Tag Archives: Pacific Crest Trail

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ―Lao Tzu

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that some friends and I were planning to go on a small 17455121_1653116321663426_492670397_obackpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail. If you missed that post, click here. Today I want to talk about a class that I took through REI that will prepare me for this hike. The class I took was called Backpacking in Southern California. I decided to take this free class because I feel that I should gain as much information as I can before setting off into the unknown.

If you have never looked into an REI class, I highly recommend it. I know that some people don’t have an REI near them. My friend at RedheadedOwl lives almost an hour from the nearest REI but since she will be going on this hike with me she did decide to sign up for one class. I am very fortunate to live near so many REIs but, again, I know that some people aren’t.

As I mentioned before, the class I took was completely free. I was not a member when I started 17455020_1653120948329630_1881051706_osigning up for these classes but I am a member now. For members and nonmembers alike, there is no charge. Yes, some classes do cost money but there are usually enough free classes to tide you over. And if there are some classes you want to take that cost money, I suggest getting a membership. It’s a $20 one time fee and has many great things included. I might talk about that another time.

Going back to the class I took on Backpacking  in Southern California, I want to share the notes I took. So, I will write them down below in note format. I hope they make sense to you.

  • Why do you want to go backpacking?
  • Bear canisters are a necessary item
  • Look into the permits you need for the area you will be backpacking through
  • Pack it out (meaning toilet paper or ANY TRASH)
  • Check the weather conditions before you go
  • Know what kind of wildlife is in the area
  • Backpacking can change your life
  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly (cat holes)
  • Leave what you find (wildlife, plants, rocks, etc.)
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • Ziplock backs are your friend
  • People at campsites probably aren’t going to bed early
  • Look into your area’s national park or forest website for more guidelines
  • You need to train in order to really be prepared for backpacking
  • Look into backpacking trips with REI and other groups (REI can become costly, though)
  • 4 liters of water per day in the desert
  • 1 liter = 2 pounds of water
  • Always, always, always filter your water
  • 30-40 pounds in your backpack
  • Who is in your group?
  • Where are you going?
  • What will you be doing?
  • 17430889_1653120954996296_1403105930_oWhen will you be back
  • GET IN SHAPE
  • Build up to it
  • 10 essentials:
    • Navigation
    • sun protection
    • Insulation
    • Illumination
    • First Aid supplies
    • Fire
    • Repair kit/ tools
    • nutrition (make sure you have extra snacks)
    • Emergency shelter
  • Take moleskine for your blisters!
  • Cotton balls soaked in vaseline is good for a fire starter
  • Duct tape solves everything
  • Emergency shelter can save your life
  • What to wear
    • Base layer “wicking”
    • Middle layer “warmth”
    • Shell/outer layer “Weather”
    • Don’t forget the head and hands
  • Wool or fleece is what you want
  • COTTON KILLS
  • Boots!!!! There are hiking and backpacking boots
  • Wool/synthetic socks
  • Gaiters
  • Liner socks
  • 55-80 liters backpack
  • Consume 1-2 pounds of food each day
  • Your bear canister will be the heaviest item
  • Find a lightweight tent
  • Don’t stick your head into your down sleeping bag because the moisture from your breath will ruin it
  • There is a difference in men’s and women’s sleeping bags
  • Filtration and purification for water treatment
  • Download any maps onto your phone.

I will be taking more class and I will talk about those when they happen so stay tuned for more notes from my REI class adventures. As always, thank you for coming to my blog. If you want to get more information about this and other posts, please subscribe!

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“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” -Wild (Cheryl Strayed)

Being in nature is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. I grew up going camping and I have always loved it. It was, more often than not, due to hunting season, but it was still a blast. My senior year in high school, my friend and I decided to do our senior pictures while camping. We brought along a couple of outfits, our makeup, and our hair stuff. The company that our school went through was very expensive me 1.jpgso we decided to do our own. It actually turned out nicely, considering the lack of photography skills we had. I, sadly, don’t have access to them right now but I did find one picture from that weekend (it’s not one of the Senior portraits, though). I had fallen and my friend decided to snap a picture of me. I’m sure you can see that I’ve changed quite a bit since then.

Another wonderful time I can remember being in a nature setting is our Summer 2008 Girl’s Trip. My grandma, aunt, cousin, and I went on an adventure. We were driving along when all of a sudden we see a bunch of elk on the side of bearthe road. Being from California, you don’t see that. We decided to stop and take pictures of them and, upon further inspection, we figured out that it was part of what is called Bear Country USA. We all agreed that it would be a nice little detour so we paid for admission and drove on in. There is a wide range of animals to see but one of my favorite parts was when we got to drive next to bears. There were so many of them and one was even walking along our van.

If your haven’t had a fun experience in nature, you need to get out there and just do it. That’s what my friends and I decided to do. On Monday, we decided to plan a backpacking trip. Yes, it’s insane but we’re really excited. Jewel is one who is fearful of the outdoors but wants to overcome that fear and Michaela wants to challenge herself. As for me, I want to get out and be in nature for a few days.

Michaela is actually the one who brought up the idea and Jewel and I agreed to do it. Ourpct.jpg plan is to backpack through a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail. If you have never heard of this trail, it’s a trail that spans about 3,000 miles over 3 states. It starts at the California/Mexico border and ends at the Washington/Canada border (or vice versa). We decided to backpack through part of the trail that goes through the Angeles National Forest.

We have never been to the area, we’ve never been backpacking, and we’re all untrained. So, is it really such a good idea to do this? Some will say yes while many will say no. We have, however, signed up for multiple REI classes specifically for backpacking and Jewel and I have multiple overnighters planned before our full 4 day trip (yes, only 4 days) in the area. We even already have plans for how we are going to obtain some of the necessary equipment for this journey.

One important thing we have done is talk to people who know what they are talking about. I spoke to my uncle for about two hours on safety and what we needed to know or do (or not do) while we are out there. Talking to people who know what they are talking about is always a good idea. Jewel has also been able to talk to her dad, who has been backpacking multiple times.

wild.jpgAnother thing we decided to do was to pick up a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild.” Why did we do this? Because it is about her travels through the entire Pacific Crest Trail. What better way to learn about the trail than to read a first hand account?

Are we afraid? Of course we are! There are bears, mountain lions, rattle snakes and other various things that could potentially kill us out there. Why should fear stop us from pushing ourselves? We are strong and willing to let life teach us a lesson so we’re going to do this. Are we excited? Most definitely! It’s something new and new things are always exciting. We are doing something that will challenge us more than anything we’ve done in life this far.

Have you ever hiked a section of the Pacific Crest Trail? Maybe even the entire thing? Please comment below with a story from your experience. I will be keeping a journal while we are out and I plan to write all about it when we are done. Maybe I’ll even be able to backpack through the entire trail and write a book based on my experiences, just like Cheryl Strayed.

If you haven’t been to the Pacific Crest Trail, comment below with any memory you have about being in nature, good or bad. And as always, thank you for stopping by. Hit the follow button to get more updates on everything in my life.