Returning to Trail and Gear Changes

I have a one-way ticket to LAX for Tuesday and a rental car reserved for a week.  I am finally returning to the trail now that I’m healthy, but there is a catch.  There is always a catch.

After I bought the ticket, Kennedy Meadows was doubly dumped upon.  First, it was dumped on with snow.  Eighteen inches in fact.  Many people who were attempting to enter the Sierra Mountains were forced to turn back.  Because of that, there are too many backpackers sitting in Kennedy Meadows.  Now, Kennedy Meadows does not have public facilities, so you are talking about a large number people digging a large number of cat holes.  That is the second dumping.  Needless to say, I’m counting my blessings.

Fish Tank has hitched out of Lake Isabella, the town before Kennedy Meadows.  When I get to Los Angeles, I will pick up Fish Tank and we will sight see for a couple of days until Chef and Feinschmecker reach Lake Isabella.  We’ll help them resupply and rest.  Once we are ready to go, the four of us will hike together to Kennedy Meadows, a 50 mile hike, with a plan of spending just one night in Kennedy Meadows to pick up our resupply boxes and hike on into the Sierra Mountains.

What we are not going to do is flip-flop like some hikers are choosing to do.

I know, you are wondering about Little John.  Well, Little John is off-trail.  While hiking with Fish Tank, his ankle started to act up.  Turns out his Achilles separated from the bone.  He is looking at eight weeks in a boot, and his hike is probably done.

While I’ve been home, I’ve made a couple of gear changes.

First, I’ve replaced my Thermarest Camp Seat with a Thermarest Z-Lite Small sleeping pad.  After loosing two sleeping pads due to failures, I’ve decided to add some weight for protection and better sleep.  I’ve tested using the Thermarest Pro-Light Regular with the Z-Lite and it is extra comfortable.  This adds 7.6 ounces to my base weight.  Sleeping on a flat inflatable sleeping pad sucks, however.

I added a small Walgreen’s ankle brace, because injuries.  It weighs 1.6 ounces.

As we are getting ready to enter the Sierra Mountains and Kennedy Meadows saw heavy snow, I upgraded my base layer to a mid-weight set.  That added about seven ounces.

It was also an opportunity to look at what I did not use.  One piece of gear that I never used was my glasses.  I wore just my contacts the whole hike.  As I’ve written before, I prefer exercising in contacts instead of glasses.  That removes not only the glasses, but the case and a small glasses repair kit.  That saved 6 ounces.

With a new mid-grade top base layer, I no longer needed my laundry shirt, so while I used it, I no longer need it.  That saved 5.6 ounces.  My cool 1.2 ounce laundry shorts, the envy of the PCT, remain.

With these changes, my base weight at 14.93 pounds, or five ounces lighter than I originally left Campo.

My gear is packed and I’m ready to go.  I’ll be in Southern California on Tuesday, but I will not immediately return to trail.  We’re looking at entering Kennedy Meadows about June 8th, assuming it is safe to hike.


3 thoughts on “Returning to Trail and Gear Changes

  1. JP, It’s good to hear that your injury didn’t keep you down and gave you an opportunity to see your family and restructure your hiking gear. Safe travels for you and your fellow hikers! We are enjoying this great adventure through your blog! Prayers for you from your friends in Clinton, WI.


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