McArthur Burney Falls State Park
24900 State Highway 89
Burney, CA 96013

$5 a box

Label Box Uniquely 


1506.5

Castella
to Etna 

155.6 mi   6.0 days  

Mail Drop - Camp Store
Ian Crombie
c/o Ammiratis Market
20107 Castle Creek Road
Castella, CA 96017

UPS


1606.56

Etna 
to Seiad Valley
 

55.8 mi   3.2 days  

Mail Drop - Alderbrook Manor:
Ian Crombie
c/o Alderbrook Manor
836 Sawyers Bar Road
Etna, CA 96027

Resupply:
Large Grocery Story - Rays Food Place


1662.0

Seiad Valley
to Ashland
 

64.5 mi   4.2 days  

Mail Drop - Mid River RV Park
Ian Crombie
c/o Mid River RV Park
44701 Hwy 96
Seiad Valley, CA 96986

UPS - 5$ a Box

State Border Sign - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

State Border Sign - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere


1726.8

Ashland
to Crater Lake (Mazama Village)

103.8 mi   6.1 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Ashland, OR 97520

Resupply:
Safeway, Albertsons


1829.3

Crater Lake
to Shelter Cove  

81.8 mi   4.7 days  

Mail Drop - Camp Store
Ian Crombie
c/o Crater Lake Camp Store
Mazama Village
Crater Lake, OR 97604

Crater Lake - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Crater Lake - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

1912.3

Shelter Cove Resort
to Big Lake Youth Camp
 

83.5 mi   4.4 days  

Mail Drop - Shelter Cove Resort:
Ian Crombie
c/o Shelter Cove Resort
27600 West Odell Lake Road
Highway 58
Crescent, OR 97733

Please Hold / My Name

UPS only


2001.3

Big Lake Youth Camp
to Timberline Lodge
 

93.4 mi   6.0 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office
Ian Crombie
c/o Big Lake Youth Camp
13100 Highway 20
Sisters, OR 97759 

Please Hold / My Name

UPS only


2107.3

Timberline Lodge
to Cascade Locks 
 

47.8 mi   2.8 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
c/o Timberline Ski Area
WY’East Store
Timberline Lodge, OR 97028


2155.0

Cascade Locks
to White Pass

147.7 mi   8.7 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Cascade Locks, OR 97014

Bridge of the Gods - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Bridge of the Gods - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

2303.0

White Pass
to Snoqualmie Pass
 

99.0 mi   5.8 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office
Ian Crombie
White Pass Rural Branch P.O.
at the Kracker Barrel Store
48851 US Hwy 12
Naches, WA 98937 

USPS
Please hold for 'Your Name'


2402.0

Snoqualmie Pass
to Skykomish
 

74.5 mi   5.0 days  

Mail Drop - The Summit Inn
Ian Crombie
c/o Summit Inn
603 State Route 906
Snoqualmie Pass WA 98068 

USPS


2476.0

Skykomish
to Stehekin 
 

174.0 mi   6.5 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Skykomish, WA 98288

Dutch Miller Gap - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

Dutch Miller Gap - Courtesy of HalfwayAnywere

2668.8

Stehekin
to Manning Park
 

192.8 mi   5.7 days  

Mail Drop - Post Office:
Ian Crombie
General Delivery
Stehekin, WA 98852