Care packages-what to send

Care packages-what to send

Care Packages.  There have been questions about to send or not to send.  LauTrav send me a great link to a blog to look at an article about what to send/what not to send hikers who are thru-hiking.  A link to the direct post is HERE .   It’s written by Laura Lancaster for the MSR Team Blog.  For anyone sending a care package, it’s a good read.  Basically, the summary of LauTrav’s life is:

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It’s important to remember that LauTrav spend a great deal of time thinking about what goes into their backpacks.  They have to carry these packs day in and day out. Things that we might think are a necessity become things that are not when you are looking at weight and having to carry it miles.  We might want to send a game, a book, or basic care items.  Basically the message is that unless LauTrav request something specific, don’t send it!

What the blog article did talk about was food.  Because hikers are burning so many more calories than they are accustom to (or we are accustom to), calorie rich foods are welcomed.  They should be taking in 3500 calories/day – more on this later.  The article shares how to get cookies/nummies there in decent shape.  Believe it or not, it’s adding butter to the recipe!  Who would have thought?  Travis did specifically request that while adding more butter was great, go easy on the sugar.  Keeping them from going stale?  Ziploc’s and vacuum sealed packages, possibly Tupperware type containers.

Another thing to remember is that the package will be subjected to a small about of duress as it travels to LauTrav.  It will be thrown around, smashed, stacked on, and left sitting in transit.  Once it arrives at the destination of choice, it could be sitting there for a bit.  Rodents are also a possibility.  =(   So be sure to read through the post as it will provide you a wealth of information.

 

Most important, the article stressed that we do not attempt surprise LauTrav with packages.  If they don’t know they are coming it’s very very possible they will not get them.  They will look for and ask for what they are expecting and your box could be left behind.  =(   An email or FB message will suffice.  I found this picture on Google and thought it was amusing and a good, practical idea actually!! Maybe not the liquor store part, but you get the gist!

fb post:

Don’t forget to add a personal note in the box or letter.  Something uplifting.  Something to celebrate their accomplishments.  Something that shares the love.

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I continued to do some additional research about nutrition on the trail.  Another blog post mentioned that in the beginning of the hike, he consumed 3500 calories but by the end of the hike he was needing to eat 5000 to stave of weight loss! (Erik the Black’s Backpacking Blog).  Erik also posted up his 5 day meal plan.  Another site, Thur-Hiker shared some information about trail food and how to look at what you need for intake and how to plan what you take.  I think it gives some good insight for those of us who’ve not explored thru-hiking.

I found another great blog post Trail Food from a seasoned thru-hiker, Lawton “Disco” Grinter,  from the Section Hiker blog.  Disco shares this qoute: Ray Jardine once said, “If our journeys degenerate into battles, in terms of lost energy and mental buoyancy, then I think those battles are usually won or lost in the grocery stores, rather than on the trails.” Disco share that it took him 4 thru-hikes to finally figure out the art of eating on the trail.  He stated:

“The difference was that I had finally taken my own advice to heart: Don’t Skimp on Food! I carried 1.75 – 2 pounds of food per day on trail and I ate food like it was my job during the brief times I was in town. I also embraced a technique that professional backpacker Andrew Skurka calls the “caloric drip.” Instead of eating 3 meals spaced over many hours on a given day of hiking, I ate smaller portions every hour to hour and a half throughout the entire day. This not only kept my energy levels up, but also allowed me to hike 12-15 hours per day without bottoming out. I had always wondered how some hikers could routinely do 30 miles per day. The big secret . . . they ate a lot of food and ate it at frequent intervals. And all this time I thought they had been blessed with great genetics or were just super athletes. Turns out it’s all about food intake. Who would have known? ” (Lawton “Disco” Grinter – Trail Food).

This article was a fantastic article to read.

Then I looked for a recipe for the PB Monster Cookies:

monster cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) salted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (185g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (160g) all purpose flour (measured the correct way)
  • 1/2 cup (40g) quick oats*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) M&Ms (any size or variety)
  • 1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the quick oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips. If the dough is very soft and unmanageable by hand, chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling.

