It seems a little odd to be hanging out in a foreign country, and not go on adventures, but it just so happens that this is where one of my PCT cohorts lives (also known as my father), and I’ve already used up the foreign country adventure budget.
So my father and I spend our days in The Cage – researching gear and food, planning resupplies, figuring out how to make our route include stops at the best places to eat, devouring the info in Yogi’s PCT handbook…. PCT planning becomes a full time job.
We wake up, and over coffee discuss what our goals for the day are- what piece of gear I’ve decided to buy, what section of trail we’ll plan, what nutrition articles have been found that we should read. Taking turns on my dad’s laptop and smartphone, we start work on the next piece of the puzzle.
Our day is broken up by playing with the dog, being distracted by PCT videos, running outside to watch the afternoon thunderstorms, and after reading too many nutrition articles, kitchen food forages. All part of the fun of working from home.
By midday the house (consisting mostly of windows) can become unbearably hot. We are on a ‘conserve AC’ mandate from The Boss (my mother) so when the fans are not enough, we move our projects into The Cave (the darkest room in the house, also known as the study). AC on, door cracked open just enough for the wifi connection to work, dog happily laying on the floor (sometimes me on the floor), we revive enough to continue our work.
When I’ve spent too much time pouring over one piece of gear, and nothing makes sense anymore (I even start questioning why I wanted a puffy in the first place) it’s time for a cookie baking break, or a nap.
Getting the right gear (light enough and durable) is a big part of planning a first thru hike. Sure I already have a lot of gear, but most of it is just too heavy. I have a gear list that is undergoing a continual editing process of: exact product type, then what brand or model is best, and finally- where I can get the best deal.
The price tag on the gear list is a little daunting. Sometimes it is worth it- for that quality gear created by another hiker, other times I know there has to be a sale somewhere, or I know last season’s version or color will function just the same.
I spend a lot of time (probably more time than I should admit to) searching out the best web deal for a product. I think of the money I’m saving in terms of the pizzas I will get to eat at resupplies.
In the case of the elusive puffy that almost made me crazy, it took me 3 days to find a discount price in my size. Luckily for my sister, she gets passed on the deals I find that have run out of my size. All that time spent saved me enough for 2 pizzas and a quart of icecream. Totally worth it.
We celebrate the little victories. When I finally bought the puffy I wanted, I did a happy dance and raced the dog through the house. When we finished planning our California route, we went out for a beer. And when a box of gear arrives, there is singing.