PCT Prep: Maps, Dried Vegetables, Gear, and More!

Okay, after writing my last PCT Prep post, I complained to everyone I love about how long it took me and how I’m anxious that my blogging style means I won’t be able to commit to updating regularly on trail. In an effort to get over myself and also to spare my patient loved ones from putting up with my silly blogging complaints, I’m trying out a different style for this post! Here’s some nitty gritty stuff I’ve been doing to prep for the trail, in short list form, without much chatter or ~intense thoughts~ behind it. Ready set go!

  • I’ve been trying to walk at least 6 miles a day, every day. I haven’t been able to stick to this 100%, but I’ve done a pretty good job of walking 4-6 miles almost every day for a few months now! This training scenario was Carrot‘s suggestion; she explained that while a hiker often gains muscle quickly, it can take our little human feet quite a while to catch up and get used to the constant pounding they take walking 10-12 hours a day. As such, hikers often get foot injuries early on because their muscles are telling them that they can go go go but their feet aren’t ready for the intensity. Walking around for at least 2 hours a day is a reasonable way to try to ease your feet into their upcoming routine. This makes sense to me, and is also a doable training routine for my extremely busy pre-hike schedule, so I’ve been doing it! My friends have been cute and have been joining me on walks, and I’ve been joking that basically agreeing to walk around town with me is the only way I can commit to social arrangements these days – it’s a “joke” but I’m actually pretty serious. So that’s been cute!
  • I bought some air-dried fruit and vegetables from North Bay Trading Company and they arrived in the mail on Tuesday! This was also at Carrot’s suggestion! (Can you tell that the majority of my thru-hiking knowledge comes from my dear friend Carrot Quinn? Bless you, Carrot, for putting up with my texts for forever, I am so grateful. By the way, have y’all bought Carrot’s incredible book about her 2013 PCT hike, Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart? No? Well I guess you should go do that right away, go ahead, it’s cool, I’ll wait.) I’m not sending myself a lot of resupply boxes but I thought it might be nice to receive dried kale and spinach and strawberries in the few boxes I am sending myself. And now I am in possession of such treasures!
  • I bought a Purple Rain hiking skirt, a Nike sports bra, and Superfit Hero spandex shorts. I’m just waiting on my REI dividend to come through so I can purchase the fancy sun shirt I’ve decided to set my heart on, but then I think my hiking outfit will be fairly complete! This is a big deal because as a fat girl, it’s hard to find athletic clothing that is cute, functional, and actually fits. I’ve got more to say about that and I will be reviewing some of these items in separate posts, but it feels exciting to have my apparel almost all dialed in and this is a nitty gritty post so I won’t say more for now. Just, yay! (God y’all, it is so fucking hard for me to be brief!)
  • I set up my fundraising page! More details about this ASAP, but it’s a big deal and took me a long time because I stressed a lot about how to word my description (asking people for money, even for an organization you believe strongly in, is hard!) so I’m really excited it’s done and can’t wait to share it with you guys very soon.
  • I found some potential subletters for my room and will hopefully be interviewing them with my housemates over the next week.
  • Alley and I have started to think seriously about where she can meet up with me on the trail, and we’ve got some good ideas. I would love for anyone who has already hiked the PCT to weigh in on this point – are there any spots in Southern California that come to mind as ideal for a partner to meet up with a hiker for a day or a weekend? At first I really wanted Alley to hike a couple of days with me, but I’m having trouble finding any information on ways to get on the PCT for a couple of short mileage days and then get off again. Now I’m thinking maybe it makes more sense to take a day or two off the trail and hang out with her in Idyllwild? I dunno, seriously, if anyone has any suggestions about this, I’m very very very open to ideas!
  • As soon as I hit “publish” on this blog post I’m going to set up my SPOT device!

You guys! This blog post took me about 30 minutes to write, as opposed to 3+ hours, and it’s less than 1,000 words! WHO KNEW IT WAS POSSIBLE. Anyway I feel good about this style of blogging as a sustainable way to check in once I’m on the trail, and I hope y’all look forward to a mixture of short and long updates from me on the PCT.

Let’s conclude with a photo of Peninsula Park that I took last night, because even though it’s been raining almost non-stop in Portland since October, yesterday I walked around the park with Hadley (for my 6 mile daily walk!) and halfway through our stroll the rain cleared for just a bit and the sun came out and then a double rainbow appeared(!!!), and it made me feel some kind of way, you know? Like things are hard and bad right now but also occasionally okay and good. Something like that.


Peninsula Park, March 16th 2017

15 thoughts on “PCT Prep: Maps, Dried Vegetables, Gear, and More!

  1. mapreaders says:

    Just thought I’d say hello — I got to your page from Carrot’s blog, but then realized that I also saw your fundraiser yesterday when I was skimming through, trying to decide whether/how to use that same platform for my own fundraising effort! I’m starting a long PCT section hike in late April, walking northbound until Kennedy Meadows or for six weeks, whichever comes first. Anyway, best of luck with your prep — always happy to know fellow queer hikers!

    • Vanessa says:

      This is such a sweet note, thank you for commenting. I just clicked through and checked out your blog – y’all have so much more experience than I do! Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in the world, so I’m particularly interested in your notes on that trip.

      I also love connecting with fellow queer hikers, and your “hiking blogs we read” list made me smile – so many rad familiar names. When is your start date? I’m starting on April 20 but planning to go fairly slow in the beginning, so maybe we’ll meet on trail.

      Also so funny that you saw my fundraiser – I haven’t publicized it yet because I want to write a blog post to go with it/give it more context and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. But I’ve heard good things about the site, for what it’s worth.

      Happy trails!

    • Vanessa says:

      Interesting! I’ve noticed that if I layer anything with my socks I get blisters — I have to wear very thin socks, and just one pair, to avoid hot spots/blisters. My current love affair is with Injinji socks (the toe socks) because they help separate my toes and are the only thing that have stopped me from getting really uncomfortable blisters on the underside of my pinky toes! Have you tried the nylons trick though? I love that different things work for different people and everyone has a special “trick” they love most of all.

  2. Lion Heart says:

    A thought on sections to hike:
    In Oregon (closer to your home) there is a neat section, PCT mile 1981 Mackenzie Pass to mile 1998 Santiam Pass, Hwy 20 which includes crossing lava and the 2000 mile mark.
    Other longer sections include mile 1950, Elk Lake to mile 1981, Mackenzie Pass. And mile 2084, Hwy 26 to mile 2144, Cascade Locks.

  3. Chummpps.Gaming says:

    I am pumped to follow your adventure! I am doing the PCT when I am done with school in the next couple of years. Are you doing the entire trail? And are you doing it solo? I can’t wait for this life changing adventure. I do a lot of hiking already, but nothing compared to this monstrous feat.


    • Vanessa says:

      The plan is to do the whole trail, and yes, going solo! Sorry for the belated reply. You can follow along my journey with my daily posts here. Good luck planning your future trip!

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