Rolls balls of dough, about 2 Tablespoons of dough per ball, onto prepared baking sheet. Press a few extra M&Ms on top for looks, if preferred. Bake for 9-10 minutes – do not bake past 10 minutes. The cookies will appear undone. I too mine out at 9 minutes, which is recommended. Slightly press down the baked cookies with the back of a spoon, since the cookies only slightly spread in the oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cookies will firm up as they cool. Store cookies covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cookies freeze well.

Additional Notes:

*You may use unsalted butter in this recipe. If so, add 1/4 tsp salt with the flour.

*Please use quick oats in this recipe. You need the slightly finer texture from the quick oats in order to give the cookies a more uniform texture. Quick oats will act more as a binder in this recipe than whole oats would, since the consistency is more powdery and the oats are smaller in size.

Until next time

~Linda  =)

All images from Google Images

May 26 Tehachapi, CA Mile 566

LauTrav got into Tehachapi on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.  They hitched in from the Willow Creek after doing 23.5 mile day hike cutting out 8 miles (who wants to do another 8 miles after 23.5 miles?).

They have checked in at the Best Western there to sleep in real beds with clean sheets.

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Image courtesy of Best Western

Oh, I forgot to mention water: hot shower, swimming pool, hot tub, and running water whenever you desire to it. I found this very nice picture of the LA Aqueduct:

Los Angeles Aqueduct And Tehachapi Mountains
image courtesy of Google Images

Still at the Best Western where they are catching up on laundry and getting ready for the next run.  They are taking a couple of days of rest.  Travis’ ankles are really giving him a bit of run of his money.  They are hoping the few days break will allow his ankles to recover.

Lauren shared this regarding their trek from the Mojave:  “Travis and I lucked out with the weather and ended up crossing most of the Mojave Desert with minimal heat and a nice breeze.  3 different times I came really close to stepping on one of these horned lizards. Very neat little creatures, they look like mini dragons, change colors based on their environment and don’t seem to be bothered by people.

After a big day in the desert (23.5 miles) and doing more miles than we planned on Travis and I hit one of the cross roads for Tehachapi. As it was sunset and 8pm we weren’t sure if we would get a hitch but fortune smiled on us again and a couple stopped for us. They not only gave us a lift to town but shuttled us to a place to eat, waited in the truck while we got food and then dropped us off at the Best Western. Time and time again we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers and thier willingness to help PCT hikers.

Not wanting to get our room dirty the first thing we did was drop our packs at the door and proceed to taking our shoes and socks off in the tub. This was about the 4th or 5th time we had emptied the sand out of our shoes that day. We have also figured out that we have to pre-wash our socks and gaiters before putting them in with the rest of the clothes or else everything comes out covered in dirt. No joke, it takes about 20-30 minutes of washing before our socks run clean.”

They went back to to hike 8 mile section they bypassed when coming in. From Lauren:  “Today  (May 26)  we got the rare opportunity to ditch the packs and trail run 8 miles of the PCT. Totally wish we could do more of this, we felt like we were flying without the weight of the backpacks. There are 2 roads headed into Tehachapi which cross the PCT, we had a trail angel drop us at the more southern of the two (where we picked up the hitch into town 2 day ago) and ran the 8 miles north to the next crossing. Along the way we met up with some of our trail friends who were doing the 8 miles in reverse order. First we ran into Pizza Taxis (Alisa) and Party Log (Edward) then Morning Glory (not pictured) and finally Matt and a new girl. Not sure where Matt got the dress but he was certainly rocking it. Tehachapi has a wonderful public transit system which will pick up hikers at the off ramp on highway 58 and for $1 provide a ride back into town.”

Once completed , they came back to Tehachapi for the night.  They did this “slackpacking” the 8 miles.  By slackpacking (hiking without a pack) allowed them to make great time.  This completed the 566.5 miles to Tehachapi!

