“He was getting excited and interested again, and so forgot to keep his mouth shut. He loved maps…”
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Items of note:
1) Last week my maps came! Halfmile, thru-hiker and greatest guy in the world, makes a set of PCT maps available for free. They’re wonderful, with notes about points of interest, water sources, and all that a hiker might want. (They also synch up nicely with an app you can use for self-location.) The tricky bit: there are almost 200 double-sided full-color pages to print out! The wonderful bit: Yogi, who also sells the Pacific Crest Trail Handbook that I’ve found so useful, teamed up with Halfmile to offer at-cost printing and shipping. So a lovely box full of beautiful maps landed in my post office box.
The first thing that popped into my head was actually Bilbo’s line from the Rankin-Bass cartoon: “Oh, I do love maps. I have quite a collection!” This will be divided up and I’ll only carry the sheets for the section I’m traversing at any one time. This will nicely compliment Halfmile’s app and Guthook’s Guides, which have a terrific feature that shows your position and facing in relation to the trail.
2) Today marks exactly 3 months before my intended start date. Crazy chicken world.
3) After going through all the number crunching and agonizing and technical jiggery-pokery of putting together my gear list, I’ve found that I seem unable to get my base weight (the weight of everything in my pack but not including what I wear or carry in my hands) down below 18 pounds. This is relatively light, but the ultralight gurus would mock me. 15 pounds would be great; many hike in the 10-12 pound range.
So at this point, I’ve decided not to care. Now that I’ve stripped down to what I think of as the lightest load I can devise, I’m going to stop worrying and just carry what I have. No doubt, as all the experienced folks say, I’ll start shedding items I don’t use as I go along, and may even pick up some pieces of gear that end up being wonderful.
This is an exercise in me letting go. This is me leaning into trust. This is good.
“He loved maps, as I have told you before; and he also liked runes and letters and cunning handwriting…”