Less Than a Month to go: Final Preparations

Time sure flies when there are things to be done.  As our start date looms ever nearer, our to-do list continues to get shorter but it still feels like there is much to take care of.  Here’s what we’ve been up to the past few weeks:

We have finally managed to purchase all the items on our shopping list!  We took advantage of the REI and Backcountry 20% off coupons and sales to buy our microspikes, bear canister, and new/lighter headlamps.  We’ve made the necessary trips to Costco, Smart and Final, etc. to stock up on resupply foods.

We’ve taken our gear out for some shakedowns.  We slept under the new quilt during a freezing night in the Superstition Mountains.  It performed very well, but we didn’t like the shape of the footbox.  I have since modified the seam on the bottom so it is wide and flat rather than pointed.

In addition, we’ve had several chances to test out hiking with our umbrellas in both sun and rain.  They would have been very nice to have during the hot rain on the Appalachian Trail, but they are even more invaluable in hot sun and exposed terrain.  These are going to be a nice item for the desert.

Because my pack has no hip belt, I decided to hike with a fanny pack so I have a convenient place to hold snacks for the day, my phone, etc.  I sewed on a side pocket to hold a water bottle, and found it works very well.  I’m going to make one more pocket so I can carry that much more water weight on my hips rather than my back through the desert.

Currently we are traveling, visiting friends and family before this next adventure begins.  This week we are lucky enough to reunite with two of our trail family from the Appalachian Trail!  We’ll be visiting our friend Scarab for a hike in North Carolina, and a few days later we are meeting our friend Strider in the Smokies to do some trail magic on the Appalachian Trail.  Strider will be hiking the PCT this year as well!  He starts a week before us so we hope to catch up with him.

When we return to Arizona for the final weeks before our start, we will be focused on preparing our mail drops, visiting a few more family and friends, hiking Mount Lemmon, and putting the last few things back in storage.

Paul says: “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting antsy.”