Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Training for the PCT

Even with all the backpacking I have done over the years, when it finally comes down to being serious about the PCT, I know I have to get into shape. I started out going to a local park, Mission Trails. Marines trained there during WWII. The terrain can be steep and rugged, which is great. The problem has been mileage; so I ended up doing laps which became boring.

With some research, trial and error, I started to hike up in the Laguna Mountains, which has many trails, including the PCT that runs along the ridge. The trail I finally decided worked for me is Noble Canyon. I begin in Pine Valley and hike up to a very high elevation, about 9 miles one way where it ends at the Sun Rise HWY. There it connects to the PCT. Round trip ends up to be about 18 miles. I also add miles on the Big Laguna trail. I train as often as I can, and it is starting to pay off. My feet are tougher, my legs stronger and I feel I have much more lung capacity. I now have to work extremely hard to feel the burn.

I carry an old North Face rucksack and last week I was able to train out at Joshua Tree.
I use to carry 20 pounds of water, but now I am up to 30. I also carry a first aid kit, knife, cell phone, power bar, and some kind of fruit. I like oranges, apples, and kiwi shooters are great. Keeping your energy up and staying hydrated is important. Taking care of your feet can be a huge issue out on the trail. I am trying to break in boots, Lowa trekkers and a pair of Scarpa’s. I switch off and on. I still bring running shoes in case my feet can’t take it. What ever works.

I do believe it is so important to train not only to get into shape, but to familiarize yourself with what your body can and cannot do. Example being, how much weight you can carry comfortably and what kind of mileage you can hike each day without being too fatigued, where you might injure yourself or make a mistake. Just as important, is testing your gear. What works for you and what doesn’t is vital, so that once you are out on the trail there won’t be too many surprises.

Training in all kinds of weather is the key, especially in the rain. There is nothing worse than a pack full of wet gear. It not only weighs a “ton”, but you have to find a way to dry it all out. I have been there and it really sucks!

Finally, you are not only training to get your body into shape, but you have to train mentally. For me it is crucial. It can be pretty lonely out on the trail, and you need to focus. So, setting goals are way up on my list. Right now, I read everything I can get my hands on, study maps and I also like to log on to PCTA and read all the trail journals to see what worked and didn’t for others that have done the PCT. I admire each and every one of them.

For now, I am increasing my training, deciding what gear to take, and planning the enormous job of the packing boxes to be mailed along the trip.

Making friends along the trail.

Thank you for reading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great page, and good luck with your trip.