20 days to go: assembling meals and training

General update

I’ve been busy. I’m nearly 100% done assembling my meals, but the last stretch has been mentally challenging—assembling 120 packages of the same thing! Luckily, my Dad was over for our weekly Tuesday night hang-out and suggested making a large batch and then portioned out into individual servings. I resisted because I worried that the ultrafine ingredients wouldn’t mix evenly and the measurements would be off from bag to bag. Luckily I got over that concern and just did the large batches, exact measurements be damned. I finished all 120 bags last night! Now, I can move on to the remaining two meals (20 total packages) and finish the meal assembly phase!


As a data person, I have simulated various scenarios over the previous two years. Intense hill climbs and descents, 20-29 miles in a single day and back-to-back days, 12-mile water carries, nine days of food, etc. Most recently, I wanted to see how my body felt after completing a real scenario of hiking from the Southern Terminus of the PCT to Lake Morena in one day. The distance is 20 miles, and Hauser Canyon (located at mile 15) is notorious for a hot and steep uphill climb that breaks many aspiring thru-hikers. Something not to take lightly. At least, that is what I’ve heard from fellow internet citizens.

Will it be hard? Yes. Have I done something similar before? Yes. Is it doable? Most certainly. Given my experience, it will be familiar and should be relatively easy.

I found a local area with similar mileage and elevation change to use as my fifth training hike. Overall, it was pretty decent. I reminded myself to take pack-off breaks, air out and massage my feet, and stretch every 5 miles. My new watch greatly helped with this as it has features to remind me of various events, namely distance (I set it to buzz every 2 miles) and nutrition (every 60 minutes).

could have spent more time at each break, but I wanted to get back home at a reasonable time. If I only had to find a tentsite for the night, I could have stretched this 9.5-hour hike to 12 or more. Taking it slower may have helped with what came next. I’ll undoubtedly employ the slower strategy while on the PCT until I feel my feet and legs are ready to work longer days.

Even with all of my stretching, it wasn’t enough. The following day, the plantar fasciitis was alive and well. Some consistent stretching and rest subdued the pain. The intense plantar fascitis and stretching are the parts that concern me, as I won’t have this luxury on the trail of hiking for a day, then taking a day off, and so forth. In addition to that, is stretching the cure or the band-aid?

Hiking the PCT will be a hard-won adventure. Whatever the end result, it will be the hardest thing that I’ve done mentally and physically, both on and off the trail.