Try. Be. Write.

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Money money money

“How are you paying for the PCT?”

I must have been asked this question 20 times now — mostly by the imaginary group of enthusiastic readers I have accrued (ok, entirely by them).

The word on the street is the PCT costs about $5000 on trail per person, not counting gear purchased before hand. That’s not to say you couldn’t hike the trail for less, many do, but I think it is a safe place to start and any money we don’t spend will add to our post-trail savings.

Rt and I don’t have a shared bank account so we usually pay for personal things separately and take turns buying shared items like groceries and entertainment. Since this method has been working for 8 plus years we’re gonna stick to it on the trail, with the added caveat that we will likely have to pool resources at the end to buffer any non-employed time.┬áHonestly I don’t think we will spend $10,000 hiking the trail but who knows, maybe Rt will develop an affinity for Coors Light and we’ll have to hire a third person to carry a 24 pack at all times.

 

Here are some money saving tips I have used from various money saving tip websites:

1. Pay yourself first

I know this is harped on in every money saving guide, but it’s the truth and it works. I decided to put a set amount into my savings every month as soon as I get paid, and then the rest is free to throw back into our economy willy-nilly. This has been working for me for the better part of year.

2. Stop paying for that

Think about your bills every month…what is essential and what could you live without? Rt and I ended up canceling our internet service because we were already paying for a data plan on our phones and all we did was browse the internet at home. We still watch Netflix with chromecast on our TV so we didn’t lose anything but the bill, which was costing us about $1000 a year. Whaaat?

3. Cook at home

This one is kinda lame, and we still go out to eat occasionally, but it definitely saves money to cook at home (unless you are eating the 10 for $1.50 chicken nuggets at BK every night…that’s pretty cheap).

 

There are a lot of other money saving tips out there from very qualified and most likely secretly rich people (at least one would hope), so go pick your poison!

Prepping

Well, I don’t know where the time went but there are only 5 1/2 months left until Rt and I will be hiking. That seems like a short amount of time but also like it will be happening a million years from now.

We’ve been slowly collecting our gear (I’ll post a spreadsheet of my gear list soon) and trying not to over plan. The food plan is a minimal hybrid-resupply with most of our food bought on trail. We’ve discussed what we would do if one of us was unable to continue the trail so there won’t be any hard feelings or guilt if one keeps hiking (at least we tell ourselves this now haha). We’ve even talked about what our plans are for after the trail, but we are experienced pack-up-everything-and-wander-ers so we’re not too worried. I have read quite a few thru-hikers post trail advice and the consensus seems to be “plan all you want, things will change but everything will work out in the end”. That’s not to say that Rt and I won’t be PREPARED…we just don’t need to over plan. Part of the allure of hiking the PCT is the mystery!

What we have left to do:

  • Passport – Jill (going full book instead of card for future traveling)
  • Finish gear purchases
  • Gear shakedown hike (with all our new toys)
  • Practice self-arresting (depending on the snow this winter)
  • Decide how we’re getting to the border
  • Find a kitty-sitter for my super old cat
  • Probably a bunch of other stuff

I also have to slowly steel my mind for writing a blog with frequent posts while we are hiking. I really want to do it so I can look back on it years later (I mean who doesn’t love reading their high school diary? So nostalgia.) I also realize how time/energy consuming it can be and how prone I am to procrastinating, so part of my prepping for the hike will be imagining how mad I’ll be at myself a year from now if I stop writing (I’ll be so mad).

 

Enter GoPro and YouTube

New to my content creation arsenal is my new GoPro Hero 3+, and along with that comes a host for the new format of content, my YouTube account.

I’ve had my new toys for little more than a week, and they’ve been a blast and a half to play with. This GoPro is my first, and it is an amazing little device. The camera is so basic, yet it can do so much. My television can’t even handle it’s 4k resolution, and my computer struggles to process the 1080p 30fps videos. It’s a heluva machine. My 8 year old Sony DSLR is still great for single shots where I want to fiddle with the zoom and focal length, but the GoPro beats it in every other way, and can do a lot more new stuff to boot!

I’ve also purchased an REI Hiker Shocklight Staff which has a camera mount on top of the pole, hidden under the cork knob.

Shocklight Staff with top-mounted GoPro

Shocklight Staff with top-mounted GoPro

Along with using my staff as a monopod, I ordered a StickPic to increase the variety of angles I can shoot from.

