Week 2

Idyllwild Inn
Zero day

Waiting out another day to let the precip diiminish. It never snowed here, but drizzled, dropped into the 40’s and the wind is now picking up.
it’s pretty clear that we are part of the first wave of hikers trying to thru hike the PCT this season. There are at least 24 hikers in town. Some are just a couple, three days ahead of us and are back here regrouping. They return sobered, sharing tales of nonexistent streams, boiling snow for drinking water, dangerous exposure in a treacherous footpath, and mandatory use of compass and map in order to move above the invisible snowed-in trail.
Love this place. They gave us us additional $20 discount that brought our individual cost today to $12.
We are making full use of the kitchen. We’ve collaborated in keeping the place clean and orderly, cooked meals together, and have freely shared our varied skills in getting here.
The Mayor was stil lugging the can of Spam he pulled out of the hiker box back at Warner Springs. We put an end to that tonight when we wowed the living room crowd with our Spam Stir Fry. Diced potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and Spam was satueed to perfection, then slathered with melted cheddar, and further enhanced by liberal application of red hot sauce. The Mayor was really impressive in his ability to navigate a kitchen.
Based on our sucess with the Spam, the Mayor and I are planning to collaborate on breakfast as well. We both have been carrying some sort of “super grits” we were gifted with at ADZPCTKO. We are excited to be adding butter, half-and-half, bacon bits, and more to the blend.
I’ve been without headphones for my iPods since maybe day 3. I lost them. Must have set them down and forgot, or dropped them. I have been unable to find any place that sold them. This afternoon I found a pair in the Hiker Box right here at the Idyllwild Inn.
I’m trailing off on the leather couch aminst Psycho and Apricots, Corey, MeGaTex, and Train. The TV is on, Utah vs Denver NBA Playoffs. Last night it was fun outside camping in the sand. It’s fun today just doing our own thing. The bonds that form between us hikers happens on and even off the PCT.

For the daily report go
PCT trailjournal

Week 1 on the Pacific Crest Trail

Going to put weekly updates here As I do daily reports at http:/www.trailjournals.com/tjamrogPCT

Day 8
San Yesidro Creek campsite to Warner Springs 5.5 miles
Yikes. Within 1 degree of breaking the 85 year record for cold here. Jimmy and I formed a pact last night that we were going to get a real breakfast and we awoke in light rain, packed up, and at 6:40 AM proceeded to fight the cold winds by steady churning of the legs. The General and Louis were in their tents when we left. The wind picked up and as we were coming into some open country around Eagle Rocks. I spotted trouble in the form of a black cloud on the horizon and within 30 seconds the rain changed to sleet, then snow. We were in shorts. Our hands were cold, mine Inside Windstopper gloves. We were clenching and wiggling our fingers in order to make them functional. We did the only thing that works to generate body heat in these conditions, which was to keep moving, and quickly.
So here we are for the next 36 hours at a resort called Warner Springs. They discount hiked down about half from the $150 a night rate. MeGaTex has a three bed cottage for $74 plus tax. The heater has been on full blast. We have a fridge and working fireplace. They have a killer breakfast burrito for $5 in the Grill. The Mayor ( Jim’s new trail name) discovered complimentary coffee in the lobby starting at 6 am, saving us the $2.50 cup charge at the table.
We also soaked in the beautiful, opympic sized hot springs. Towels and fresh drinking water provided. Lots of hikers and dozen or so Japanese couples in the water.
Great meal in the restaurant, on a big table with the Lady Train and the Kiwis. Big burger, fries, $5.50 margarita. Good talk, big energy. Saw Terrapin Flyer and Granite in the dining room. They pushed a 21 miler to get out of the snow , wind, a cold to get here. Typical New England response to what is sending now 4 people here home.
Our timing is perfect to be here, sheltered, warm and fed at reasonable prices. We are loving Warner Springs.

Tom Jamrog
Sent from my iPod Touch

Packing Triscuits

Two more days here.
I just completed 15 miles in Camden Hills State Park with a 40 pound pack. Went in at Lincolnville’s Stevens Corner parking lot, went 2.75 to Ski Shelter , then climbed up Slope trail to Megunticook Summit, then over to Ocean Lookout and then over to Tableland trail to the Mt. Battie Road. Went up to top of Battie, all the way back down to Park entrance. Back

View out to Penobscot Bay from over the Camden Hills

toward the car up Multiuse/Ski Lodge trail, but for extra mile took the side trip up to Bald Rock Mountain. Came down off the back side toward Frohock Mtn. and looped back to the car.  I  am pretty pleased my feet didn’t get a blister or ripped up.  I have reconditioned orthotics that I am  working in.
Have one more long hike to get in, today or tomorrow.  Supposed to get down to 32 degrees tonight.  Might be good conditions for an early morning hike tomorrow.
Things are complicated by new lightweight boots ( Bushmaster)  that my brother Roy sent me.  New Balance just acquired OTB, a small military shoe company from Vermont that supplies come of the special forces, including Navy Seals.  They are reported to be tested footwear in hot conditions, dumping copious moisture from the feet. They feel good, are light and I just may take them, but need to wear them on a long hike first. I am told that soldiers wear them in the 110 degree desert with 50 pound in their packs where the boots have held up for a year or so.
I’ve really made progress on whacking down the to-do list, including prepaying bills. I installed two new garage door openers and a outside motion detector unit on the shed. In the next day and a half some things will get done and many more won’t.  I am not excited yet.  It is very difficult for me to disengage from my life for 6 months.  I’ve been putting it off, but I have to clean out the outhouse at the camp.  A fact of life in the Maine woods.

