Sunday, August 9, 2015

Major shakedown hike

Will I be ready for my big three week long backpacking vacation next week?  Time for a shakedown!

First, gear testing.  I’ve got the same stuff I took on the PCT and AZT, due to my AmeriCorps budget (i.e. no new gear).  So I had to test out if the fresh superglue and patches will hold my old gear together.  So far, so good.
Did you really want gear photos when there are views like this?  Didn't think so.  You're welcome.
I did pull the trigger on a replacement toothbrush and new plastic ziplocks.  The new ziplocks were sort of shiny and smelled too clean, but hopefully I will adjust.  And they will get dirty soon enough. 

I next turned to assessing my physical fitness.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I really didn’t pay any attention because the scenery was too beautifully distracting.  I climbed up a mountain just to have somewhere to go and didn’t calculate elevation change until after the trip (4000 feet). I like climbing uphill. It felt good. I hope I get to climb some more.
Evidence that I do sometimes end up peakbagging, if only by mistake.
Without gear or fitness worries, I focused on practicing my skills.  My upcoming backpacking trip will take me to new and challenging terrain, so I want to be sure I am well versed in the techniques that will get me through.
Went for a swim to practice my cooling off and floating around skills.  Then worked on sitting by the side of the lake and watching water striders.
I tend to get overconfident in my botanizing and take unnessary risks like thinking I will see a plant a second time and not stopping to take photos if I think the lighting could be better in a little while.  This shakedown hike really made me dig deep and revise my posey bagging priorities.  Because really it's the mental challenges that are the biggest.
Huckleberry pickin and eatin.  Definitely need more practice.
Think I have the cloudwatching down.  Still not good at cloudwalking.  But will keep trying.
I will not be blogging from the trail and I’m not telling you where I’m going.  But I will say that I’m super duper excited that my friend Arizona that I hiked with on the PCT will be flying out to join me.  Yippee!

Trip notes
This was a solo dayhike in the Swan Range of northwestern Montana.  Not gonna specify where exactly because I only saw 2 other people and really appreciated the solitude.  Huge thanks to C. for telling me about this spot!


  1. You might consider hiking some Montana sections of the CDT. My favorites are The Bob, the Pintlers, and Big Hole Pass.

    1. I was planning to hit the Bob, but am watching the fires and getting nervous. Thanks for suggesting the other CDT sections- I'll have to check them out they weren't on my list since I don't know much about other regions of Montana.

  2. said pull the trigger. :-D

    1. Couldn't resist! Hasn't been much trigger pulling lately, so much anticipation.

    2. I've pulled the trigger a lot lately and it has nothing to do with backpacking and I'm having a blast!

  3. Hey Hemlock, Say hi to Arizona for me and have a blast on your trip. Happy Trails -SlowBro

  4. wow! you like what I like. i went in, (possibly the same TH as you) Aug10-15 and on the first night was passed by a group of 15 (class from UM) heading where I was heading. i found a couple lakes off-trail to visit as plan B and sort it out with some of my personalities. There were no-shows but we did have a quorum--mostly old business on the minutes. So over 72 hrs with no people and then hiking out i get a 6 mule pack train, 3 dirt bikes, a mountain bike, and a group of 12 day hikers in the parking lot. It would be nice if we could have a longer chat re these outings as I do appreciate people who see nature as something other than opportunities to conquer or kill. You seem to have done a good job preparing, practicing, and prioritizing your hiking essentials although I did note the absence of coffee, chocolate, and licorice. Am very glad, as are you, your first bear encounter was non-eventful. I always am flustered regarding camera vs bear spray; which to prepare first. Welcome back and yeah Joan W !!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi there C! This was a wonderful trail recommendation! Haha really enjoy your mini-trip report here, with the solitude and then... not so much... :) Yes I agree we must have another chat sometime-- I keep hoping I'll meet you out on the trail again one of these times but I must be just missing you. You're absolutely correct my coffee and licorice priorities were lacking this time, though I did well with the chocolate consumption. Must practice more.

      Ah, bears... Always a struggle to prioritize the camera and bear spray-- though I just hiked with one gal who was all gung-ho about getting a photo of a grizzly until we had one right next to us and then changed her mind about the camera.