Like I did last year, I took my grandfather's truck from Prescott down to Scottsdale and the Phoenix area to visit family and longtime friends the Hansons. So I've spent the last day or two catching up with Cathy, Craig, Eric and Dave.
The huge Colorado Trail through hike Dave and I are planning on doing mid July however, is dominating our time and energy here. Needless to say, planning a 50 day hike is quickly exploding into a logistical nightmare. Previous backpacking excursions were easier to plan. Fewer days and no resupplies forced us to adhere to a close ended schedule. If we didn't have the time, we simply didn't take more food.
Now however, we find ourselves planning for 45 to 50 days of open ended hiking. Between the two of us, we could probably carry food unsupported for 6-8 days without much trouble. The trouble however, lies in the fact that we don't know exactly WHEN we will arrive at certain points. Will it take us 3 days or 5 days to march from Denver to Jefferson? Will we want to spend an extra day in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area? Will bad weather make that decision for us?
In light of this, we've decided to plan the trip cautiously and conservatively, planning on averaging 12 miles a day between resupplies. I genuinely think both Dave and I can exceed that estimate most days, but with blisters, thunderstorms, peaks to climb, and beautiful areas to goof off in, that number could quickly go out the window. The only alternative is OVER planning the trip, but Dave and I are both adamantly opposed to an anal schedule that restricts any spontaneous fun.
So, we're planning resupplies that assume we will move 12 miles a day. We've agreed that if we can beat that, the extra time it generates will allow us flexibility and time to do other things (bag peaks primarily). We're giving ourselves 5 days for unexpected contingencies and 5 days exclusively for climbing. Four days averaging 15 miles a day (Something we both think is possible), instead of the 12 will give us a bonus day for either rest, climbing, swimming, or some other activity.
We've also spent the last couple of days going over details about our diet and gear we need to take along. We bought about 10 different energy bars and spent some time sampling them (I seemed to be more enthusiastic about this than Dave). We found some good options. Kathy Hanson also seems eager to contribute to our cause by making the Hanson's famous jerky recipe. She'll be sending mail drops full of fresh homemade jerky to the same locations I'll be sending them. Dave seems to be relatively happy with the meal plans I'm coming up with, so everything seems to be on track for a departure in mid-July.
Other than that, I finally got to meet Jenny Dawson, longtime girlfriend of Eric Hanson whom I'd known previously only through my Facebook news-ticker. I'm also heading up to Flagstaff next, where I hope to climb Mount Humphreys again, or at least the Mount Elden lookout. Wishing I'd brought my climbing gear so I could hang out with Eric at Paradise Forks or something. Oh well.