15May- Yesterday I was able to hop on a regional bus to take me to Bakersfield. This meant that I would be missing 92 miles of the trail, not because of trail closures or dangerous sections, but because of injury. Since this will not be published until a few weeks from now, I can disclose my three reasons for heading home at this time. 

  1. My leg was going to need at least a week to recover, and I didn’t wish to wait it out in Tehachapi.
  2. I knew that I was going to flip-flop the Sierra Nevada from Walker Pass to at least Donner Pass because of the snow situation.
  3. I wanted to secretly be home by 25May to surprise my daughter since see is graduating as with a PhD from Nurse practitioner school.

So, I leave the trail with sadness. I was beginning to get to know a number of hikers quite well, though I’m quite sure that I’ll see at least a few of them again. I’m also concerned about being off the trail too long since I don’t wish to lose my hiker legs. At home I will be kept quite busy.

  1. I need to strategize when and where I flip-flop up to.
  2. I need to completely redo my Resupply packages, knowing better what works best on the trail, and better able to grasp what I’ll need and where. 
  3. I need to break in some heavier shoes that are more adept for snow. These will probably be Merrill Moab’s which I’m already accustomed to.
  4. I need to meet with a few important people; Russ A who might wish to hike a section or two with me, and Daniel Foucachon regarding the Hike-a-thin aspect of my venture. 
  5. I will be getting new equipment including a new tent, which need to be tried out before committing it to use on the trail. I might try out a different drinking system. Currently I am using the Osprey hydration pack with an additional 2 Smartwater liter bottles. The Osprey system has a number of problems, the worst being that it leaks. I might go with the regular Sawyer Squeeze or replace the Sawyer micro that I was using, as it got fairly abused in the desert with grungy water and freezing once or twice. I’ll have to replace my hiking poles, and will need to try out the replacement. 
  6. If I can fit in an overnight or two night backpack trip, perhaps with a grandkid, I’ll do that.
  7. I few things that I would pack different would be a) a small collapsible cup for coffee b) lightweight sandals c) maybe a heavier raincoat d) probably a different pocketknife that has a Philip’s screwdriver attachment, e) less clothes, but a Merino wool top, f) a warmer buff (maybe?) g) insect repellent! h) lastly, they now have a more indestructible case for cell phones that would be worth trying out, since your cell phone is vital for survival and wellbeing on the trail… it finds your way, it allows you to communicate with the outside world, gives you advice as to where to camp, where to find water, how far it is to the next town, etc, etc.