Here’s a tip from the world of packing food for a hike.

Where did all the Triscuits go? In the box!

This is a photo of an actual full box of Triscuits that has been cut down to fit all the Triscuits, in stacked form, rather than loose in the box.  Saves space in shipping boxes.

Sponsors for PCT

Sponsors! I got ’em!

Four Dog Stove Co. from St Francis, MN 55070. PH: 763-444-9587 ( “since 1988”) is my major sponsor. Four Dog is Don Kevilus, from whom I have bought numerous items, including stoves, books, saws, axes, and back country gear. Last year, Don sent me a prototype of his multi-fuel ( wood, solid fuel tablet, alcohol, charcoal) 2.4 oz. titanium Bushcooker LT1, which has stood the test of dozens of  canoe, winter, backpack, and car camping usages.

Bushcooker LT1

Check out my blog  2009 review of the LT 1.  Four Dog provided me with an LT1  stove and a custom titanium windscreen.  Don also custom altered a Snowpeak Trek 700 Titanium mug with tabs and a bail wire, lightened the lid, and threw in a two cases of Coughlan solid fuel tabs . Don also provided a fixed blade 2 oz. high carbon Mora knife, which he altered ( ground down the side opposite the blade ) to allow use as a striker on a tiny ferrocerium rod, for use as an all-weather fire starter. Four Dog also supplied me with 7 cases of Mountain House freeze dried meals, enough to provide dinners  on my  9 later PCT Maildrops. I consider Don to be my stove mentor, who has shared with me insights, facts, and tips about cooking, boiling, and solid fuel ( deadwood) fire preparation and wilderness living techniques that I have not found elsewhere.

Rock City Coffee Roasters is provided me a couple of REALLY big bags of Darkstar, a dark, rich, smooth, full bodied, and beautifully balanced blend.  The combination of real coffee with the multi-fuel stove will be a surefire one-two punch, because I won’t have to scrimp on fuel to boil up the two cups of coffee I’ll enjoy each day on the PCT.

My brother Roy works for New Balance.  He provided me with ample pile of New Balance’s  Lightning Dry acrylic socks.

While they didn’t have one in stock for me to purchase, four days later an employee at the Patagonia Freeport, ME outlet store sent me a free 3.7 oz. Houdini jacket.  I had told him that I wanted it to hike the PCT after I had followed the Patagonia employee blog where Adam Bradley raved about the jacket that he used on his record breaking PCT hike last year.

Last, but not least, is a special item, from an artist and writer that I met on my 2007 AT thru hike.  Michelle Ray, AKA Birdlegs, and author of  “How to Hike the AT: The Nitty Gritty Details of a Long Distance Trek“. According to one of the many favorable Amazon customer reviews, ”  Michelle Ray’s AT guide book is the most current, concise, and entertaining resource for anyone even considering hiking the Appalachian Trail”.  Michelle took the focus, effort, and time to craft and mail me a tiny fetish, which is just a little smaller than an animal cracker , that  “has the power to bring you easy hitch hiking and many free beers”.

It’s a great day up here, one week before me and my little army start rollin’ north for a couple thousand miles. 

Electronics on the Trail

My 8 oz. Pocketmail device is history.
Instead, I be taking a Verizon MiFi transmitter, weighing in at 5 oz (including the charger) and the 4 oz. iPod Touch, which should allow me the most independence in posting online reports. The MiFi 2200 device is about the size of eight stacked credit cards and weighs just over 2 ounces, so it’s ultra-portable.

Mi-Fi device
I have been using the setup for three months now, successfully posting from remote locations that only requires on receiving a signal from Verizon. I had to pay $100 for the unit, but received two $50 credit card rebates, so the cost of the Mi-Fi was $0. I have been pleased so far. The device generates an adequate receiving radius, and can connect up to 5 devices at a time. It downloads web pages even quicker than my DSL set up at home. The monthly charge is a flat $59, or $2 a day for 5 Gigs a month of connect time, which I have yet to exceed. On my job, I need internet access at numerous locations. It is a deducible business expense for my company.
The 8 Gig iPod Touch is superb, and was purchased refurbished at a discount for $169 from the Apple store.
iPod Touch
One skill that I’ve had to develop is entering data via the on-screen keyboard, so I’ve become an adequate typist using my two thumbs.

One reason I upgraded my Touch was to have the voice recording option. People have heard about the App store, which has thousands of free or low cost add on programs for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. A surprisingly functional App that I find very useful on the trail is Dragon Dictation. To dictate on the iPod Touch you just launch the app, press the record button, and start talking. After recording your message, you can edit the resulting text before you send it off for others to read. Dictation at the present time is limited to a 20 second interval, which wokrs out to a small paragraph. Once the text has been created from speech, I have been able to email it, or clipboard the result into my Facebook, Trailjournal, WordPress, or Twitter posts . I find the application particularly useful in combination with my Twitter feed http://twitter.com/tjamrog , which is a rapid means of posting that is actually limited to just 140 characters.

I expect will be some shaky fingers pointed at me, accusing me of degrading the wilderness experience by resorting to these electronic devices. I enjoy writing and continue to do so as much as I can, which also could be done on paper, but why not “write” on a small piece of plastic that can also magically flow my thoughts and words into the minds and hearts of my family and friends, so that they can share in the ride? I’m loving the unexpected gifts that are created as the story unfolds.