Monday, May 25, 2009

Technique Development Report

-Cooking with an Esbit cube, pop can stove and using the freeze dry pouch to warm your dinner in. This technique took too long and did not get my food and coffee hot enough. I switched to my JetBoil, which is one of my favorite items.
-VestPacking – I switched to a regular pack after 3 days, because my VestPack can’t hold my JetBoil.
-Avoid the brutal mid-day heat of the desert by waking up at 3:00 AM and being on the trail with a headlamp by 4:00 AM. Take a mid-day break in the shade. Hike until dark.
-I love my re-supply car. It gives me freedom! I especially love taking the winding mountain roads in my sports car. It does take extra time to get a ride back to my car.
-Not sleeping in a tent is wonderful! You can lay you bivy sack in a great many places that are too small for a tent. I saw two brothers lay their sleeping bags right on the trail. I have had the most scenic camps ever. Beautiful panoramic views with alpenglow from the setting sun, stars for my nightlight and best thing of all is being able to cook and do all my camp chores while sitting in my sleeping bag.
-Preparing the ground I sleep on. Whatever sleeping system a person uses, scooping a depression in the ground for your butt and hips to fit in, makes your sleep much more comfortable. For me, it’s just as comfortable as my bed at home. I suggest sitting and laying in the depression you have scooped for your butt, to adjust the contours for perfect fit. Then you can lay your ground sheet, bubble wrap or tent down.
-Bubble wrap for a sleeping pad. It weighs almost nothing. It serves as a ground sheet. It takes up little room, especially after much of the air leaks out of the bubbles. Your comfort comes from preparing the ground to fit your body. For cooler weather, I would take extra bubble wrap.
-Navigating – I found my GPS of almost no use, so after a few days I left it in my re-supply car. It is extremely important that you don’t miss any water re-supply stops in the desert. Careful dead reckoning on your map by writing down what time you reach each landmark is important. Calculate your Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) to the next water re-supply, so you don’t miss it.
-Carefully calculate how much water to carry at each water hole. A rule of thumb is to carry a liter for each 3 miles if the temperature is between 85–100 degrees, a liter for each 5 miles if the temperature is between 65-85 degrees, and a liter for each 10 miles if the temperature is below 65 degrees. A fellow PCT hiker suffered heat exhaustion and had to be brought water, because he had failed to take enough with him. My backup plan in case a water hole is dry is to wait in the shade until the sun is low in the horizon, then hike by headlamp slowly to the next water supply when it’s cooler out. If your urine is clear while hiking in the desert, you could consider carrying less water to lighten your pack. If your urine is light yellow, you are probably drinking the right amount of water for desert backpacking.

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