Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Do What Abraham Did

John 8:39-40 Read it yourself

Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Belief is not just the working of the head, thinking and agreeing, but putting the words into action.

Abraham left his country of origin when God said go.
Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac when God said to do it.
Abraham listened to the promises of God and accepted them (although there is the instance of him trying to fulfill the promise with Hagar).
Abraham spent the rest of his life living in tents in the promised land as a "sojourner" without a home.

Abraham died without seeing the fulfillment of the promise God made to him (offspring as the sand on the seashore or the stars in the sky).

I must be patient and wait for God to fulfill the promises he has placed within my heart. - I want to speak effectively. Communicating God's word and the message of the kingdom in a way that people understand and apply in their own lives.

Lord, I know your promises are true and that you are faithful and do things in your own time. Encourage me to wait and be patient for your time. Help me to live each day as if it were my last and to be mindful of your presence in my life.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The joy of nature

We hiked for most of the evening. The time was most pleasant in that we were not hurrying and slowly moseying through the forest. Most than once the phrase rang out, "life is about the journey not the destination."

 The weather was warmer than I expected. Thus the mosquitoes such as they were, were eager to partake of our donations of rich warm blood from the valley,

We had an interesting conversation about how much it means to be able to get away and have some green time. It is so much a part of our lives to live within four perpendicular walls and matching ceiling that it is almost taken for granted that life is normal within the box.
Stepping out into the woods And walking even a short time reveals a world that contrasts strikingly with the world of civilization. God's world is a world of turns and random appearing angles. The textures of the plants and rocks are as varied as the colors of the flowers and the subtle hues of blue in the sky.
For most of the day the air was unusually still. It was almost as if the world were holding its breath.
We arrived at camp with about an hour of daylight to spare. As I sit writing this by moonlight the evening breeze has cooled considerably from the heat of the day. 
Our conversations have been good-natured and light hearted. There is something about being in nature that lifts the spirits and lightens the cares that we carry with us daily. 
Thank you God for today.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gearhead thoughts

I've been reading the blogs of previous PCT thru hikers and realizing that the gear that I have become so accustomed to over the last ten years my be out-of-date and that I will probably need to and a few things (and more weight) to my standard gear list.

I read about all of the post-holing that people end up doing thru the Sierras and I wonder why I don't hear more about snow shoes? It seems to me that snow shoes might be just the thing for an early traverse of all of the snow that is in the High Sierra in June. Kahtoola has a pair the is 3.5 lbs, ugh! more research is needed on this for sure.
It looks like Kahtoola MICROspikes may be in my future as both Balls and Wired talked about the value they found in using them. Another 12.5 ounces of weight to consider, yech!.

I have also shied away from zip-off leg hiking pants for years because of my (mistaken?) impression that the zipper would begin to irritate my quads. I hiked in long pants last weekend and it was too hot and uncomfortable, so I went to REI yesterday and bought me a new set of Sahara pants and a new long-sleeve hiking shirt.
Sahara pants

I bought the lightest colors I could find because they tend to be much cooler when you are hiking in the hot sun. These nylon hiking clothes are the most durable and long-lasting clothes I have ever owned.
Sahara shirt
The hiking pants and short sleeve shirt that I am replacing are at least fifteen years old and have not ripped, the seems are still solid, and they have all of the buttons. Great job REI!

And as an added bonus I learned a new word today, placket, as in "Features a button-close front placket."

Best of all, I used my REI dividend so there was no out-of-pocket expense.

Squeeze Filter
I have also added the Sawyer PointONE Squeeze Filter to my Amazon wish list as I have heard that this is a great new product, and only 3 ounces. The only downside of my current reliance on Aquamira is the time it takes from initial mixing to actually drinking the water. I can see that the combination of the filter and Aquamira will give me the best of both. Especially in the southern end of the PCT with the poor quality, and infrequent water supply.

Finally I am considering upgrading my light source from the tiny Photon Freedom Micro-Light to something brighter and more robust that I can use for night hiking. Since I currently don't do any night-hiking the Photon light is perfect for digging through a stuff sack, or cleaning up blisters in my tent at night. I am trying to balance the lumens and battery life with the weight to determine what would be the best fit for me.
Petzl Zipka
Currently I am leaning towards the Petzl Zipka Improved Lumen Output Plus 2 Headlamp which I have also added to my Amazon wish list. They have a red one which might keep me from leaving it behind at a campsite because it will be hard to miss seeing it.

I love researching new gear. What I have to be very careful of is not buying it simply because it is cool. I need to be wary of over packing my pack with lots of gear that is nice-to-have, but not really useful or necessary. One of my sources has recommended that every piece of gear should have at least two uses, otherwise, leave it home. I have have found this to be sound advice. Over the last thirty-five years of hiking I have been able to reduce my base pack weight from about sixty pounds to eleven pounds. I am really hesitant to add anything to that as there has been many a time while I have been on a trail saying to myself "Why did I think I needed that?".  I put things on my wish list so that I can think about them and decide if I really want to carry it before I buy it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Planning 101

It seems that there is lots of time before this epic trip from Mexico to Canada. 2017 seems an awfully long ways off. That doesn't mean that I have been idle. I have realized that if this is going to happen there are a few things that I am going to need to change about myself.

One of the first obvious things I need to change is my discipline about keeping a journal and blogging. I am horrible at both. This blog will be my vehicle to changing this part of myself. I tend to be a private person and find it very difficult to articulate my thoughts, perceptions, and reflections about the day's events. That is going to have to change if this blog is to have any future value to me, of interest to you my gracious readers.

I want thank the PCT thru hiker I met on the PCT above Squaw Valley on June 22, 2013. I didn't get his name and we only chatted for two or three minutes. I met him within five minutes of setting the goal to hike the entire PCT. When I said that I was just thinking about doing what he was doing he encouraged me to do it before I got too old. I asked him what he would recommend as a resource and without hesitation he referred me to Yogi's Pacific Crest Trail Handbook.

He said the only thing that he would change about his hike was that he would bring an iPhone with the GPS waypoints in it. He said he has met a few people that have them and that it would be a very useful addition to the gear he was carrying. I wished him well and continued my hike, but not before pulling out my iPhone and asking Siri to remind me about Yogi's PCT Handbook when I got home.

I purchased Yogi's handbook when I got home (thanks Siri) and have finished the first half of the book with all of the tips and resources. That is where I found the next valuable resource Halfmile's PCT maps. I am a map geek and enjoy reading a Topo map and picturing the terrain.

I began thinking about having an iPhone on the trail so I google searched for resources about coverage and recharging batteries and cell phones. I found this great article on being wired on the trail and was introduced to Erin "Wired" Saver.

Thank you to Wired for her blog of her PCT trip in 2011. In the first few pages of her trip blog Wired referred to something called Craig's PCT Planner. It was here that I was introduced not only to a great resource, but found a live blog → Craig's PCT Hike 2013 of another PCT celebrity who was actually hiking the PCT this year and writing a blog using the same technologies I am considering using.

I am in the process of following Wired's 2011 PCT adventure using Halfmile's maps and Yogi's  Trail Tips and Town Guide (the second half of Yogi's book) to gain a better understanding of the trail.