Slackpacking is a new term to me.  I took the opportunity to look it up.  It does simply mean hiking a section of the trail without a backpack. It’s “the fine art of intending to go backpacking (carrying all equipment in a large backpack to your camping location in the woods) but instead walking out of the woods for the finer things in life: beer, entertainment, and food. (Urban Dictionary)  A lot of the references I found when Googling the term are from the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Although when the term is put in correctly, you’ll find lots of information about slackpacking for any area you want to backpack.  Apparently, there are resources/trail angels who will help backpackers slackpack various parts of any trail.  You carry only what you need for the length of trail you are hiking – food, water, etc.   What I found interesting is the controversy around the concept.  There are some camps believe slackpacking miles should not count.  Sort of a purist version of backpacking.  Anyway, if you are interested and have time, you can Google the term and find a lot of information about it.

They will leave Tehachapi tomorrow and there will be about 5 days before the next their next stop in Lake Isabella (information via their trip planning). They will have some more sections without access to water.  One section is Willow Springs to Joshua Tree Springs, a mere 43.7 miles!

You can send care packages to Lake Isabella.  However, please be conscientious of adding any weight to backpacks. From LauTrav: “Mostly what is needed right now is letters, pictures and words of encouragement. As the newness of the trail has worn off and we have worked through a lot of the physical challenges we are now faced with the mental challenges and reminders of why we are out here would be great.” In lieu of favorites, may I suggest a gift card (generic/Visa) which they can use for postage and odds/ends when they restock would be gold. 

Lake Isabella is a small town 37 miles W of the PCT on Hwy 178 with motels,

large grocery, pharmacy, laundry, restaurants, pay phones, ATM and a post
office.  It does not look they charge for holding the package.
Lake Isabella Post Office [open M-F 10-4; 760-379-2553]
(Your Name)
c/o General Delivery
Lake Isabella, CA 93240

 If you do send something, please let them know by posting on Lauren’s FB Page.  They don’t want to miss any love!

Until next time,

~Linda =)

(all pictures are either courtesy of Google Images or Lauren DeLand)

May 24 Desert Segment Miles 518+

PCT NST
Image courtesy of Google images

Another update from LauTrav  – They left Hikertown (Mile 518) yesterday evening (May 23).  This page 7 of ca_section_e_map.  Hikertown is where Lancaster is on the map below.  Some of the material I’ve read indicates that Hikertown is actually about the half way point of the Desert Segment of the PCT.

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image courtesy of Google images

Because of the heat, they will be hiking in am and pm.  Their goal is to reach Cottonwood Creek Bridge – this was 16 miles up the trail as it’s the next water source.  They are hike north on Hwy 138.  And they are hiking on top of the LA Aqueduct. When they left Hikerstown, the aqueduct was above ground:

california aqueduct near hikerstown
image courtesy of Google Images

as they hike, the aqueduct is underground:

hike along the aqueduct
Image courtesy of Google Images

 

All of their water will be piped water.  There are some water caches maintained along the PCT by trail angels:

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Image courtesy of Google images

 

Cottonwood Bridge Creek (which should be dry) will get them to mile marker 535.  This is page 9 of the ca_section_e_map.  Once here, they can get piped water.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

If for some reason, there is not water there (because the aqueduct is dry), it looks like they can get water at:

Iberdrola Renewables, Manzana Wind Project office, 1.3 miles  east of the PCT, has faucet near building and ac110 gallon water tank at the south fence if the office is closed (nights &
weekends). This is on E10 of the map – about mile 536.9.

Then their next goal will be Tehachapi Willow Springs Road Trailhead (mile 558), 23.6 miles. This is the next water source after Cottonwood Bridge Creek.  They go through Tyler Horse Canyon.  One of the thoughts shared after hiking more than 500 miles, it has  totally reinforced how dependent we all are on water.  How scarce it is in certain areas.  Water is a very serious business.   Especially when all you can see is this for a 16-25 miles.

