Advice to future hikers:
- Take a photo every night of your campsite. It will greatly help jog your memory.
- Take a screenshot on your phone of your Half-Mile app location!
- Take photos of groups of hikers/strangers, especially early-on like at Kick-off!
- In the High Sierras, skip VVR. Try to push from Kearsarge(Bishop) to Red’s Meadow(Mammoth).
- Carry your ‘bear can’ empty atop your pack. Mail straps with ‘bear can’ to KM in advance. Your pack will ride much nicer against your back without the curvature of the vertical can.
- Lightest gear isn’t always preferable. I wish I’d had a warmer, albeit heavier, down coat.
- Water doesn’t need to boil if you’re making coffee, as you’ll just end up letting it cool.
- Some Intl hikers had SIM cards that could jump between AT&T and Verizon. Ideal.
- I wish I had eaten more! Dump the food you’re not eating and buy something you will. I carried a small bag of instant potatoes for over 500 miles….dumb.
- The wind is fiercer than you’d imagine. Plan on cowboy-camping early and often.
- Consider doing occasional video journals, even if just for your own records.
- Keep anti-chafe products and toothbrush/toothpaste in hip-belt pockets.
- If your main food bag is stowed low in your pack, set lunch aside and keep it at very top.
- Pre-sliced salami, string cheese, and tortilla wraps became my go-to meal, and they can survive several days safely without refrigeration. Also, if you precook Kraft mac & cheese, and then dehydrate it, you can rehydrate it with only a 3 minute boil and then let it sit for 8 minutes. (Saves on fuel.) Other solid leads: Trader Joes’ breakfast trail mix packs, Winco’s Tillamook pepperoni sticks and Starbucks Caramel Latte packs for a special treat.
- When you feel like quitting, consider taking an extended break (3-4 days) at next hostel.
My final numbers for the season (above) were based on Half-Mile’s elevation profiles for the sections I completed: CA Section A-I, and M-Q. I have about 10 days remaining in CA for some future season. (8 days between Sonora Pass and Sierra City, and 2 from Seiad Valley to the Oregon border.) Mileage includes the Eagle Creek alternate I did with Undertaker in March. The Fireman’s Fire Closure alternate out of Lake Hughes was countered by 2 treks over Kearsarge Pass, the long lake route to VVR and my return to Castella.