Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail: Day 24
Unforeseen stop. There will be a separate post on food situation but for this post I wanted to give a little bit of background on our food resupply strategy. Some hikers chose to resupply by going into grocery stores that are located in nearby towns that we pass on the trail (which could vary from as small as a gas station, to huge supermarkets). The towns could be anywhere from a walking distance to having to hitchhike several miles away from the trail.
Others choose to mail themselves packages with food (a lot of thought, organization and preparation goes into this type of resupply as you have to think about what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the 5 +/- months that you are on the trail). This way you don’t have to waste time by figuring out town logistics, rely on sometimes non-hiker food friendly convenience stores and pay double the price for food in expensive towns. We decided to mainly rely on mailed packages with food and sometimes resupply in towns if we know there will be a good & affordable resupply options.
We have picked up our 7 day resupply package (meaning it has 7 days worth of food until our next resupply location) and did not plan to go into any towns for the next 7 days. For the first 2 weeks on the trail we have been averaging 15 miles per day, gradually building up our strength. On the 3rd week we felt like we were ready to bump up our mileage to 17-19 miles per day. My legs felt stronger and I was excited. Little did we know that upon picking up 7 days worth of food (weighting around 14lb per person) we would not have any water for the next 27 miles. That meant that we would have to carry over a day worth of drinking water and account for any meals that require water for preparation. Several of our hiker friends opted out for dry meals – aka snacks, in order to decrease amount of water they need to carry for the 27 mile stretch. So…on top of our 17lb base weight (that’s weight of our packs without any food & water), plus 14lb of food, we carried 12lb of water each. That’s a 43lb backpack – freaking heavy. On top of THAT, little did we know that in those 27 miles we would have to gain over 6,800 in elevation, which meant walking up, and up, and up, all day long. I have never seen my feet swell so much. It looked like my pinkie toe was getting ready to birth itself from the narrow side of my shoe. Every single one of my squished toes had a blister. My ankles became cankles.
A bunch of our friends were going to take a day zero in Wrightwood and had reserved a cabin. They had space for 2 more and we were able to join. In our group we had another couple from Canada, JeSlan (Georgio) and Liz (Dirt Squirrel). “6” and Matthew (Chilly Cheese Dog). Upon arriving to the cabin, Liz and I immediately made a dinner grocery list and ended up with a vegetable & shrimp stir fry fajitas. We made so much food that we had enough left overs to feed everyone for breakfast the next morning. It was so relaxing to be in a little cozy cabin, next to a fire, telling stories and laughing with our little hiker family.