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They will still have a few more jaunts where water sources are few and far between.  They are not without their struggles like all hikers.  Travis’ ankles are bothering him.  You can follow along their trek with these notes from the Halfmile PCT.  They have helpful:  halfmiles_pct_notes_scal.  This actually gives the places you can send care packages to.  Be sure to check out costs – some places charge for pick of the package and daily storage of packages!!   Here’s another great link specific for their information:  Click Here

Until next time,

~Linda =)

May 22 Mile 500!

Update from LauTrav – May 22 was a busy day. We hiked 24 miles, passed mile 500!!

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We ended our day at Hiker Town. A strange place that reminds me of the the Dusk till Dawn movie.  You’ll find more information about Hiker Town on this post.

hikertown

Travis also managed to smack right into a tree. No worries he is just fine, must have something to do with those thick Polish heads. However,it is the hiker equivalent of hitting a parked car.

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I did check to make sure he was okay before taking the pictures.  Makes me laugh every time I think about it. He was following me pretty closely down the trail, I ducked to go under the tree and then heard a noise behind me. I assumed Travis had just scraped the top of his pack as he had gone under but when I turned around I found him fully laid out.

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Poor guy had been looking down at his dried cherry snack, hit the tree and bounced off. If you look closely you can see the bag of cherries on the trail next to him. Unfortunately for Travis trail names usually originate from mistakes made on the trail. We are contemplating calling him “put a cherry on it.” 🍒😅

Until next time!

~Linda

May 21 Mile 477

Update from LauTrav.  I have they a few miles of ahead of where they actually are!  From Travis:  Last night (20th) they spent night at Hiker Heaven, aka Jeff and Donna Sauflys who are trail hosts in Aqua Dolce. Travis reports they are amazing people!

 

At Hiker Heaven, hikers are provided a 3 day, 2 night stay, free of charge.  They have access to showers, high speed internet, phones, laundry, transportation hub, and postal drop.  The Sauflys are able to provide these wonderful accommodations for the hikers through their “Gift for Gift”:

“Gift for a Gift”

Hiker Heaven closed in January 2015, and all the physical gear that made it a great stop — tents, cots, chairs, shelves, storage bins, bikes, everything — was dispersed to other trail hosting locations. So, everything needs to be replaced in order for Hiker Heaven to offer what it offered before. Replacing it all at once, instead slowly of over years as had happened before, requires funds beyond our personal means. So, we’re reaching out to the unfailing support of the hiking community.

Since Hiker Heaven is not a business, non-profit, or any type of formal organization, (we’re a family that is fortunate enough to have some truly amazing volunteers) we’re calling this a “Gift-for-a-Gift”. With a gift of funds to Hiker Heaven, you will receive a gift of a Saufley Electric tee-shirt or hooded pullover sweatshirt.

 

From Lauren:  4 weeks to the day here we are at Casa De Luna mile 478. I found this YouTube video about Casa De Luna (word of warning…there really is some mooning)

There is a beautiful manzanita forest in the back for everyone to camp in.

Probably the most unique place we have camped thus far. Unbeknownst to us the name comes from the fact that when you get your hiker photo taken Miss Terry (shown below) moons you. When I asked to take a photo with her she gladly accepted and then proceeded to grab my bum.

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Today we will get a shuttle around a 15 mile trail closure due to the Power House Fire in 2013.  This actually puts them on Page 3 of California Section E.

ca_section_e_map

Now LauTrav are where they are suppose to be!  Stay tuned for the next update

May 20th about Mile 516

Update came in through Marty today.  She got a call from LauTrave and this is the information they shared.  This post will have an interesting twist to it.
First, at the last stop, Agua Dulce (this would be about Mile 454), they met up with some of the people that started the same time they did.  This would be the end of California D, page 12 and the start of section E.
Agua Dulce literally means “sweet water”.  It’s a small town north of San Fernando, CA. It’s a smaller town with a population of a little over 3300.  Yet it’s quite busy.  It’s been a sight for moving making (think Flintstones here).
Curious friends have asked about human waste and the “leave no trace” (.org link) while hiking.  Leave No Trace is a wilderness ethical standard where hikers or wilderness travelers visit the wilderness leaving minimal if no impact on the area they are visiting.  I did some research to provide some links for additional information.  You can take courses on this and even become an instructor.  You can get a lot of information from Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
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The basics involve principals for “Backcountry” and “Frontcountry”

