I wake at 9:30am of my own volition, roll over to the scattered piles of oatmeal, instant mac and cheese, and Snickers bars littering the bed. I’m stuck between rolling my eyes at myself and that feeling of staring over a precipice: this is my second-to-last free day until I start the Colorado Trail.
I have an inordinate amount of things to do, but I’m slowly ticking things off the list.
I went food shopping for the first leg last night; decided that if I can eat pretty much nothing but garlic naan for three months straight, I can live for 5 weeks on hiker food. I’m weaning my way in with fancy things like instant couscous + lentil curry soup mix and pesto ravioli for dinners, but I’m sure I’ll up the mac + cheese and Idahoan ante eventually.
Since they say we pack our fears, I’m pretty sure I’ve got too much food for this first leg. I’m not worried that I’ll run out, but that I won’t eat enough; I have a problem remembering to eat and drink at the best of times. I get super focused on something, and then it’s 10 hours later and all I’ve put in my face are some plain tortillas and maybe a little water. Not exactly a tenable strategy when I’m like to need 3,000-4,000+ calories a day. I can just picture being forced off-trail by a dangerously low body weight and exhaustion and and and. So I’ve got probably too much food for the Denver to Breckenridge leg, even though it’s like to be 8 days, even though the recommended amount for such a trek is 20 lbs of food. The trail will break me of this proclivity, but I’m interested in weighing everything after I repackage it.
I spend a lot of time with my books: working with mileage, trying to figure out – in the roughest of fashions – where I’ll be when. Calling hostels, noting numbers, making sure they’ll still be open that late in the season. Making notes of numbers of outdoor retailers, to call them about fuel canisters a little later in the year. Scribbling on my maps and databook about resupply exits; getting more and more familiar with the areas, potential bailout points, Sheriff’s department numbers.
I’m getting a lot done, but every time I look up another hour has passed; I can’t help but think how easy this is now, compared to even five, ten years ago. There are books and websites hand-tailored to this sort of endeavor, and so many people to ask for guidance.
I take a break to surf Facebook, light on the old “Do you take a gun into the backcountry?” question on a generic Colorado camping/hiking/backpacking group. The answers, as per usual, concern me, and it seems like everyone’s packing heat, despite the fact that it’s a beautiful Saturday and most folks who aren’t sitting inside prepping to go on a longer hike are probably outside in some fashion or another, not on Facebook. Still, I try not to think about it, or rather to think of practical situations where a gun might be necessary on a thruhike, given that so many people seem to be packing. I can’t think of any reasons – bear spray, maybe, but not a gun – but I still think about it.
I spend some time sorting my food into various ziplocks and end the day marking up the data book, cross-referencing water sources from Guthook’s CT App. I fall asleep on the couch with Archer in the background, and little left to do, anticipation building for the countdown to departure.