Now that my book is published, I’ve finally started getting ready for the CDT, which is awesome. Organizing and assembling 2,800 miles’ worth of resupply boxes feels like a peaceful vacation after the process of publishing a book. If you ever want a stressful thing to feel more relaxing, just do an even more stressful thing first. Ha! But also this is my third thru-hike, so at this point I’ve got the organizational aspect pretty figured out. I could sit on the floor portioning dried spinach into ziploc bags while listening to “atmospheric” spotify stations for days. Much relax. So soothe.
Fun things to share:
I wrote this piece for The Guardian about women and long-distance hiking- 2,660 miles across the wilderness
I’ve updated my gear a bit this year, for the CDT. Here are the things that are new/different-
Jeppak V2 Plus Pack– this is a sweet 22 ounce, 35ish liter framed pack. The straps are super padded, it has a roll-top closure, I can reach the water bottles in the side pockets, it’s well-constructed and aesthetically pleasing, the hipbelt pockets aren’t overbuilt- it’s everything I need and want in a pack. So far I’ve taken it on a weekend trip from Timberline Lodge to Cascade Locks, and it was so comfortable I kept forgetting I was wearing it. Total dream pack. Jeppaks are made in the USA, totally custom, and priced similarly to other cottage company packs. I can’t recommend them enough!
Deuce of spades trowel, .6 ounces– I am not proud of some of the cat holes I dug on the PCT last year. While I know it’s possible to create a quality cat hole with a rock, or a stick, or a trekking pole, I’ve learned that it’s much easier to have an actual trowel along so you can just dig the damn thing. This year on the CDT I’m on a mission- I am going to dig the best cat holes than anyone has ever dug, anywhere! It is my personal challenge- no matter how steep/rocky/compact the terrain, no matter how badly I have to take a shit, I am going to create the most incredible tidy holes in which to make my deposit. I invite you to take up this challenge for yourself as well, dear reader! The Perfect Cat Hole Challenge! There should be, like, a girlscout badge for this.
Stick pic with phone adapter, fisheye lens for my phone, 1.5 ounces- There are far fewer people on the CDT than the PCT, so it’s likely that I’ll be solo for more of it. I’ve been lookin’ at instagram, and people have these selfie-stick fisheye selfies from, like, the summit of Mount Hood at sunrise right before they snowboard down… I would like to recreate this effect while bushwhacking in the desert. So I got a stick pic with a phone adapter, which is a little doohickey that turns your trekking pole into a selfie stick for your phone, and I got an inexpensive fisheye lens. WATCH OUT, INSTAGRAM!
Patagonia nano-puff jacket, 11 ounces- on the CDT I carried a Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash Jacket, aka an ultralight down puffy. It was warm, but down is sketchy when it’s wet, and I don’t like hypothermia. So this year I’m bringing a synthetic puffy. The nano-puff is a few ounces heavier, but I think I’ll be glad to have it during those forty-degree rainstorms that happen in the desert in springtime and at high elevations in the summer.
Speaking of gear and other things that are nice, I found more excellent hiking blogs for you!
Also! Some folks who hiked the PCT last year are coming out with a documentary, called Do More With Less. Below is the trailer, if you haven’t seen it. People make great trail docs every year, but there’s something about this one that really stands out to me. It’s not full of hyperbole, and it’s not a montage of beard selfies (altho those are great). You can tell that the dudes who made it are super talented and put a huge amount of work into it, and it portrays, more accurately than any trail doc I’ve seen, the actual literal feel of a PCT thru-hike. The full documentary will be released (for free!) in early May, and you can follow the facebook page for updates here.