Sunday, May 10, 2009

First time in five years not crawling out of a tent on the PCT at 4:30

Early this morning, as I was returning to bed after a bathroom visit (I do this more now than when I was younger), the clock showed 4:30, and through the bedroom window, there was just the slightest hint of dawn. The light and the hour gave me a sudden déjà vu. I realized that this was the first time in five years I was not crawling out of a tent somewhere on this date and time. I searched through our photos to see just what we had been doing around this time on prior years.

PCT Section B 2005 May 10

PCT Section C 2006 May 10

PCT Section D 2007 - May 2 Hiker Heaven

PCT 2008 - May 13 Butterbredt Canyon Road

2009 - May 10 Squirrel on our feeder, new solar fan installation

We've been working our way through the southern California desert on the Pacific Crest Trail since 2005. My routine for this date and time for the prior four years has been: get out of the sleeping bag, stuff it, throw all my gear outside the tent and crawl out, all without getting on Susan's side of the tent. Once out, I start the stove, put on water to boil, and then go pee. Then tea for Susan, instant coffee for me, and when that is done, cereal, powdered milk and water, cold or hot as desired. Then Susan throws all her stuff out of the tent while I pack my backpack, and stuff the tent. By the time I finish she is ready to go, and sometime between 6 and 7 am we are off on the trail. As you can see, we are not very speedy getting started.

We finished the last piece of the southern PCT last year, and continued on the northern part well into Oregon, so now only have about 750 miles in Oregon and Washington to complete the PCT. None of that is accessible until well into July, so we have this backpacking deficit in April-May. Our plan was to fill this void by hiking in Patagonia in March, hiking in France in May, northern PCT in August and an AT segment in Sept. As March approached, and the economy tanked, our schedule seemed a little optimistic and didn't give us time to decompress from Patagonia, so we moved France to Sept and dropped the AT. Thus our present situation. An aside, we've been getting some unattributed taking of blog content so inserting © 2009

It's not bad here. We have time to do a garden, see our flowers bloom, do long pending chores such as install a solar fan in the garage. Susan for the last four years been gone for our wedding anniversary, gone for Mother's Day, gone for my birthday and is enjoying those missed occasions. But that moment this morning reminded me of those wonderful first few hours of the day hiking through the desert, and I miss it.


  1. How much did your bill end up coming to? I'm thinking about backpacking the E1 trail (Germany to Italy) this summer and am trying to figure out what to do with my phone. I went to France this year and came home to an $800 phone bill so I am trying to avoid that. I was in Arles for most of my time in France and had no idea that the route even existed, what a shame. How did you acquire your maps? I am having a lot of difficulty finding any (originally I had wanted to hike from Paris to Rome...kind of doesn't look likely though) regardless of the region. Any help would be greatly appreciated...your trip sounds like it was amazing.

  2. Kelly, our day to day costs for the two of us were about 100+ euros per day. If we stayed in gites more often that could be knocked down. If you have a pilgrim credential and stay in the pilgrim accommodations and did your own cooking when possible, it would be quite a bit cheaper. You probably read my blog entry on walking in France, but we have more info on our website - look for the camino links on the left, Le Puy and Arles. Phone is pretty cheap if you have a France sim card - need an unlocked phone to use one though. Have to rush out the door right now.