Getting ready for my big walk
August 2, 2007
As I stepped onto the Pacific Crest Trail the sun beat down and the hot air was still, but I had goose bumps.
For some reason, on this short day hike, it finally hit me – I’m hiking the entire Tahoe Rim Trail, starting this Saturday. The nerves and question marks surrounding the trip melted away as I steadily ground my way up Sugarbowl.
I was out to test my gear, and myself, with one week to go before starting my long walk chipping away at the 165 mile trail that will be my entire world for two weeks.
But what a wonderful world to escape to, and what better way to get to know the natural surroundings of Lake Tahoe.
So what kind of gear does one carry for a two week loop around the lake?
I’m glad you asked.
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Water will be the number one concern on the trail, so a light and easy way to carry lots of liters is key.
I will be using one two-liter Platypus water bladder with a hydration hose inside my pack, and two one-liter Platypus bladders outside the pack. Lets hope that’s enough…
Up on ridges, the trail won’t be a shady walk in the woods.
Instead of slathering on layer after layer of sunscreen for 14 days, I’ll be using a long-sleeve, button up, synthetic hiking shirt from Mountain Hardwear. It looks like a dress shirt, but offers the versatility of rolled up sleeves, flipped up collar, and buttoned down front for temperature regulation.
Add an Army-surplus boonie hat with full brim, and here’s hoping I’ll keep the oily stuff to a minimum.
Ten to 15 mile days are hard on your feet no matter how you cut it, so I’ll be doing what I can to keep mine happy.
Injinji Tetrasoks, like gloves for your feet, separate your toes from rubbing each other – or so I’ve heard. I’ll get back to you on this one.
Salomon XA pro 3d trail runners, instead of big-ol’ boots, are lighter and more breathable, and offer enough support when carrying an ultralight pack.
And REI Peak UL trekking poles (you know, the things that look suspiciously like ski poles), take some of the strain off my legs and feet, after a few trips with them, I’m hooked.
Lastly, with the mostly reliable summer weather of the Sierra, I’ll be leaving the full-blown rain suit at home, instead bringing a Golite Poncho, which ways a scant 10 ounces, and will also cover my pack in that freak afternoon thunderstorm.
If I can convince my trail companions, I’ll even leave my tent at home and turn the poncho into a one-man tarp to call home at night.
This will be my longest hike to date, and my first big hike with ultralight gear, so check back in the Sierra Sun and Tahoe World over the next few weeks to see how the gear, and I, do.