Day 58: 20.5 | 1557.7

Woke up at 5AM. It was pretty cold. Actually threw on my down jacket and started hiking with my rain coat and gloves on. Broke camp at 5:30. 

Made it to highway 3 by noon. Felt nice to be done hiking by then. The hitch was difficult, very few cars were driving by. There were four other hikers there that needed to get into town but they were just sitting there and not trying to hitch. I walked about 50ft away and threw up a thumb. Eventually got a ride at 12:45. Got a room at the Motel Etna for $65, kind of pricy but whatever, I need some kind of break. 
First thing I did in town was head to the local burger joint where I destroyed a nice burger, fries and a banana split. From there I went to the dollar general and bought some food. Went back to my room and did the usual hiker chores when in town. I got to use a real washer and dryer for free, so I threw in a ton of detergent and fabric softener. From there I sat on the bed and watched TV and used the wifi which was really strong
At 8 I went to a restaurant and had a huge plate of pasta and some pie, it really filled me up, felt great. Check out is at noon so I’m going to get every minute out of my money, plus I need the rest. 

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9 thoughts on “Day 58: 20.5 | 1557.7

  1. Hi there, nothing specific to say or ask. Just wanted to throw out there that I check your entries daily to see if there’s any new post and I’m super enjoying reading every single one. Also, think you’re pretty awesome in a sarcastic kind of way. Hopefully, I’ll be able to be where you are by next years. For sure , keep posting and good luck.

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  2. Reading all of it, over a week or so. Getting all my crap together and reading over your blog to see if there’s anything I need to look out for. I start April 4th, due to circumstances I couldn’t go later. Probably hit KM pretty early, snow is supposed to be a record this year.

    Won’t sit around there for weeks waiting on it to get better, probably head south and go back and forth a few hundred miles or something, at least hike to be doing stuff, or visit Sequoia or something.

    Do they sell crampons and ice axes at KM? Bear cans? Might have to order that stuff somewhere else and have it shipped there.

    I did the AT in 2010, life got in the way, but it’s hard to believe I waited this long to do another thru. I’m a vet as well, OIF 04, know you mentioned you were too.

    Came here from Reddit, don’t post there much, but I read a few of your answers on there and came here to read up and get some more info.

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    • Thanks for the comment. Didn’t think anyone was looking at this anymore. Glad I could help. As far as KM goes, I do remember see bear cans being sold there, but not ice axes or crampons, I wasn’t really looking though. I think crampons might be a little much, micro spikes should be enough.

      If I were hiking the PCT this year I wouldn’t want to hit the Sierra until late June. The snow levels seem crazy. I don’t know your fitness level but with an early April start you’ll probably get to KM too early. Depending on when you get there you should consider flipping up north and hiking SOBO.

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      • I’m pretty fit. Did mid 20’s every day on my AT thru, biggest day there was a 37 in Pennsylvania. Taking walks in a local park at the moment, and around town. Even not walking much, I can generally get up and out of the house and do 10 miles or so before I get tired. I’m 5’11, and hike about 3MPH on average, base weight is around 9lbs, changed some stuff and have a scale coming next week.

        Yeah, the problem is my start date is pretty much set in stone. I have to move, for reasons beyond my control. I’m about 30 mins south of Seattle, and don’t know when I’ll be on the west coast again, and rent here is ungodly expensive, I live with my aunt so I’m getting cheaper rent, apts here are 800-1100 a month otherwise. I get VA disability, finally, after 12 years applying for it, so the money isn’t a problem, I just feel like paying that much is a huge waste.

        I got a friend I met on the AT in Waynesboro(later, not on my thru) and she is coming out to CA, so I might hang with her or whatever.

        Honestly, looking at my fitness level, it’s pretty likely I’ll hit KM in a month, 6 weeks at the latest. I’d say with how bad the snow will be this year, and based on your descriptions of your hike, they may actually block that section off for a couple months, if it is too dangerous to travel. I’ve done dangerous shit, being deployed, obviously, but I’m not going to get macho and stupid and try it anyways if the conditions are severe enough.

        Like I said, it might be so bad by the time I get there that it will be closed off, I’ll most likely hit KM mid May, or even earlier. It won’t bother me to turn around and do some hiking back down the trail, or go to Sequoia or something for a month, or travel around the state, and come back.

        I’m pretty flexible with what happens, I can end up turning it into a long section hike or whatever if that’s what happens, though I was hoping for a thru. Up here is pretty bad with the snow as well, at least on the PCT section, so flipping north might not help much. I’ll see.

