The Beginning (February 2020)

Having little Backpacking experience, my training started with a local nature group, Tuleyome, which was hosting a beginning backpacking trip into the Cache Creek Wilderness area in February 2020 (thanks Sarah!). I registered, and began the arduous task of securing gear and training for the trip.

Having no gear, I started shopping at Big 5 (knowing that before I finalized my gear I would likely need to upgrade as I continued). I loaded my pack (a small 35 liter bag) and immediately lost the sleeping bag I had just bought and had apparently improperly secured to the outside of my pack.

Having no discipline, my weight at the time was 270 pounds, and since I am only 5 foot 8 inches, some obvious reductions would be required over time. I began walking 3-7 miles per day, and slowly fortified my equipment and clothes over time.

The Tuleyome trip went well. It was an in and out 5 mile trek with about 1600 feet of vertical gain on the return trip. Excellent tent spots were available near the Cache Creek, and everything went well (the Judge Davis trail). I quickly learned that the 1/4 inch yoga mat I brought would not work well, and that my small pack would be insufficient, with most of my gear hanging precariously on the outside. Treating the water with the new Sawyer system was easier than anticipated, and the dehydrated food was better than anticipated.

Although tiring, I did a bit better than expected, but it was clear major training, equipment upgrades, and lifestyle changes would be needed.

Published by tomconnolly3

Former 270 pound hiking noob is attempting to hike the PCT starting April 8!

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