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  • gspencer16

Let the Planning Begin

As most people know I love backpacking in the woods as I try to get out there as much as possible. However living in Oklahoma leaves me with very little options so I try my best to get away as often as I can.

My love for backpacking started when out of blue I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) back in 2004. I thought might as well try something big like that since I had just

finished college and had no responsibilities. After finishing the 2178 mile trail from Georgia to Maine I caught the hiker bug that I knew I would never lose. I will say I never thought I would give another long thru-hike trail a try again as I felt I had done it once and why do it again.

After the AT I still would go on section hikes on different trails, some times back to the AT. Most of my time was spent on the east coast so I started looking out west. So in the summer of 2015 I started asking friends of good places to hike on the west coast. Someone recommend looking at the John Muir Trail which is about a 200 mile trail in the high Sierra Nevada range from Mt Whitney to Yosemite Valley. So started doing some research on it and there was were 3 letters that would always pop up when reading about it, PCT, which stands for Pacific Crest Trail. So I found myself researching that as well, its a 2650 mile trail on the west coast that stretches from Mexico to Canada. It had everything, desert, snow, tall mountains, river crossings, forest and just about every climate you could think of. At first I thought that would be cool to do but I didn't know if I could pull off another thru-hike mainly as I had a job I liked and figured I would have to quit it to go thru-hike.

After spending a little time thinking it over I felt like this was something I wanted to do but I thought there was a way for me to thru-hike and keep my job. So I went to talk with the head school about taking 3 months off to go hike. By this point I was 100% into going and even said that I was going no matter what but it turned out the head of the school was on board with me taking the time off to do it. So I spend the next 8 months planning which was about 8 more than I did for my AT hike as I knew this would be a much different trail.

I had a blast on the PCT and didn't want that hike to end but I knew I had to be back as cross country season had just started and the kids needed their coach.

Life after the PCT was a little different than the AT, I really missed hiking and wanted to get back to it as soon as possible, something I didn't really feel after the AT. However I knew that I still had one more trail I had to hike, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). The CDT is about a 3000 mile trail from Mexico/New Mexico border traveling through the Colorado Rockies, through Yellowstone National Park and finishing in Glacier National Park at the Canadian border. The CDT would be the last piece of the US Hiking Triple Crown for me as I had already done the AT and PCT. The rule is you either just do one or all three. So not too long ago I figured it was time to knock that off the list as I will be turning 40 in April. My body isn't getting any younger and being in good shapes really helps with thru-hiking. However you don't have to be that in shape to pull it off but it does make putting in 30+ mile days easier.

Not much planning has gone on yet. I'm in the process of figuring out my gear list as I'm looking to change things up from my PCT hike. Possible look at getting a new pack, something a little lighter but still weighing my options. I am almost certain I'll keep with my same tent as it has worked out great for me. I have purchased one thing already, a bear bag, as I'll be going through more remote areas along with through grizzle country.

You can check out my gear list from my PCT hike by clicking here.

I still have lots of things to get done before I leave in May like finishing my gear list, pick all my routes (there are lot of alternates to take on this hike), figure out mail drops just to name a few. I will post several more times between now and when I leave.

You can check out my AT and PCT blogs.

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