Trail Work on the Travel Channel

And now for something not specifically thru-hike related.

Long-time readers might recall my doing a film shoot with a documentary crew last October. If not, click here.

I had been waiting all summer to hear about an airing date.  I did have some contact with the producer, but found out from friends that it had aired.

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Photo of a screen courtesy of Eric Allen.

I had hoped for the advanced notice so I could get the word out.

So here is the advanced warning for the rerun, as listed at The Travel Channel:

Columbia River Gorge
Kayakers Rush Sturges and Evan Garcia ride treacherous whitewater rapids and waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge, explorers enter Mt. Hood’s mysterious caves, and Bill Anders voyages to the natural wonder of Crater Lake.
TUNE IN FOR THIS EPISODE
SUNDAY
September 20
7am | 6c

Even that description has me wondering about the content of the show, since we were doing trail work on the Rim Trail above Crater Lake.

Here’s a trailer for the episode. I am the second voice-over.  The editing is interesting, since the whole time I was discussing Crater Lake specifically, since that was our focus that day.  But I would not disagree with using it to cover the whole state.

If the embed code doesn’t work, just copy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvM1_JDPTug and paste into your browser address field. For you literalists, then press the return/enter key.
____________________________________

Please remember that although this trail work is performed mostly by volunteers, the work is not free.

We have walked about 1,900 miles of this 2,650 mile trail, but are still shy of half of our goal for this hike – to raise $4,000 for the Pacific Crest Trail Association  (PCTA).  The PCTA is the organization responsible for planning, organizing and executing trail development, maintenance and recovery along the entire trail.

For more information on our fundraiser, please browse on over to http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j.

Thank you,
Bill and Jennifer  (Gee…SPOT and BABs)

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Trailwork

If you’d like to continue to see this quality programming…

For long time readers, you know that I typically run a Summer Solstice sale over at my photography site – Bill Anders Photo.

For those of you new here, that’s what I do.

But not this year.

Instead, all I ask is that you consider supporting our fundraiser for the Pacific Crest Trail Association  (PCTA), the organization to oversees and coordinates protection and maintenance of the PCT.

Our goal for this year is to raise $4,000.  We’re currently sitting at $1,595, just under 40% of our goal.

If you’re enjoying the stories that the trail provides, please consider donating through our Razoo site –  http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j – where the minimum donation is just $10.  Since the PCTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, you may be able to deduct your donation on your 2015 taxes (US residents only).

Every little bit helps.

If donating to the PCTA isn’t your thing, please consider instead our local trail advocacy organization, the Siskiyou Mountain Club.

Gabe Tenor runs a very small operation that works to protect and maintain trails in the southwestern Oregon and northern California, including several Wilderness areas.

Another 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the SMC is looking to raise $7,000 by July 1st to fund interns for the summer to restore 30 miles of trail in the Wild Rogue Wilderness.  At last report, they have raised just over $5,200.  Again, every dollar helps.

Please browse over to the SMC Membership page for details.

Thank you all for your support.

Final Stretch

It has been a crazy week since we’ve moved out of the house. But it has all been good.

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In a nutshell, we tied up a few loose ends in Oregon and headed south. 

We spent the weekend with our resupply goddess getting a late delivery of food put together;

We drove south through California’s central valley.  We were planning on taking a couple of days to get to San Diego, but got word that there were just a handful of spaces left at our planned auto storage facility that were first-come, first-served, so we pushed hard to get there and get our spot.  We did;

Then it was last-minute chores of sending out resupply boxes and getting everything ready. But since San Diego is my old stomping grounds as a teenager and Jennifer has never been here, there was food to be enjoyed and places to see.

We will catch a breather before we hit the trail.

I hope.

PCT – Trail Maintenance

In case you weren’t out traveling earlier this month and missed getting a copy of USA Today slid under your room door, there was an interesting article on the state of the National Forest Trail system, which is pretty dismal.

Here’s the article.

One thing you’ll notice in the article is the increasing reliance on volunteers to maintain the trails.

We’re eager volunteers.  Personally, I enjoy the excuse to get out into the wilderness and do some work.  The crew members are great and everyone’s excited to be there to work.

Plus, for me it’s a chance to see new areas and scout out where I’d like to return to shoot photos.  Like this one.

For me, it’s a win-win.

As much as we’d like for the work to get done on its own, just through the love and dedication of the volunteers, it can’t.  For many of the volunteers, they sure wish it could, but it can’t.

So please consider donating to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the non-profit organization responsible for the trail-work coordination and execution, as well as the protection of the trail corridor.

The PCTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, meaning that your donation may be tax deductible on your taxes next year (sorry, if you were looking for an angle on the forms you’re doing now, that ship sailed two months ago).

We are 1/4th of the way to our goal!  Would you please help maintain the trail that Jennifer and I will be walking this year?  Your help will ensure that the trail is available for hikers in the future too.

Please click on the picture of Jennifer and Skinny on the PCT below to lend a hand.

