The cycles of light and dark are different from inside a house. Day and night lose some of their meaning as I push back against both – walls, roofs, curtains all conspiring to darkness in daytime, while switches everywhere await a near-effortless command to bring light in an instant at night. The power’s enough to cause a superiority complex; disconnection, above, beyond, instead of connection, one with, part of. Just one more reason, I think, to get back outside and stay a while.
Still, I’d forgotten how intensive preparing for a hike can be.
I’ve been back for two weeks, finished at my job for one, and while I’ve stolen snippets of utter peace – reading with a cat on my lap, playing Overwatch on my clearly-dying computer, visiting with friends – the majority of my time has been spent with the hike lurking at the back of my mind, panicked about how much needs doing and how much isn’t getting done when I decide to read just one more page. Either that or running errands, desperately trying to remember what I’m forgetting.
The majority of those errands have been food runs, as I, for the first time, try my hand at this whole mail-ahead resupply strategy thing. There’s just so much guesswork involved in a route like the Grand Enchantment Trail1 – on a maintained trail-trail, I’d be better able to guess at my mileage between the maps and the elevation profile, but on the GET, I don’t really think there’s much knowing beforehand. Just doing. Meanwhile, there’s so much math as I try to take a daily estimate and try to reckon with how many calories I’m going to need and try to be healthier, making most of my meals from scratch. Counting and counting again how many meals and snacks and and and, before looking at the maps and realizing I’ve counted wrong. Again. And over and over, without a car in an urban sprawl, I’ve gone from store to store to fill those boxes, remembering something only when I get back to the house I’m staying in. It’s been a lot of walking on pavement, longing for dirt.
I wish I could have taken more time with food prep, I wish I could’ve dehydrated food instead of having to buy everything straight from the store, but I’m pushing the season already; every day that goes by brings summer and its heat one day closer. I’m not even on trail and I’m starting to feel that PUSH to go go go walk walk walk now now now oh hey but also you have sO MUCH STUFF TO DO BEFOREHAND so slow your roll.
So it’s been Instagramming and writing for Griots Republic and entering waypoints+tracks into my InReach/sole large gear purchase before this hike and remembering this tidbit here, that tidbit there. Slowly making a hiking life out of various boxes in the storage closet – and some help from some new friends. I’m the 25th hiker in Granite Gear‘s 2018 Grounds Keeper program, so I’ll be picking up trash along the GET route as I go. Leaving it better than I found it. So thanks to Granite Gear and program co-sponsor Altra, I’ll be carrying a new pack, a new stuff sack, and rocking some new kicks along the way. Plus, they hooked me up with a couple more-trash-oriented bags, gloves for the gross stuff, and a scale, so I’ll be able to see exactly how much trash I’ve packed out. It’s a pretty cool proposition; hopefully Pineapple, my hiking partner on this particular journey, doesn’t tire of my trash-oriented exuberance.
Pineapple may or may not tire of me sticking a microphone in our faces at the end of each day. In addition to writing a daily blog, probably falling behind on said dailies while I’m on the trail, and then finishing up said dailies after I come back, I’ve decided to keep an audioblog that Pineapple will also be participating in. As all of the writing that I do on this site – hours and hours of hiking and writing and editing and photo-taking and editing and posting – is yours for free and ad-free, I’ve decided to put the audioblog up as a reward on Patreon. A dollar or more a month (even if it’s just for a month!) gets you both the audio notes from the last day of my PCT thruhike and the first day of the upcoming GET thruhike; $7 or more a month gets you all the audioblogs evar. So basically, $14 – less than a quarter a day – will get you all the audioblogs as they come out. If you’re not into monthly recurring stuff, each available audioblog can be had for $1 per track via Venmo (@ohheyitsamjam) or Paypal.
Finally, my Crowdrise fundraiser for Earthjustice is over halfway to its goal! Help fund legal battles against polluting corporations and help protect our outdoor spaces in one fell swoop. Plus, a donation of $25 or more gets you a postcard post-trail.
…The next post I write will be a day-before post, about travel to Phoenix before starting the trail. And then… walking.
IT’S GETTING REAL, Y’ALL.