PCT Section Hike – 8/23 to 8/28 – Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass

I’ve had a chance to decompress from the PCT section hike from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass a few weeks back. What a great trip! Enjoy the pictures and the stories!

A few stats for you, as a teaser for the rest of this post:

  • Miles Covered: ~70 over 6 days
  • Thru-hikers who blazed by us: 3
  • Trail names earned: 2
  • Deep knife wounds: 1 (but, tears shed: 0, so we’re all good)
  • Whiskey imbibed: 1.5 liters
  • Cuben fiber and other lightweight gear conversations: Far too many, considering the amount of whiskey we were carrying clearly offset any weight savings from our gear.

— As a side note, I’ve accepted a position blogging for Appalachian Trials (http://appalachiantrials.com/), and I’ll be moving my main blogging over to Appalachian Trials starting with my next post! You can sign up to receive notifications for my posts at my Author page. Please visit http://appalachiantrials.com/author/vinny-tagliatela/ and enter your email address!–

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Wildfires Make Fools Of The Best Laid Plans

Hey, remember a few days ago how I said I was going on a 6-night backpacking trip near Ross Lake? Well, apparently wildfires have caused rockslides closing our only route in or out, plus they’ve evacuated the Ross Lake resort.

Funny how real life interferes with your best laid plans, right?

Have no fear, hiking friends – We have found an equally beautiful trip: The ~75 mile route from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie pass along the Pacific Crest Trail.

That’s the beauty of backpacking – No cancellation fees at hotels, just a change from one fantastic experience to another.

Here’s a YouTube video shot on our planned route: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHTp8HxAKa0

And here’s our estimated route (Day 2 we will be going a few miles off trail to visit Robins Lake for the night): http://www.routeyou.com/en-us/route/view/4147174/hiking-route/stevens-pass-to-snoqualmie-pct

Very excited for the (new) trip!

Upcoming 6-night PCT Backpacking Trip

On Saturday, I’ll embark on a 6-night, 72-mile backpacking trip in Washington state. This trip will be my primary gear shakedown for my Appalachian Trail attempt next year.

I’ll also be attempting to blog on my phone, similar to what I’ll be doing on the AT. Although we won’t have cell service, I’ll be putting up daily journals and pictures upon my return on the 29th.

Our full route map can be found here: http://www.routeyou.com/en-us/route/view/4144933/hiking-route/pct-pac-nw-ross-lake-trip

Zoomed Route

Here’s our planned schedule:

  • Saturday, August 22nd: Fly into Seattle, and make final preparations in the afternoon before car-camping at the Route 20 trailhead that evening with our gracious driver, who helped us determine the route. The trail head is about 3 hours away from Seattle.
  • Sunday, August 23rd: We’ll start on the PCT at Route 20, at the Rainy Pass Trailhead through Methow Pass (6600′), camping around Golden Creek for a 10-15 mile day.
  • Monday, August 24th: Head further up the PCT through Glacier Pass and Tatie Peak, for a Harts Pass camp area campsite.
  • Tuesday, August 25th: Head North to Holman Pass where we branch off the PCT onto the Pacific NW trail, and set camp near the trail.
  • Wednesday, August 26th: Head West through Deception Pass, Devils Pass and end up by Devil’s Dome for a nice, open camp area.
  • Thursday, August 27th: Head down to Ross Lake, follow the Pacific NW trail back towards route 20.
  • Friday, August 28th: An easy ~9 miles along the lake on the Pacific NW trail to get picked up at Route 20.

Looking forward to the adventure!

Rediscovering The Beginner’s Mind – How I Learned to Love Learning Again Through Backpacking

As I previously mentioned in my About Me section, before I got on my Appalachian Trail kick, I’d never spent more than a night or two in the woods. I’m about as far from an Eagle Scout as you can get. This process of learning about backpacking and preparing for the Appalachian Trail has been an exhausting process over the last year.

But the learning process has also been one of the most beautiful times of my life, thanks to my rediscovery of “The Beginner’s Mind”.

What is The Beginner’s Mind?
The beginner’s mind is the concept of maintaining an open, creative, childlike mind with new subjects – Approaching learning every day as the beautiful process that it is.

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PCT 6-day Section Hike – Selecting a Backpacking Menu

Internet hiking pals,

The 2016 Appalachian Trail prep continues this week, as I try to figure out my backpacking menu for an upcoming trip!

In late August, my group of four friends will be doing a 5-night, 6-day section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington, along the North Cascade mountains near the Canada border.

Our tentative plan is as follows, specially curated by a close friend from the Seattle area:

Day 1: We’ll start on the PCT at Route 20, at the Rainy Pass Trailhead through Methow Pass (6600′), camp around Golden Creek for a 10-15 mile day.
Day 2: Head further up the PCT through Glacier Pass and Tatie Peak, for a Harts Pass camp area campsite.
Day 3: Head more North to Holman Pass where we branch off the PCT and set camp near the trail.
Day 4: Head West through Deception Pass, Devils Pass and end up by Devil’s Dome for a nice, open camp area.
Day 5: Head down to Ross Lake.

Day 6: An easy ~9 miles along the lake to get picked up.

Total mileage is ~77 miles in 6 days.

Since this will be a 6-day trip with no resupply, we’ll need to think through our menu choices carefully, as we’ll be carrying all the food right from the beginning of the trip. I thought this would be a great chance to become more aware of a backpacker’s needs.

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First Look – My New Zpacks Solplex Tent

Interweb hiking friends,

One major problem confronting thru-hikers is how to assemble a sleep system for 6 months on the trail. For most hikers, this includes a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. These three items can easily suck up $1,000+ from a hiker’s budget for top-tier, ultralight equipment.

Given that next year I’ll be carrying this tent on my back for six months and thousands of miles, I decided to pay a premium for an ultralight, cuben fiber tent from Zpacks called the Solplex, which I got to assemble for the first time this weekend! Pictures below.

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I Made An Ultralight Backpacking Pot Koozie!

Hopeless Pink Blazers,

The hiking preparation continues! This week, we lose one fewer eyebrow, and gain one badass homemade pot koozie.

The Problem

Running out of stove fuel while multiple days outside of town is a fear of every experienced backpacker. Not only does it mean you can’t heat up your 3 boxes of Annie’s Mac and Cheese, it also means you can’t boil water to purify drinking water if your filter breaks.

Proper fuel conservation techniques will help avoid catastrophe in the backcountry. Take it from me: A clearly very inexperienced backpacker.

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On Testing Camp Stoves (Or, That Time I Almost Burned Down My Apartment)

Hapless Wanderers,

Let me preface this story by making one thing clear: I consider myself to be a relatively smart person. I read books. I manage to make it to work in downtown Chicago five days a week without getting hit by a taxi. At one point I even knew the difference between stalactites and stalagmites, thanks to an Geology 101 class in college. (I no longer know the difference. Feel free to inform me in the comments.)

Apparently, camp stoves are where they draw the “Intelligence” line these days.

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