Thank you,

Bill & Jennifer Anders

Jen n Skinny Deadfall

 

 

 

PCT – Permits

Hello everyone.  It has been a while.  My semi-regular posting schedule has been much more semi than regular lately.

Things are rolling quickly.  In just over a month we hand the keys to the house back and we’re effectively homeless.

Not long after that, we’re walking.

Did you catch that? In just over a month…

I’ll let that sink in.

Mostly for us.


Permits

A trek like this isn’t possible without permits.  We cross a lot of public land that is protected for one reason or another, not to mention several National Forests and National Parks.  Each requires a permit.

PCT:  For the purposes of a long-distance hike on the PCT that is longer than 500 miles, the PCTA manages an interagency permit system that covers the myriad permits along the way.  That’s much easier and more efficient than  trying to coordinate with all of the different agencies.

Especially to summit Mount Whitney.

Due to the increasing popularity of the trail, they’ve had to institute a 50-hiker/day start schedule.  That move caused a lot of consternation amongst many hikers, folks who by their very nature are easy-going and just go with the flow.  The new quota meant that we hikers had to pick a date and stick to it.  For those that didn’t jump on the registration site right after it opened, their preferred date might not have been available.

That’s a bit problematic for folks that had already bought airline tickets.  The system is even getting press in The Smithsonian.

But it’s working out.  After the initial consternation, most folks are realizing that the system is the only way to minimize impact on the trail.  Our start date is already full, at the beginning of a stretch of two weeks where every day is fully permitted.  So we’ll see a lot of folks on the trail in those first few weeks.

Campfire: Since we’ll be camping mostly outside of established campgrounds in California, we are required to obtain a campfire permit.  It’s a simple system consisting of watching/reading a short fire prevention presentation, then taking a test.  A successful test completion means a permit.  Done.

Canada: Yep, we need a permit for Canada.  Why?  The final 9-mile stretch of the trail is in British Columbia, finishing in Manning Park.  But there isn’t an official border crossing there, so they need to know we are coming.  Plus, we need the official stamps to show that we aren’t in Canada illegally.

That makes sense.  Otherwise, I might take away someone else’s job at a Tim Hortons.*

Mind you, we don’t have to go into Canada to complete the PCT.  We could stop at the monument right at the US/Canadian border, take our pics and not enter Canada.  But that means a 30-mile hike back to the first US town south.

Since we don’t have anything keeping us from entering Canada (e.g., criminal record), we’re going to keep walking.

The added advantage of going into Canada is that a very good friend lives nearby.  It will be good to finally meet him on his home turf, as we’ve only been able to get together in Germany and here in the US.


That’s it for permits.  It doesn’t seem like much, but the PCT and Canada permits add a bit of stress to the process, as they don’t open for application until so late in the planning.  But it has worked out.  We’re fully permitted.


*Tim Hortons – my only experience with a Tim Hortons has been their furthest east franchise, a lovely garden spot known as Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I must say that they make a fine doughnut.  Hopefully I can get another one at the end of the hike and see if it tastes just as good.

Lint Shakedown

No, not the accumulation of fluffy fibers.

Lint doesn’t sit still long enough for that.

Lint is a rock star in the thru-hiking world.  In the last 11 years, he has completed 11 thru-hikes, including twice earning Triple Crown status, which means that he has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail.  That’s enough of an achievement for most people.  He’s done that twice and is only one trail (Continental Divide Trail) away from earning his third Triple Crown.

The man lives to thru-hike.

Anyway, we found out that he lives right around the corner from us and was willing to get together to look at what we have and give us suggestions.

We were excited about his offer.

Although probably only half as excited as he was.

He and his girlfriend came over and walked into a living room with Jennifer’s gear spread out on the floor.  Lint got right to it, telling us tales of the trail, looking over what we had, giving suggestions and ideas on what equipment we do have and what we’re looking to purchase.

His girlfriend is a relatively newer hiker and she still had plenty of advice, including ideas for Jennifer that Lint couldn’t provide.

It was a fantastic two hours where we learned a lot.  And it reinforced many of the things that we had read about and planned for.

So what was the equipment layout like?  Here’s mine:

Other than a few small items, that’s it.  Well, except for what I was wearing, which, for the most part is what I’ll be wearing on the trail.  Although the red blanket will not be going.  That was just to lay out the gear.

Oh, and the tent.  We don’t have our tent from Yama Mountain Gear yet, but it won’t take up much space at all.  Gen is working very hard getting everything in line for our sponsorship, not to mention coming up with great new tent designs like the brand-new ultralight Swiftline 2-person tent.

