Welp. I've successfully failed at posting from my phone once. Turns out I can't save drafts when I'm offline, so I'll be typing these in my notes section of my phone then posting when I get service. Better to learn it now then on the trail I guess! I don't have much else to do at the airport so here it goes. Round 2!
For starters, I kicked my day off by listening to on my way by rusted root. A classic send off airport worthy song. I got about 3 hours of sleep last night so the music video that goes with the song was particularly entertaining. If you haven't ever seen it, go YouTube it now.
Many people have been asking me what the best way to get a hold of me will be throughout my travels. Fortunately we live in 2016 where technology makes this task shockingly easy. For those of you who just want to check in, I'll have my phone with me and should get service roughly once a week. I can't promise any speedy responses but know that if you send me a text I will get it! That's the simplest way. Also I'm going to try and keep this ole thing up to date. Instagram is my jam - so follow me there too @briannafinkle. For those of you looking to send me treats along the way or letters or whatever tangible object that isn't a text, my mom is your go to gal! Her name is Lisa, and she's fantastic. I'll put her email below so you can just shoot her a message and see how and where to send things. Thats pretty much all in regards to contacting me. Any and all support is welcome and greatly appreciated!
I left Portland about 2 weeks ago, and have been back in Upstate NY. My time has been filled with family, friends and the barn. I also cut off ten inches of my hair which was surprisingly not as traumatic as it was when I was nine. No complaints here. As far as trail prep goes, I have to be honest I feel a bit unprepared. I have all of my gear, and a general reapply stratgy in the works. A wise brother once told me "don't plan past the first two weeks, everything will change and no matter how much you think you like certain foods, your taste will change". So, I've sent a few boxes and the rest is still pretty open, which gives me a little bit of anxiety now, but I'm know in the end will be more free. This week was also the first time I truly put everything in my pack and put it on a scale. 14lbs. That's my base weight! For those of you that aren't weirdo hikers like me, that means that's what my backpack weights without food and water. Honestly I'm still shocked by that number. With food and water, I think the heaviest my pack will be is right around 35lbs. In various trips in the past, I've hauled between 50 and 60 lbs, so attempting to go "ultralight" has been relatively successful.
Bears. Knives. Pepper Spray. Oh My!
So I'm about to rant, feel fre to skip this paragraph, I just feel I need to get it off my chest.
As I began discussing and preparing myself for this trip, I was shocked to find that a lot of people's first reaction (after the initial what is the pct and how many miles?!?! Had been answered) many people proceeded to ask me if I would be carrying a gun. I would typically respond with a confused and surprised no. "But you're going to bring pepper spray with you right?" To which I would also respond no. They would typically looked shocked and I was left to explain/defend why I would be walking into the woods with nothing but a tiny Swiss Army knife to protect myself.
I am 23 years old by no means do I think nothing bad can happen out in the woods. Bad things happen everywhere. I participated in a NOLS course several years ago (anyone who doesn't know what nols is should go google them immediately) and recently became Wilderness First Responder certified. Both of these programs, as well as my own personal outdoor experience have taught me how to read and assess situations as well as how to make good judgement calls in the backcountry. I will be carrying my phone as well as a satellite phone on my hike for safety, because I know that you can't always prevent bad things from happening. I don't know if it would be different if I wasn't a woman, or if I was older, or what. All of my time spent in the backcountry has been filled with kind, generous people (some strangers, some friends). Weather can change, wild animals are wild, and it's a big space out there in the woods - but the idea that a gun or pepper spray is something I need to carry blows my mind. Knowledge is power - get educated and get out there.
If you've read this far into this post - props to you. And props to me for typing this whole thing twice! I think that's pretty much all I've got for now! Again blogging is so weird, so we'll see how the next few weeks go!