Preparing for the Pacific Crest Trail: 2,650 Miles of West Coast Bliss

As the cold Winter days have begun to merge into the rainy, wet, unpredictable season here in Ohio, I find myself once again in another familiar place; getting ready to leave the Midwest and head elsewhere in search of adventure. For the last two years, this year being the third, I've pursued some sort of long distance hike as Spring has rolled around. The Appalachian Trail was the first monumental risk for me. I had truly no idea what I was getting myself into, but 2,189 miles later, I found myself on top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine after walking there from Georgia. That year, 2016, ended with nothing but a mind full of plans. I wasn't done. I had so much more to see.

Last year started off with endless hours at work, slaving away to put funds in the bank account for the next big undertaking. June eventually made it's way onto the calendar and all of a sudden it was my last day at work. The ensuing months led me on a cross country road trip, to the start of the CDT in Glacier, all the way into Colorado, and eventually onward to the Long Trail in Vermont. The year didn't go exactly as planned, but with a little adaptation and willingness to stray from my plan, it ended up being one for the books. I couldn't have been more stoked on how the year ended, even if it didn't go as I had originally hoped.

I came back to Ohio at the end of October of last year, and since then I've been in Columbus; writing, taking photos, and working on getting my photography business off the ground so I have something to come back to after this year of traveling. I've been staying busy writing blogs, (like this one), editing photos from a variety of different shoots, and planning my PCT hike; which probably is why you're here right now. Between all of the gear changes I've made to my kit, the camera changes, and just overall the logistics of this year, I've been swamped, and with a little less than two weeks until I start the PCT, I'm getting to that point of nervousness again. Not so much anxiousness, but the anticipation is beginning to get to me. I wake up and my mind is filled with daydreams of hiking along a trail, in the elements, with nothing but my backpack on. I go throughout the day generally zoned out in my own thoughts, seemingly just killing time. That's how it's been recently and probably will be until I leave.

Although I don't start the PCT for another 2 weeks or so, I'm headed out to Colorado this coming weekend to get in a few days of climbing before I start hiking. This off season I filled a lot of my time with rock climbing. The community is all too similar to the hiking community, which makes for great friends and even better adventures here in the Midwest in the offseason. 

I want to get into some of what I'm doing/did to prep for the PCT, as well as some of the changes I've made to my kit specifically for this trail, so lets take a look at some of that.

What I've Done So Far:

  1. Acquired permit for 4/22.
  2. Thought about hiking everyday.
  3. Ate my weight in pierogis and tacos.
  4. Thats about it.

Seriously though. I haven't done much this off season to really 'prep' for another long trail hike. I've done this before, so I'm confident that both physically and mentally I am capable, but really I should have been doing something right? Whether it be planning resupplies, looking at town stops, or SOMETHING, I should have really put more effort into prepping this year. 

I didn't, though. 

You're probably wondering why, right? Well, I don't really have a good answer for you. I've been consumed with other things, and to be honest, I haven't really been that motivated to plan. I've been more motivated to create, rather than anything else. Most of my spare time has been spent creating content, making money, and getting my business started. Although I feel like most adventures of this magnitude warrant SOME planning, but I found that my time was better spent getting things taken care of back home rather than plan for something that I know is going to be ever-changing. 

So while I haven't done what most of you probably have as far as the planning side goes, I have been refining my gear list and making changes as my needs change for what I'll be carrying this year along the PCT, and the remainder of the miles I have left on the CDT. I've swapped out some comfort for some extra camera gear, and I've made some changes to my big 4, but for the most part, my gear list has stayed the same minus the camera equipment. (which I'll get into here in a second). So I guess you can say that I have planned a little bit, but nothing like some of you guys out there, I imagine. 

With the lack of sunlight, the cold weather, and the bitter winds here in Ohio, It's been hard to get out of the seasonal depression that takes hold during the winter months. I've kept my sanity by thinking about the PCT, and by that only. If I wasn't leaving this Spring to go thru hike, I'm not sure I'd be mentally ready to face the beckoning of society. I've come to appreciate this time of year much more since beginning to hike. It's funny how such a mindless act of walking long distances can bring such change to a persons life. 

So the meticulous planning of some of you didn't rub off on me, obviously, but what have I ACTUALLY done so far? Most of what I have done is in regards to my camera equipment and set up. I've recently made the switch from a APSC sized sensor to a Full Frame sensor, which for a number of reasons, will better suit what I plan to do this year on the PCT. I've picked up a few new lenses which will give me newfound perspectives on the trail, as well as picked up a Microphone which I'll be using for my videos. (WHICH IF YOU HAVEN'T, please check out my YouTube, I've been doing interviews with thru hikers and will continue to do so). 

This post is essentially just to let you know that I WILL be blogging my trip primarily this year. I'll be posting videos as often as one possibly can on the PCT, but this will be my primary way of communicating updates. I'll post a new gear VIDEO and BLOG post at the same time sometime next week, as well as a camera focused VIDEO and BLOG as well. 

 

I wrote the above words a few weeks ago, and as I write this, I’m on my way to Campo to begin my attempt at a PCT thru hike.  

 

Here’s a video I made. See ya soon.