Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blogs and Yahoo Groups

Haven't bought any more gear yet.  I plan to purchase ultralight sleeping bags for the three of us after the New Year.  Those things are expensive, so I need to save up.  I don't mind spending the money, since I/we will use the bags over the coming years (assuming the bags survive the JMT).

I continue to worry about my backpack weight.  Carrying food for three people for days on end will be a challenge.  I have to go ultra-ultra-light to make this trip work.  The girls should be fine, since they won't be carrying anything more than what they already carried on the Camino.

Someone directed me to Heather and Sierra's PCT blog.  Heather (aka "Mama Bear") is mom to nine-year-old Sierra (aka "Monkey") -- I plan to read through their JMT section carefully and note their gear.  I have to say, it was refreshing to find their site -- besides me and the girls, I didn't know of any other mom-young daughter(s) hiking teams.  We need more moms and daughters out there!

A friend put me in touch with the moderator of a JMT Yahoo Group.  I'll join that group this week and start perusing the current and archived posts.

I guess you could say the next couple of months will be all about information gathering.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gear -- Bear Canister, Tent, and Guidebook

***Many thanks to Gail Smith for her recent donation to our Feeding America virtual food drive!  We are almost 20% to our goal of $2104.  Help feed Americans in need -- every cent you donate goes directly to Feeding America!  ***

We've settled on our bear canister -- the ultralight Expedition from Wild Ideas.  This should hold three or four days of food for me and the girls.  It's on the pricey side, but it's the lightest approved canister on the market, and I know I'll use it on my own when I eventually thru-hike some or all of the National Scenic Trails (that's a long-term goal of mine and fodder for a different post).

Our tent will be the Tarptent Rainshadow 2.

Our guidebook -- Elizabeth Wenk and Kathy Morey's John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Famous Trail.

More later...

Friday, October 4, 2013

JMT 2014, Feeding America, and The Clymb

It’s October already!  Time to start gathering gear for our next long-distance adventure, the John Muir Trail in 2014!

First…let the fundraising for Feeding America officially begin!

Last March and April, the girls and I walked the 500-mile Camino Frances route of Spain’s Camino de Santiago to raise $10,000 for Global Fund for Women and GirlVentures, two female-empowering, nonprofit organizations.  For the John Muir Trail in 2014, we’re turning our focus to poverty in America.  Specifically, we want to help obtain groceries for families in need.  

This is where you come in.  From now until the end of our thru-hike (September 2014), you can contribute to our virtual food drive.  Donate directly to our page on Feeding America’s website.  Whatever you can afford will be great -- every cent helps!  Our fundraising goal is $2200 – that’s roughly ten dollars for every mile of the John Muir Trail.  $2200 is enough money to buy 17,600 meals!

Gear Gathering

This is going to be a long trek…and guess who’ll be carrying almost all the food?  You guessed it – Mama (me).  The girls are old enough and strong enough to carry everything else they’ll need, but I’ll have to shoulder all the food weight.  Since we can only resupply a few times during our thru-hike, I will sometimes have to carry five+ days of food for three people.  Since I can’t get around the necessity of carrying a lot of food, I’ll have to shave pounds off our gear.  This means replacing almost everything we now own with ultra-light versions of…well, everything.  I’ll also need new hiking shoes, and the girls will need new shoes and clothes (kids grow too quickly!). This is where The Clymb comes in.  There’s no way I can afford to pay full price for every piece of clothing and gear we need to buy.  Thankfully, The Clymb offers top quality, name-brand gear for insanely discounted prices.  For example, they’ve got a Lafuma sleeping bag on sale right now for $64.98 (the regular price is $120)—that’s the same brand the girls and I have used on every camping trip we’ve ever taken.  That’s over five years of backwoods camping – plus, we recently used our Lafumas on the Camino.  Good stuff.  Another example –  footwear.  The trail runners I used on the Camino are (understandably) falling apart, so I’m about to purchase the boots I’ll use on the John Muir Trail.  The Clymb has the same stuff I’d get at REI, EMS, or Lahouts…but at theclymb.com, it’s all 40-80% off the usual price.  Merrells, Vasques, Garmont, Keen – the inventory is excellent.  I currently have my eye on the Hanwag GTX, but I’ll let you know what I eventually decide to buy.

So…over the next few months, I’ll be purchasing upgraded gear for me and the girls.  I’ll get what I can at theclymb.com first (why pay full price if you don’t have to?) – what The Clymb doesn’t have (ultralight tents, for example), I’ll purchase elsewhere.  Stay tuned – I’ll start posting the details of our gear list next week.  In the meantime, donate what you can to Feeding America!