Howdy! It's been an eventful couple of weeks on trail so far. If I could describe this period of time in just one word, it would be described as 'alternatives'. Alternatives by definition is the selection of which precludes any other possibility or a choice limited to one or two more possibilities. From having to choose which route to take around fire closures to simply deciding what type of breakfast we can afford to use water on, we have definitely chosen many alternatives so far on this adventure.
While cleaning the Appalachian Trail last year, the number of off trail detours or re-routes were essentially non existent. This year on the Pacific Crest Trail, we have already had two fire closures that required taking alternate routes. We've heard word that there will be a handful more along our hike north. At first this was really off-putting. I mean, we flew across the country to walk 'the PCT'. We have realized that this happens to hikers every year. It's not a new thing. Unlike the Appalachian Trail where the route north is very well defined, a thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail quickly becomes 'your' thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. To be honest, these fire closures have added an enjoyable quality to this hike. We have had the opportunity to choose our own route around parts of the closures. If the suggested re-route took too many roads, we used our maps and planned a fun alternative away from the roads. So as we approach more closures that require a change in plans, we will continue to smile and embrace this aspect of our PCT thru hike.
While some alternatives are more
challenging to plan for in advance, others have been anticipated and expected. An example of planned alternatives can be found during our meal times. We planned a variety of meal types to compensate for long stretches without water. Sometimes water isn't available for nearly 25 miles. So we plan a 'dry' breakfast that consist of a couple CLIF Bars or CLIF organic energy food. This helps us conserve water which also allows us to carry less water. With water weighing in at 2 pounds a liter, it is the heaviest thing we carry...next to abandoned tents. The section we will soon walk through in the Mojave Desert will be 35 miles with no water. While unexpected alternatives can add a novel quality to your adventure, planning ahead can often make your experience that much more feasible and enjoyable.
Overall, the trail is pretty clean; though, the areas we do find trash often have a higher concentration of it. With over 350 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail under our feet, we have removed over 331.8 pounds of trash from the trail. It is a land of variety in both trash and views. The landscape here literally changes on a daily basis. To simply call this place a desert does it a disservice. These mountains still hold treasures as captivating as the gold dust that spurred its development. Having spent the last few weeks in these hills, It's apparent that gold no longer keeps people scouring these lands. I believe wanderers like us are just out finding a better alternative.
Much love and happy trails,
Seth "Cap" Orme