StickPic with GoPro

StickPic with GoPro

I’ve only just begun my exploration of what the GoPro can do and how creative I can be with it. Here are a few shots I have taken so far.

I’ve also played around with some video, though I’m most impressed with my steady-shot videos so far.

I’m using Gimp to edit my photos, and an old version of iMovie for the video editing. I can’t do all too much, but I think the kind of outdoor footage I’m looking to shoot will not need too much editing.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with the apps on my phone to import the GoPro footage, edit the video and pictures on my phone, and upload it to WordPress so that I can blog on the go, especially for our 2015 PCT Thru-hike.

And so now I have a YouTube account which will be filling up with videos, mostly of hiking and beautiful scenery. I’m so lucky to get to experience beautiful locations, and I want to share them with you in the best ways that I can.

Cheers!

As It Happens: A Documentary

An honest representation of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Two stalwart friends document their attempt at thru-hiking the PCT, capturing the beauty of the landscape and the people along the trail, but also some of more painful and bitter aspects of the journey.

Mitch and Dave (or whatever their names are) share their adventure with us in this documentary. Eager enthusiasm is quickly evaporated by the scorching Mojave Desert. Breathtaking footage of the beautiful High Sierra soon turns dark as a dangerous snow storm traps the duo in a stone hut on top of a mountain pass. The camaraderie forged between fellow hikers uplifts the spirit, but does nothing to soothe aching and blistered feet. Drinking muddy water and rehydrated beans is daily life, but the bountiful burgers and jugs of beer even the smallest of towns have to offer are close enough to heaven to make the struggle all worth it.

Such are the contrasts of the trail. Even the two good friends struggle to maintain their bond as the rain pours down and their spirits sink to unpredictable depths.

The honest truth of trail is displayed in this documentary. Though at a full film length, this is but a glimpse of the majesty and torture of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Jill and I have watched this, and it has only inspired us further. As It Happens presents the trail in such a way that I want my friends and family to see it, because it visually describes what has drawn me to the trail. Though there are ups and downs, scares and thrills– such is life.

Watch the video. If you enjoy it, check out As It Happens at their website to see what else they have going on and how you can support their efforts.

Beer Here

There is an anti-symmetry between my goal of posting to this blog on a regular basis, and the act of drinking beer for “research” and “content creation”.

Though I have been tasting many beers, visiting breweries, and attending social beer functions, I have not been keeping the audience up to date. What a bad, bad blogger I am.

And so here I bring you a lightning round of reviews. Quick notes on a handful of the brews I’ve experienced lately. Who really needs an in-depth breakdown of beer anyway? All anyone needs is yay or nay and a short quip to relay an experience from on to another, right? So off we go!

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Uinta Hop Nosh IPA
Yay! A hoptastic beer from Utah? I had to double-check that this beer had alcohol in it. It does. It says so bright and bold on the face of the package. They know their audience.

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Campbell Brewing Company
Nay! I tried three beers straight from the tap and they were as salty as seawater. The bar smelled like chicken shit too.

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Drake’s Brewery in San Leandro, CA
Yay! Spent an afternoon at the brewery, sipping away at some delicious brews. The Zinkonic was the hit of the day.

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Drake’s, again
Took an informative tour of the brewery. Good people, good beer, good atmosphere. Hard to find with it being in the shadow of a gigantic Wal-Mart.

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Sour Beer Fest at Original Gravity in San Jose, CA
Yay! A great vibe in this place, and some really sour beers! Many taps in the house. I will explore here again.

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Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale
Yay! Smooth. Tasty. Nothing exciting, but well-balanced. Good people drink good beer, indeed.

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Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA
Yay! So tasty. Farm fresh feeling. It’s like I’m drinking plants or something.

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Snowshoe Brewing Co. in Arnold, CA
Yay! At least I think so. Random find when camping out in a national park. I drank a lot on an empty stomach at this place. I remember being happy, but not much else.

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Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis
Nay. I love the original Oatis, and I think the vanilla addition just takes away from something that was already great.

20140731-163249-59569486.jpgSierra Nevada Ruthless IPA
Yay! It is a harsh first sip, but bear with it and the rewards are bountiful. Luscious, beautiful beer.

Good people drink good beer. Always remember that.

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