First the differences…
Instead of asking if I can I bring my hammock, I ask what parts of the trail go through mountains and which are at lower elevations. Whether I bring a hammock is not up for debate anymore. I anticipate sleeping on the ground some nights, but I am confident I’ll find some hang sites too.
I don’t spend any time trying to figure out what towns to stop in. ALL OF THEM. The questions become “what time does the diner open for breakfast” and “which restaurants have burgers, ice cream, and fast wifi.” Priorities are clearly defined.
Minimal time is spent on gear. Everything that I carried last year on the PCT suited me well, that I see no reason to change. I do replace things that are worn out — water containers and water filter. Gossamer Gear provided me with a new pack when I went to Moab (since I am a Trail Ambassador) and it is shiny and doesn’t smell bad. Everything else does though.
|Exciting new gear-- no holes or funky smells!|
|GPS tracks for the Arizona Trail and cryptic waypoint labels loaded onto Gaia GPS on my iphone.|
My training isn’t much different from last year, except that I didn’t have to build up my pack weight since I never stopped carrying my full pack after I got off the PCT. I go hiking pretty much everyday, carrying my backpack (with all my gear and tire chains to fill in for the weight of food) for 5-7 miles on rugged trails. I did this more to relax and to be outdoors rather than serious training though.
|Training hikes with full pack plus tire chains.|
I’m staying off the food for now.
Oh how some things never seem to change!