        You have any plans on doing the CDT eventually? I’ll probably do that one eventually, need to go back to TN and finish college after this one though.

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      • If you did 20s on the AT then you’ll have zero issue on the PCT. The AT is WAY harder to hike than the PCT, night and day difference. It’s true what they say, 20s on the AT are 30s on the PCT. Not to mention your base weight is real low which helps. My hiking pace is around 2.7MPH so I just did big miles by hiking 15+ hours.

        I’m willing to bet you’ll hit KM in under a month. The desert really isn’t that hard. I did it sub 30 even with all the detours and side trails. I definitely wouldn’t recommend starting the Sierra at anytime in May. Met an old dude who got there the first week of May and said there was no trail, and again, this was an average snow year.

        And yeah, I heard Seattle is a hot spot these days. There’s suppose to be 5-6 people moving there every day. Looked like a nice city when I was there though. I did spend 6 months living in NYC though, paid 900/month to live in a hallway that was in a bad neighborhood.

        I’m actually planning on doing the CDT this year, probably SOBO. Just started planning it. I probably won’t blog it though, instead I’m gonna try to vlog it and put it on YouTube afterwards.

        I’ve been out of the Marines for a few years now and I’ve given up on trying to get VA compensation. Took them 8 months just to return phone calls after applying. Had to cancel one appointment because I was out of state and they took it as an appointment missed and threw my claims out the window.

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      • Yeah, for the VA thing, it is notoriously difficult. It took me 12 years, and even then I have another C&P exam in 2020 to decide whether they want to change it, get rid of it, or leave it as is. I went through Rep For Vets, a company in FL, they take 20% of your lump sum payment, they got it much faster than expected. You need to have a documented history with the VA or a hospital with treatments and such on your record. I personally had about 4 years or so of treatment records, periods of homelessness and such, hospitalizations, ect.

        Also, your 201 file should have stuff on injuries in service, have a shitload of documented evidence. That’s what helped me, no guarantees of course. I try to help other veterans when possible because I know it took forever for me, and that seems pretty common. Hadit.com is another good resource. I did get denied and claims dropped multiple times through the years.

        I mainly had to go ultralight because of injuries and skeletal issues. You know how it goes, carry a shitload of weight for years, way more than is sane. So it was either ultralight, or not backpack at all. I’m a wanderer, and love to explore. I moved here to smoke legally, and though it has helped more than all the meds, sitting around just getting baked all the time gets old fast. My thru hike probably helped me more than anything else I did. I get a modest amount from my disability, and living frugally, I could afford to hike year round if I want. Might eventually do that. I get bored renting and living in one place too long, and I barely own much more than hiking gear. Rent always seemed pretty extravagant, when I look at what I would spend in 2 months of rent, you could outfit yourself with all top of the line ultralight gear, and even the costly UL tarptents are half a month’s rent, and so pay for themselves.

        I’ve just always been like I have a tent, so why rent? Even on the AT I tented and took woods zeros, rarely got a motel, my whole thru ended up being $2,300 and I could have gone even cheaper if I needed.

        Yeah, agreed on the Sierras, I’ll find something to do, whether rehiking the desert portion or whatever, going somewhere else to explore, I’ll figure it out when I get there.

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      • If I got a good chunk of disability I would definitely just hike and travel. Have a friend that makes 80 or 90%, I think that’s around 40K/year, crazy. I don’t have any major issues so I don’t know if it would be worth it. I know I have hearing damage, so that’s 10%. Not much else though.

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      • Yeah, not sure in that case, you would have to check with your doctors, get a physical and such, there’s probably multiple things. I don’t even have hearing damage(no time to put in earplugs and such in combat), bad knees, and some back issues on mine.

        I wouldn’t even go back to finish college right now honestly if I wasn’t 2 classes away from my degree. I fought too hard, took too many hard classes(nuclear physics and calc 2) and stressed too much about it to not complete it, so I’m going to just go back and get it out of the way. I know it might screw me in the future with disability on my C&P exam, the VA will be like you have a Chemistry degree, so you should have no problem working, despite the fact I’ve had to drop out 6 times for the medical service connected reasons, and I’m going on 12 years for a 4 year degree and still not done.

        But, after school, I’ll probably just hike and travel, it just keeps coming back and nagging me that I need to finish, just too close, despite the fact that I’ll probably never use it.

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