I’ve got a bunch of things swirling around inside my head. There’s things I need to do, there’s things I’ve done, and there’s things I haven’t thought of.
First of all, the Frozen Otter. Ten racers finished the 64 miles this last weekend – which is totally awesomely impressive, considering the wind picked up to 50mph gusts and the temperature dropped from a balmy, muddy-trail-creating 44° during the day — down to under 10° overnight — which is the hardest part of the race. After already hiking a whopping 32 miles, you are sore and tired and your body is ready for bed. But then you fight that body clock, head out onto the dark trail for another 32 miles — and the weather gets progressively more difficult!? Ah… yes. “For the love of misery” is the phrase of the race. It’s true. We do have a love for that misery.
I stuck around and shuttled a few people and cheered some people on before I pooped out around midnight and struggled to stay awake driving home as the wind threw me all over the highway. I thought of those hikers out on the trail. At least I was heading home to my warm bed!
I did get in a 16-mile training hike earlier in the day. I hit the trail at 6:30am, arrived at Butler Lake at 9:30, watched the racers begin at 10:00, head back out at 11:00, and my friends Randall and Heidi met me on the trail to hike a bit. That was fun! Then Adam met us at Greenbush (where I started hiking that morning) and we all head out for a burger and a beer at a local bar. It was a good Saturday in my book. All day spent pretty much all outside. And it was 40° in mid-January in Wisconsin. And the sun was shining. And I was hiking. And I saw friends. And I spent some time with Adam. Yes. It was a good day.
I need to wash and water-resistant-treat my sleeping bag this weekend. That’s going to take a few hours at the laundromat. I need to design cards with blog addresses and Facebook links to hand out to people, as well as stickers that can be slapped on resupply boxes so they are distinct among the many others that mine will be sitting with at random post offices along the trail. It’s a small chore, but it’s on my list. I finished printing maps, now they need to be organized. That will be done Thursday night over a couple glasses of wine. (Do not spill, Robin!) There’s a few small pieces of gear/clothing I still need to purchase. Sport bras, phone batteries, a few extra canisters of Jetboil fuel, and some food & toiletry items. Instant coffee (VIA, baby!), wet ones, stupid tampons (sorry it’s on my list!), and probably a few other small things I’m forgetting.
I was able to get a prescription for Flagyl, which is a medication for Giardia (a nasty-ass intestinal parasite from untreated water and/or bad hygiene that hikers sometimes get… gives you major cramps and the runs. Yuk!) I hope to not get Giardia, of course, so I will be treating all my water with AquaMira. I have 8 sets of the stuff and I plan to use it all… and not any of the Flagyl. Let’s hope I’m able to stick with that plan! Either way, I’m feeling at ease having the medication in my first aid kit so if it does hit, I can treat it right away.
Permits are needed, too. I need three of them in particular. One is a thru-hiker’s permit provided by the Pacific Crest Trail Association. This will allow me to thru-hike the entire trail without worrying about a ton of different permits for all the wilderness areas, national parks, etc. Thank-you to the PCTA for that!! I will also need to obtain a permit to enter Canada via the PCT. I will be filling this one out tomorrow, I think. The third one I’ll need is a campfire permit for California, because in order to use a camp stove in the backcountry, you need this permit — it’s not just for campfires. I will not need a permit to climb Mt. Whitney, because apparently you only need one if you enter or exit from the east side (Whitney Portal). I’ll be doing both from the west/PCT side.
As I mentioned earlier, there are things I’m not thinking of. I’ll probably have another totally random post with a bunch of other totally random stuff going through my head. I love it, though. This is getting good.
Oh yeah… and I should probably try to get out and hike. It’s freakin’ cold in Wisconsin right now, so this one is a challenge. If I wasn’t sitting in a warm office at work, you can bet I’d be bundled up and out on that trail!