This year I plan on taking in half of the remaining trail, finishing it up next year. Last year, while hiking from Campo to Big Bear, I skipped the section around Idyllwild because of a trail closure, hoping it would be open back up this year. But it is not, so I will start at Paradise Valley Cafe and take the trail, and alternates, to Idyllwild and then on to I-10. From there I will jump north to Big Bear City, where I ended last year, and proceed on up to Kennedy Meadows. Then in August I'll get back on the trail in Washington and trek from Chinook Pass to Trout Lake, cutting the remaining portion of Washington in half.
All the food is packed and the gear is laid out. Just waiting for a last calendar event to go by and then we load the car and head out. I am more than ready to set out, and looking forward to being back on the trail. Last year at this time I was apprehensive about hiking through the 'dessert' of Southern California. I am a mossyback from the wetlands and feared that I would dry out. But I did not find it that much dryer than much of Oregon and Northern California. And it had its own beauty that was unlike the rainforests that I typically hike in.
The gear is mostly the same this year as last. The two biggest differences involve swapping my SPOT for an inReach and replacing the Sawyer mini squeeze with a Sawyer water bottle with filter. The switch to the inReach is mostly because it allows me to receive messages so I have some assurance that my wife is OK as she wanders around Southern California by herself. Last year I found the mini squeeze to be a bit tedious and slow. I found that the Sawyer water bottle, while heavier, has a big enough filter that it is not too challenging to drink from, and the filter can be attached to a squeeze bag if needed. While I am taking the same ZPacks Hexamid that I used last year, I do plan on cowboy camping more often. I enjoyed sleeping under the stars the few times I tried it last year, and plan on making that the default this year rather than the exception, assuming the weather and bugs cooperate.
I will be checking in every night again this year, although the inReach makes that a bit more challenging than the SPOT did. I will send something to Sue and she will in turn post it to a Facebook page that I have created for my backpacking trips. If you are interested in following along you can check there occasionally to see where I am and how the trip has gone so far.
I am looking forward to the relative solitude of the trail, an escape from 'civilization', and, mostly, the opportunity to spend time along with my creator, marveling at his handiwork and getting to know him better.
1 Pacific Crest Trail
2 Multi-Year Thru Hiker