Daily Log: Pre-Hike/Day 0

0 Pre-Hike 6/14/2021 sunny.

Arriving in Salt Lake City and 102 degree F heat
Met up with Justin and now we’re at the hotel (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Previously I had sent all my gear to Justin. He packed it in his Jeep and drove it to Salt Lake City. After unloading the Jeep he wrote to the rest of the family: “The Gear Refamiliarization Process Begins!”. I call it “Becoming Tartan” (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Almost down for the count

As my last post said I hurt myself. I pulled a groin muscle and had to stop exercising entirely for 6 weeks. I felt that my hike was kaput. I could barely walk. But over time it began to heal. Then I tried exercising with a 12 lb weight belt. The first few weeks I took Advil each morning beforehand. I was sore. I didn’t know if I could hike. Finally I stopped the Advil but I still had pain, burning and tightness. I was depressed and still it didn’t look like I could hike. But over time the pain and tightness lessened. By the beginning of June I was up to 18 lbs and doing 10-12 miles each day. So although I had wanted to be fitter (going longer with a heavier weight) I am going to attempt this last section from South Pass City WY to the Canadian border. This will probably be the hardest hike I’ve ever done. Justin’s support is crucial. I’ll start slowly. So here goes. I have my flight for June 14 to Salt Lake City where I’ll meet Justin. Then we’ll be off to the races, or more likely off-to-the-slow-and-steady-hike.

Training again

On January 1, 2021 I started training again around Austin. I’m training for my last 1268-mile section of the Continental Divide Trail from South Pass City WY to the Canadian border. After the last hike and up until then I’d been sedentary. I started with 3.5 miles per day and so far I have built up to 9.1 miles per day. Also I started with 0 weight and have built up to 12 lbs via my weight vest. Each Saturday I do a long hike also with the vest. Today I included hills. From now on I’ll climbed Mount Bonnell on Tuesdays and Ladera Norte on Thursdays. Today I climbed Mount Bonnell 4 times after starting at Mayfield Park. This was followed by a 2.25 mile loop around and down Balcones Drive back to the park. As a result I have a sore left hip which hopefully will feel better tomorrow.

At the summit of Mount Bonnell wearing my weight vest, reflective sash, hat, headphones and buff for COVID-19 pandemic protection although I’m fully vaccinated since February.

Daily Log: Pre-Hike/Day 0

Prehike 0 – Sunday 7/12/2020 – I will be starting at Guthook’s Southbound mile 1257.6 – We drove from about 7 am until 6:30 pm. It was a long day. We chatted as we drove and the time went by easily. I helped drive, but Justin did the vast majority. At the pull off we found the CDT trail marker and knew we had arrived. I did my final prep as Justin talked to Stephanie on the phone – amazing, we had cell service! After a dinner of chicken, carrots and snow peas I set up my bed – again cowboy camping behind the Jeep with Justin on the roof tent. I plan on leaving as soon as I wake up so we said our goodbyes and our see you soons.

The night before I start I cowboy-camp behind the Jeep. Justin sleeps in the pop-up tent above the Jeep. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Pre-Hike/Day -1

Prehike -1 – Saturday 7/11/2020 – On way to South Pass City WY with Justin in his Jeep. We stopped at Rita Blanca National Grassland for the night. I set up my tent while Justin cooked dinner. Then we sat down in chairs with his table and our plates to eat. A delightful beer later we were done eating and chatting. We looked at the sky in the distance and it looked very threatening. Within five minutes the wind started to blow. It pulled two tent stakes out and my tent collapsed. Hurriedly we got up and started scrambling. Plates away. Table and chairs into the Jeep. I went over and got my tent in my arms and stuffed it into the Jeep. The wind continued to blow. We sat in the Jeep and waited. A front went through. The sky got darker. Next the rain started. And then boom – the lighting began. Flash, flash, Boom, boom. The lightening travelled past us. The rain fell steadily and lightly. The sky behind cleared. and then it was all past. So I began to set up my tent. And in the trailing edge of the storm the wind picked up and rattled the tent. What should I do? The wind was getting stronger and so I decided to put it away. Justin offered that I could sleep in the roof tent, but I finally decided to rough it and cowboy camp – no tent, just under the stars. He angled the Jeep into the wind and he helped me hold down the tent drop cloth while I put down my mat and sleeping bag. It was now 10 pm and dark, so I laid down. Justin climbed into the roof tent. The wind was vicious and blew sand into my face. But overtime the wind died down. It got hot again and I unzipped my sleeping bag into a semi-quilt. Finally around 1 am I fell asleep. Wow, that was something! What a way to start an adventure.

Tent set up before the storm (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Celebration but behind us it looks gray (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
The storm is coming. The wind picks up.
OMG! (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
The rain comes, the wind blows, the storm passes, and then the sun appears
Followed by a massive rainbow

Buzz cut

To maintain my social distancing Justin cut my hair. Or shall I say he “buzzed it off” to 1/4″. I feel so much cooler now and it is very manageable. It feels like I have some hair when I rub it with my hand, but looking at this picture it looks as if I don’t have any at all. Ha! And I love the look on his face. It’s the “OMG What Have I Done to my Dad” look.

Just asks… “Dad, do you want to leave something on the top”. I respond… “Nope”.
Justin is now worried that that he’s done too much!
Nuttin’ left!

Supported hiking

This is a first. My son offered to keep me safe and isolated during to the COVID-19 Pandemic while I hike so he’s going to support me. I will stay on the trail (not go into towns to keep them and me safe) whereas he’ll precede me to the next meeting point. He’ll carry all the resupplies along with a roof top tent and SHOWER – yup a 4.5 gallon pressurized water with a nozzle shower. He drove from California to Austin to pick me up. Also he got a COVID-19 test before he left, which was negative. Together we’ll drive to South Pass City WY where I’ll start hiking and he’ll drive to our next meet-up (see Plan). Hike, meet, repeat…

Just arrived in Austin with Columbus Autohone, the white clamshell attached to roof rack.
A test drive with his sweetheart a few days before with the roof tent popped up. They said the view is great from up there! (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
The shower is the black pipe (black to help with solar heating). It holds about 4.5 gallons of water with a spigot and nozzle at the end. The “T” in the middle is where you fill it with water and there is an air valve so you can pump it up for a pressured shower experience. Slick!
My son, Justin, standing under the shower nozzle shortly after assembling it and mounting it to the roof car rack. I think by now you should have gotten the idea that a supported hike is quite different than normal. (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Equipment and supplies preparation

Each hike requires a certain amount of equipment. I already have most of the stuff, but things wear out and I’ve got to replace them. For example, shoes. On the AT I started with lightweight trail runners and later switched to a hiking boot. So online I purchased one pair of Brooks Cascadia 14 Trail-Running Shoes and two pair of Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoes. Along with them I got a new Petzl rechargeable head lamp and Inova microlight for use in my tent.

Just a small sample of the equipment I recently bought for the section hike.

Then there is consumables, such as food. For example, dehydrated dinners and other items, for example, cherry Tootsie Roll Pops – yup only cherry – sixty of them – Yum!

About 50 dehydrated dinners and 60 cherry Tootsie Roll Pops for dessert

I can’t say I have everything, but I have enough to get started. Then it’ll be up to me and Justin to fill in anything missing when we’re on the trail.