From left to right:

  • Backpack – Gossamer Gear Mariposa
  • Electronics – Phone, Headlamp, SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger
  • Sleeping Bag – Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15° Mummy Bag
  • Sleeping Pad – Thermarest NeoAir Xlite
  • Bear Canister in the back (only carried for a few hundred miles in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where it’s required)
  • Kitchen – folding bowl, titanium long-handled spoon, flint lighter, ultra-light camp stove (thanks Mom!)
  • Hydration – Platypus 2L hydration pack (not shown, 2 2L collapsible water bottles)
  • Additional items to be worn – Sun Hat, reflective umbrella (great sun protection), gaiters to keep sand and rocks out of the shoes, extra socks, glasses
  • Extra clothes in the pack – rain jacket, down jacket, extra underwear, sleep socks (helps keep the sleeping bag clean), long underwear, extra hiking socks, neck gaiter and wool beanie.
  • Paper maps and guide book – the maps will be separated into sections and the book will be dismantled so that the appropriate information is filed with those sections.  We won’t carry them all, instead mailing them to different pickup locations along the trail.

Like I said, that’s it for six months (worst case), save the few small items that we need to pick up.

Currently that puts me at just under 14lbs (6.3kg) for my base weight.  Yes, I could go lower, but that also means shelling out a lot of money to replace items that we already have.  So we’re good with what we have right now.

For comparison, Lint’s hiking with a base weight of just over 6lbs (2.7kg).  But getting into that realm of ultra-light hiking requires some experience and self-trust.

Perhaps we’ll get there one day.

It’s Friday.  Do you have any adventures planned?

Rolling Along

It has been a busy week here.  We are less than 100 days from starting our PCT thru-hike.  We have a lot to do between now and then, including moving out of the house.  But we aren’t rushing that.

As of this week, we have about half of the house either in storage, donated or disposed of.  We are working on downsizing, too.  It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate, even moving every few years as I have my entire life.

Too much stuff.

But we’re also walking to do our errands in town, getting the feel for our new backpacks and other items.  Like these Bear Canisters, full of our bi-weekly haul from our CSA.

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The Bear Canisters are required through stretches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  They are supposed to keep the scent in, but really they are just meant to give a bear a big playtoy while it tries to get at the contents as we sleep peacefully nearby.  Ha!

These canisters have been tested with Grizzly bears.  Luckily there won’t be any of those, just black bears.

Each canister holds 11.5 liters of stuff.  Our longest stretch through bear country will be about nine days, so we need to get all of our food, plus any scented items (toothpaste, etc.) in them.

A friend was kind enough to let us borrow his canisters, with the stipulation that they come back scarred from curious bears.  That may or may not happen, as we can’t control the bears.  But it will be fun to see them come late June.

Anyway, he dropped them off for us the same day that we picked up our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery.  It was a perfect trial run with the canisters in our backpacks.

Our CSA is with a local family-run farm.  We sign up with them in the winter so they can grow the vegetables that we won’t in the winter.  Plus, they provide things that we would have never bought from the market, so it pushes us to try different veggies and recipes.  And it actually turns out being cheaper per pound than the markets.  Plus we’re supporting a local farm.

We like that.

There will be more and more posts like this over the next few months.  Hopefully they will help answer the questions that family, friends and casual readers have about our hike.

Speaking of questions, if you have any, ask below.  I may answer right away or I may use it as a topic on a future post.

As always, thanks for reading.

PCT Thru-Hike Sponsorship

Great news!

Goddess and I have been picked up on a sponsorship for our thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) next year.

The primary sponsor is Yama Mountain Gear, run by Gen Shimizu out in Charlottesville,  Virginia.  Gen makes ultra-light shelters and bags, which will help cut my weight by a couple of pounds.

That’s the deal – I carry the house, Goddess carries the kitchen.

Gen is working hard to get other companies on board, which is nice.  But for us, the most important part of the sponsorship is personal access to mentors, folks that have been doing this for a long time.  It turns out that one of them even lives a few miles away.  It will be good to pick their brains as we prepare.

If you’re wondering why that’s the most important part for us – have you ever asked a question on social media in a group of several hundred people?

There’s your answer.

If you’re curious about our thoughts on this, we both have profile pages on the team site:

Goddess

Bill

Yep, for those of you that don’t know, Goddess’ name is really Jennifer.  But on this page (and in real life) she is and will always be Goddess.

Here we are together:


Part of our responsibility with this sponsorship is to do some fundraising for the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA).  You’ll likely remember several of my posts from this past summer where I was out working on the trail with the PCTA.  Next year we can’t work on the trail, but we can do our part by helping fundraise.

I know it’s a tough time of year for everyone.  Especially since it seems that everyone is putting a hand out.  But this fundraiser will go all the way through 2015, so please don’t feel any pressure to act immediately.

However, if you are looking for another opportunity for a tax write off this year (and again next year), here’s your chance since the PCTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Online fundraising for Bill and Jennifer Anders fundraising for the PCTA with mYAMAdventure

As you can see, a couple of folks got a bit antsy (you know who you are), not wanting to wait until the announcement.  That’s awesome!  And Thank You!

I’ll keep you updated as we get closer to the hike.  It’s hard to believe that in just over 100 days we’ll be starting this adventure.