T-Minus 46 days and counting! I really have only three things left to do, train, send a couple of boxes and wait. So, while I wait, now would be a good time to discuss my strategy to complete the first section, Southern California Section-A. It is how I will approach all my sections.
This section starts at the Southern Terminus at the Mexican border and ends in the town of Warner Springs. Warner Springs is the only town in Southern California where it is recommended that I send a resupply box which I will do before I leave. It is 109 miles long and should take 5-to-6 days to complete.
So, I need to either take or acquire six days of food. A rough estimate is that a day’s worth of food is two pounds. If I decided to carry all six days from the start, I’m looking at 12 pounds! That wouldn’t be so bad if there was water to be found every ten miles. However, there are two big stretches without reliable water and this is shaping up to be a dry year.
The first dry stretch is right out of the gate. After I leave Campo, there is no reliable water until Lake Morena at mile 20. Because of this long dry stretch, I’m looking at starting with six liters of water and dry camping at mile 15. The second dry stretch is a 32 mile span from mile 77 to mile 101. Water is heavy. It weighs roughly 2.5 pounds per liter and I need a liter every 5 miles. I do not want to carry a ton of water on top of twelve pounds of food.
So, the logical thing to do is find ways to acquire food on trail. The first strategy is to look to places to resupply in between. Mount Laguna (mile 41) has a post office, so I can send a box there. That means I only need to carry 2 days worth of food to begin. I can reduce that more, because there are burgers in Lake Morena (mile 20) and a C-Store with food, snacks and a deli. So, I will leave Campo with two dinners, snacks and a lunch.
The next place I can stop is at mile 77. There is a store at the Stagecoach Inn and RV Park. There is a store with a deli. If I stay there, I can get a pizza that evening. Another choice is to hitch twelve miles into Julian. Julian is a hiker friendly town with full-service amenities, but it is 12 miles away. My plan is to skip Julian at this point, but I will play it by ear.
The last stretch from 77 to 109 includes a long no water stretch. The good news is that I do not need to carry much food here. If I spend the night in the RV park, I would need just one day worth of food and I would be able to buy dinner in Warner Springs the next day. That leaves more room for the extra water I will have to carry.
By decreasing the amount of food I carry, I’ll significantly reduce my pack weight. The lower the pack weight, the faster and farther I go. The faster and farther I go, the less food and water I need. The less food and water I need, the lower the pack weight.