Next Weekend and Other Things

I have a vacation day at work to burn, and when I looked at the calendar for available days off I subconsciously chose April 15th which I later realized marks one year since I started the PCT, so now I have to go out and do something like walk through nature.  UGH FINE.

I’ve jumped between a lot of different options from doing a loop in Capitol Reef NP, stomping around Canyonlands NP, to making my own routes following game trails/atv tracks/old mining roads through the BLM lands outside of Goblin Valley State Park, then I found out about the San Rafael Swell just north of Goblin Valley and knew it was right for me.  I spent a good while tracing tiny little lines scattered around the park and ended up with a 40-something mile long loop hike which may only turn out to be 35 or so depending on how I do it.  That expanded to a 50 mile long loop that traversed most of the outer edges of the park, then went back to my original shorter route because if it turns out I can’t do 50 miles in three days like I easily could have done this last summer, I’d miss a day at work, and I’d be fired which would really inconvenience my plans later on.

Anyways it looks sweet, and it’s all BLM land so that means I don’t have to stomp on other people’s toes to secure a permit and be restricted to a single corridor (which is what ended my Canyonlands plan), so that’s awesome.  I can’t complain about going somewhere with views like this:

This Summer

I also think my plans for the summer are secured (I think [I hope {dear god please let it be true}]).  The Oregon Coast Trail looked neat but I realized I didn’t want to spend my hiking season going in and out of resort towns where prices would be inflated and crowds would be at their peak.  My dad also wants to join me and he has a thing with sheer dropoffs, going up and over the capes wouldn’t be a fun endeavor for him.  So then I remembered the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin.

Not once in my life have I ever just thought of going to Wisconsin for anything, let alone hiking, but the Ice Age Trail actually looks really neat.  It’s still not the wilderness experience the other hikes in the triple crown tout, but it’s wilderness enough.  I’ve also picked up a weird fascination with the Appalachian Trail that never existed before.  The idea of hiking through woods all the time was not appealing to me in any shape or form, and the crowds turned me off as well.  But hiking it SOBO deals with the crowd issue, and it actually looks kinda pretty so.. anyways.. I’m testing the waters with the whole hiking through the forest all the time thing, and Wisconsin looks like a really beautiful state.  Starting in August is the plan, which means more waiting time, but also means I have extra time to save up to make it happen.

So that’s exciting.  I’m looking forward to it.  When I “decided” to hike the Oregon Coast Trail I was still online searching for alternative hikes to do and daydreaming about them, since I “decided” to hike the IAT my browsing around and searching has pretty much stopped, but I’m still googling around for things to do in the future.

Bleh, More Gear Talk

I want to say up front that I don’t like talking about gear, so I don’t know why it comes up so often.

For as much as I love my Granite Gear Lutsen and as much as I’ve fucking rambled on and on about it, I decided to give ultralight packs one more shot.  I just ordered a Superior Wilderness Designs pack because I’m hearing great stuff about it, so I pulled the trigger on it.  I figure something like the Ice Age Trail is a good place to test it out rather than the PCT with its long water hauls in the desert and long food carries through the Sierra.  I’ll be happy if it works out, I really want it to because I really like having a low volume/low profile backpack.  It just feels nice.  My GG Pilgrim was perfect sans the shoulder straps, this one looks like it solves that.  Plus.. blue.  I struggled on whether I wanted to go this route or get a Palante Simple Pack which looks equally great, but I’m still not sure on going without a hip belt just yet, and the Palante Packs are sold out until their next run (which unknown to me at the time would have been very soon anyways, RIP).

And since my credit card was already out I bought a Mountain Laurel Designs Solomid XL because I’ve been wanting one since I found out about them last year.  I was originally going to get a Duomid for the extra space, but the Solomid XL looks big enough especially since I’m not going to use an inner bug mesh.

The only reason I did was because I did the math on how much I could save before the IAT and felt comfortable with the margins, and I’m selling my old stuff along with other things so it’s not going to be a huge financial burden in the end.

While I’m feeling more secure on my plans this summer, I’m not sure about my plans for next summer.  I’m really, really starting to consider the PCT again because – if you hadn’t noticed – it’s still on my mind all the damn time.  I don’t think I’ve gone a single article without mentioning it since I got off trail.  So we’ll see what happens there, mostly it boils down to whether or not I could save the money in time.  Seeing all the photos of the 2017 hikers starting their trek isn’t helping at all.

This Weekend

It’s cold raining today in the lower valley and snowing up in the mountains.  It’s probably snowing tomorrow too, so no hikes this weekend unfortunately.  I may go out tomorrow depending on weather but it’s not looking good.  Of course the weather is borderline perfect during the week while I’m at work, but once the weekend rolls around the weather decides to be crazy.  The saving grace is next weekend’s backpacking trip, aw yeeeeah!

And lastly I have a video coming up of my hike on Grandeur Peak from last weekend, that’ll be up on my Youtube channel either today or tomorrow, alternatively it’ll also be on the front page of my blog here once it’s up.



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