Backcountry

  1. Plan ahead and prepare: poorly prepared people, when presented with unexpected situations, often resort to high-impact solutions that degrade the outdoors or put themselves at risk. Proper planning leads to less impact.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces: damage to land occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond repair. The resulting barren area leads to unusable trails, campsites and soil erosion.
  3. Dispose of waste properly: though most trash and litter in the backcountry is not significant in terms of the long term ecological health of an area, it does rank high as a problem in the minds of many backcountry visitors. Trash and litter are primarily social impacts which can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area.[5] Further, backcountry users create body waste and waste water which requires proper disposal according to Leave No Trace.
  4. Leave what you find: Leave No Trace directs people to minimize site alterations, such as digging tent trenches, hammering nails into trees, permanently clearing an area of rocks or twigs, and removing items.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts: because the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires, Leave No Trace teaches to seek alternatives to fires or use low-impact fires.
  6. Respect wildlife: minimizing impact on wildlife and ecosystems.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors: following hiking etiquette and maintaining quiet allows visitors to go through the wilderness with minimal impact on other users.

Frontcountry

  1. Know before you go
  2. Stick to trails and camp overnight right
  3. Trash your trash and pick up poop
  4. Leave it as you find it
  5. Be careful with fire
  6. Keep wildlife wild
  7. Share our trails and manage your pet
This information is taken from Wikipedia.
LauTrav share that defecation is handled with “cat holes”.  They dig a hole 8″ deep, 4″ wide. And replace the dirt when done.  TP (aka toilet paper) is packed out as it takes so long to disintegrate. Trav said Lauren has two pieces of fabric attached to the pack.  One for trail dust cleanup at day’s end.  And the other for urinating, which is rinsed and air dried. We hope this answers some of the questions.
Night viewing has been spectacular a couple of nights.  The biggest thing is getting used to the Big Dipper being upside down.  That will change as they head north.  The night skies, once you are outside of the city and get further away from the “light pollution”, are amazing!  Here’s a picture of how it shifts:
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And from NASA, their night sky looks like this:
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The desert night skies in the Mojave can potentially look like this:
Lauren spotted three different kinds of snakes in one day.  They are both seeing lots of lizards and some rabbits.  They have been walking thru some interesting rock formations and the vegetation has been mainly scrub brushes. (You can see some of the formations from the pictures of Aqua Dulce).  Here are some pictures of the creature they could encounter as they head into the Mojave Desert:
Today, May 20th, they enter the Mojave Desert and plan to start night hiking……start very early and hike until it’s too hot; take a nap; resume walking in the evening.  Water will become gold as they can go miles between access to this very important resources.  They will have almost 17 miles between water stops.  Here are some pictures of the terrain they’ll be crossing:
If my map reading skills are any good, they left  Hikertown, their last stop before entering 16 miles of desert.   You will find this on the map on Section E Page 7.
I encourage everyone to check out the website for Hiker’s Town. 
hikertown
It’s quaint and full of great information!  They provide the hikers amenities, free of charge.  They do ask for donations whenever possible.  Those us supporting hikers are also able to donate a few dollars to help continue their hospitality.  We hope to have an update sooner than later just to know they are okay.  Until the next update, take care.
~Linda

Backtracking to Wrightwood

From Lauren: Photos from our experience around Wrightwood last weekend. We hiked past a closed ski area:

It’s good to see them having some fun.  I bet they go back one day and ski Wrightwood!!

Following this, they then got a hitch from the most amazing trail angel ever. He showed up in a 1950 crestliner offered us a ride and a place to stay.

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We got our own room with a real bed, they cooked us dinner for 2 nights and then dropped us back at the trail in the 1950 ford truck.

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Take care until the next update!!

~Linda