It was an easy decision that was probably made before I was ever done with my shake-down hike. After all, isn’t that the purpose of a shake-down? To do it again.
Then and Now:
Things look and feel different this time. While I am still not set on completing a full thru-hike in one season (I don’t operate at that speed), I do see completing sections of it as they become possible. I am not gobbling up as much information as I can absorb this year on the group pages, but mostly sit back and enjoy watching the enthusiasm of newcomers and add my limited advice where I can. I am confident in my gear and changes I need to make. I look forward this trip to having some companionship along the way, at least for a part of it. We’ll figure that out as we go along. She is a lifelong friend and a hiking native, plus she knows how to dehydrate food. I don’t need 6 months to prepare this time, although; I have been busy GROWING MY TOENAILS BACK!! (almost there, haha).
I have to take my nutrition intake WAY more seriously this time. Although my sugar-bugs are under control, it does not mean that I can go nuts with candy bars and PopTarts (Oh good lord I love them) without paying the price. No Terra, your math was acutely wrong on how much sugar you could handle. *noted*. SO a lot of my effort will be spend focusing on complex carbs, fat, and protein. I look forward to the challenge and not feeling the unnatural energy crashes.
My gear changes, I think I mentioned before. I need a warmer sleeping bag, possible a quilt system. Still deciding. And I am going to go with a lightweight “boot” and break them in so hard they won’t know what hit them. Not much else to change except replace some consumables or items that look squished. I may get a puffy. May. Everyone else has one, and well…they are called puffies, how can I not need one? Oh yes, I will probably go ahead an buy a wind screen for my stove. I tried to make two different ones last year and they were pretty silly.
Resupplies will be interesting, because I have someone to help with drop-offs at certain points and can adjust according to what I really need. At least for most of the schlep. I know a bit more about my pace and needs so it will be a fun project to redesign the supplies. (read: I get a beer on zero days, even on the trail, woooo hooo!) Beers and bears and Besties. Oh my!
Communication was ok, because there is coverage for most of the route. But I would like to learn how to use my inReach a little bit better because I completely half-assed it and pinged my location only when I was at my Dad’s house. Not sure that was useful.
My route will be similar just because this year again I only have a few weeks. Good thing is I will be able to put more miles behind me and want to go as far north as I can before having to plant my flag for the next time. Oregon Section B (all) and Section C (as much as I can). Although I will do anything to avoid snow. I do want quite badly to do the Campo+ section, but am not interested in running with the large groups. Maybe that will be 2018, and I can do a SOBO from somewhere to Campo. Hmmm. Ponderous.
Real life continues to be an ever-changing creature. I suppose it is supposed to be. Quite a supposition. Regardless of what I’m doing, where I am, and all of the peripheral noise; I find comfort knowing the trails are always there and waiting. They do not carry the burdens of the world around them and welcome us home whenever we need to go.