I know the PCT will be a huge challenge, so I'm trying to accumulate as much experience as possible before I leave. Lately I've begun section hiking "Rondanestien", a trail that starts in downtown Oslo (the capital of Norway) and then runs all the way to the center of Rondane, a beautiful mountaineous area with several peaks above 2000 meters. The trail is 430 kilometers (267 miles) long and is supposed to take 23 days. Since I don't have the time to thru-hike it, I'm doing it section by section with my friend and colleague, Glenn. We've so far done three sections and made it to a spot a couple of hours from "Eidsvoll verk".
We're both trying to keep the carried weight to a minimum, but since these are weekend trips we are not being hardcore about it, bringing for instance what we want in terms of food and drink. One way we've decreased weight though is by sharing a 3x3 meter polyester tarp which provides lots of space and protection for the two of us.
The pictures above are from the previous weekend when we hiked in pretty cold weather, and the first day in rain too. Our first pitch, though at a beautiful spot (loved waking up to the view there), gave us a chilly night. We should've pitched the right wall all the way to the ground to block the wind. Even Glenn in his winter bag inside of a bivy got a bit cold. The next night (second picture) was better, but I still got a miserable nights sleep, having my bivy sliding on the slippery surface of my Neoair and having no pillow since I wore it (my MYOG west) to be warmer. My quilt, the JRB Sierra Sniveler, is definitely warm enough, and gives great freedom of movement for a side sleeper like me, but I'm missing the cocoon feel of a mummy bag with zero drafts and less adjusting needed, so I'm therefore probably going to invest in a Western Mountaineering Ultralite next year which is rated down to -7 celisus - a bag which has gotten rave reviews and seems to be the most commonly used by thru-hikers of the PCT.
Getting a good nights sleep in the outdoors is something I'm working on, and is essential if I'm going to have a chance of completing a trail as long as the PCT. Last weekend I slept kinda ok the first night and like I said, miserably the second. That coupled with having been cold most of the day because of wet feet and more, brought me to a poor state. I've got to find a way to be comfortable at night and warm at all times during the day to keep my energy levels high.
I mentioned shoes - I've been a big fan of using trail runners this season, using them for instance in Rondane with no problem whatsoever. The difference this time was that my Sealskinz socks were ruined from a hole developing in the heel area, so I opted to go with just normal hiking socks. For some reason I chose to wear quite light socks too, the "Trail light" from Bridgedale I think, which are for "warmer conditions". This should prove to be bad setup. I didn't take long before my feet were soaked from walking in boggy conditions and my cold and wet feet started to sap my body warmth. Glenn lent me some thick pure wool socks which I wore on the inside with the Bridgedale on outside, which helped a lot since they provided a thicker layer of insulation and being wool they felt warm(er) even though they were wet. Still I would've preferred dry feet. Next time I will leave the trail runners behind and use boots, or maybe buy gore-tex oversocks and thick wool socks to use with the trail runners.
Hiking with Glenn has been great. A highlight on the last trip was when revealed that he had stealthily brought beers and potato chips!
I can't begin to describe how good that tastes at the end of a long day walking when you're thirsty, hungry and lost a lot of salt. Yummy!
I leave you with more pictures from the two trips, as well as my gear list for the last one. Take care and have a great week!
|SECTION HIKE FROM RUSTADSAGA TO DAL, SEPTEMBER 2010|
|Jam 2, 2008 model I think. (great pack!, only miss hipbelt pockets)||624|
|Montane Halo Stretch eVent jacket (great!)||415|
|Mount Hardwear Epic rain/shell pant (main pant)||222|
|MYOG thru-hiker vest with Climashield Combat insulation (so light and warm!)||178|
|Helly Hansen synthetic bottoms||141|
|Bridgedale hiking socks, wool and synthetic mix I think||55|
|Viking Tracker trail runners||1015|
|Integral Designs shortie gaiters||66|
|Driducks rain jacket (to be used close to the fire to protect my shell from the sparks, but we never made one)||151|
|Montane Jetstream wind shirt||80|
|MLD rain mitts||31|
|Smartwool mid calf socks for sleeping||97|
|Stormberg synthetic long top||191|
|Stormberg synthetic bottoms (didn't really need, but nice to use two long bottoms when I was really cold)||186|
|3m x 3m Dovrefjell Polyester tarp||733|
|Tyvek Homewrap groundsheet||144|
|Tigoat Raven XL bivy||235|
|JRB Sierra Sniveller, stored in sea to summit 13L drybag||716|
|Neoair regular, carried in stuffsack||424|
|Recta thermometer and compass incl. Nite-ize biner||13|
|Panasonic LX3 camera||261|
|3L Camelback with inline filter||357|
|Helsport rain cover (I have to admit that rain covers doesn't work, the pack gets wet eventually)||89|
|Sea to summit long handled aluminium spoon||11|
|Small stainless steel knife (should have left it at home and just used my Moira)||20|
|Moira Classic knife||52|
|Downmat repair kit (Glenn borrowed my Exped Downmat 7)||14|
|Mesh wire bag||26|
|Powermonkey charger for the iPhone||84|
|Camera mount for the tigoat pole||8|
|Some extra guyline||10|
|Small cree flashlight, very bright (didn't really need it)||74|
|2 x grip-clips||10|
|Spinn stuff sack with:||6|
|Toothbrush and tiny transparent jar with organic toothpaste||22|
|2 pack paper handkerchiefs||42|
|cleansing hand gel, small bottle||22|
|4 pcs paracetamol||2|
|Small bottle with a littel bit of dr.Bronners (didn't use)||15|
|Tigoat poles (not so happy with these, have ordered Fizan ones to replace them. Will probably sell the Tigoat ones)||234|
|(I started out with 1-1.5l water and about 2 kilos of food, and I of course wore some of the clothes in the list :). When I started my pack weighed about 9.5 kilos. Note that I didn't carry a stove or a pot. Glenn carried that for the both of us. )|
|- Biggest lesson learned: didn't bring the sealskinz socks since they're leaking in the heel area, so I had wet feet almost all the time which made me cold and miserable :-(. Didn't help that I brought too thin socks, the Bridgedale ones. Borrowed some pure wool ones from Glenn, my hiking buddy, and wore those with the Bridgedale ones on the outside, which helped, but too be honest I would have preferred heavier boots and dry feet. I will try some gore-tex socks to use with wool socks inside next time, or just wear boots|
|- Should have brought a mid layer that covered the arms, not just a vest. Will bring the Thermawrap parka next time, maybe some insulated pants too|
|- Neoair and tigoat bivy is a bad combo, slides all over the place|