I’m only a couple of days away from getting on the Arizona Trail and I’m nearly done with all my preparations! Today I plan on meeting with a Nuun rep to grab an order of Nuun which will help keep me hydrated through the trek, add a few to mail drops, and send out those mail drops. I also need to head to a thrift store to buy one more hiking shirt to swap out with the other I’ll be wearing when I get to a laundry facility. Sure I could go to REI and spend $50-$60 on one, but why not just spend $10 or so since I know it’s just going to get abused and potentially ripped up? Once I get those things taken care of, I might actually get a day of relaxing before hitting the trail.
That’s not to say it’s been all stress. In fact I budgeted this much time to make sure there wouldn’t be any stress. When I’m not making preparations, I’m taking great advantage of many of Phoenix’s hiking trails. I even found myself on an errand that brought me up to the German Sausage Company as I was going from store to store trying to find meat that didn’t need to be refrigerated. Fortunately, they had the answer(s) in the form of authentic German sausages.
For those of you who wanted to send care packages, first of all, thank you! Second, I’ve updated my AZT mail drop plan to include the addresses of post offices that I know I’ll be stopping at along the way, as well as a few important notes of how to make sure it will be useful and not have to be partly wasted. So if you were interested in sending support, please make sure you read over it all to make sure that I’ll actually get it as well.
Also of importance is how the money I raised from the crowdfunding campaign is getting spent. Here is a PDF of how the spending has gone thus far: AZT 2016 – Spending – 20160307. Since I’ll be busy with the trail itself for the next couple of months, don’t expect to see any fresh spending updates, but know that I am keeping track of it all and can even do so from my phone.
One of my proudest accomplishments has come before I even stepped foot on the trail. I was able to get my base weight down to 18 pounds and 13 ounces, and that’s with over 6 pounds of camera gear! The only thing this doesn’t include are the two 2L bottles I’ll have for water and toothpaste. Even so, that will only push it up to 19 pounds at most. So somehow, I was able to get my base weight, minus the camera and its associated gear, down to a meager 12 pounds and 11 ounces!
For those wondering what base weight is, it’s the total weight of all essentials that I’ll be carrying, not including food and water, nor the clothes I’ll be consistently wearing. It does include essentials such as a tent, sleeping bag, something comfy to sleep on, as well as other fun extras like my phone, solar panel, water filtration, basic first aid, fleece, rain jacket, critter sack, biners, and 6lbs 2oz of camera gear. A base weight of around 15 pounds is ideal so that when you start adding on food and water, you’re not putting too much strain on your body as the miles accumulate. While 15 pounds is ideal, less than 20 pounds is also really good, especially if photography or something similar is a primary goal.
To see my full gear list, check out this PDF: AZT Gear 2016 – Weight
The only things left now are to make sure my mail drops make it to their destinations before I do, get in a bit more hiking, meet up with some old friends, and join a couple other thru-hikers on a shuttle to the trailhead!