We do have a sort of rhythm to our day. We are up early 5, 5:30, 6 or 6:30. Ideally we like to be on the trail by 6am.
Surprisingly Cory is normally first to awake, at first this was probably due to me wearing my Scotrail (eye mask)! But really I’m just comatosed:-)
One of us will have baked or brewed by then. Mandy bakes and Cory for some reason brews. At the very least one of us will be bursting for a peepee (if not our poop).
While one of us hobbles off to a secluded spot. The person left in the tent starts to deflate the Thermarests and stuff the sleeping bags and silkies into their sacks. If it’s me I’ll be wet wiping my hands and face, brushing teeth, inhalers. If it’s Cory he’ll probably have the tent packed away by the time I return!
A quick slug of water and we are off. We will walk for either two hours or until first water (between 4,5,6 miles). Or if we are walking into town we may hike a 7, 8 or 9miles, as the promise of a hot breakfast has amazing powers to lure us to keep walking.
Thus in approximately 2 hours we have breakfast.
We take off our shoes! Let the socks dry (they will be soaking with sweat), let the feet air and reduce their swelling.
We, Cory the Stove Controller, will heat some water if it is Ramen (for Cory), Porridge (for Mandy), or we may just be adding cold water to our Muesli & Powdered milk mix! Breakfast can last from 1/2 an hour to an hour (on average 45 minutes I would say).
Then I try to do 1 hour of my Pimsleur Spanish, now because this definitely does feel like hard work I can come up with many excuses ‘not’ to do it, but I have now completed, the full 30 lessons in Pimsleur Spanish 1! Next I will reward myself, if the iPod has enough charge, with listening to an audio-book. I didn’t start off listening to a book on the trail, but it somehow takes my mind off how hot I am, how sticky I am, how much I smelly, how difficult it is….my monologue with myself…
We will normally have another break in 2 hours, where we will sit again and air our feet. Perhaps having a snack (trail mix or bar).
In the desert (basically all of Southern California) we stopped approximately every 1/2 hour for a standing drink of water.
Lunch will be around 12:30 or 13:00 depending on distance covered, fatigue, suitable place to stop. Lunch is rarely something which is warm. Normally we will get the solar charger out, it may have already been out at breakfast, to charge the iDevices. My iPod charges quickly (and empties quickly), Cory’s iPhone needs a lot of iJuice, charges slowly and retains it’s charge very well.
Then we rouse ourselves again for approximately 2 more hours of walking, again stopping again for shoes off, snack if required and available (maybe nuts of a granola type bar, or clif bars if we splurged). We keep walking until we reach our destination.
Each morning we know roughly where we want to reach, the distance we want to cover and camp. Normally the destination will be water and or campsite, which means we have to carry less during the day if we know we will have water to cook our tea. We don’t really ‘cook’ our Tea (dinner) of course. We heat up water and either add it to our Ramen noodles, or our Idahoan Mashed potato. These are the two items we normally have for dinner. Sometimes we might have Knor ‘just add water type pasta or rice’ dish, but these require about 7 minutes of heating and stirring and are and must be economical with the fuel. So yes it is normally tatties or noodle soup, perhaps pimped with salami if we have any!
On reaching our destination for the night, Cory will scout out the best place to put up the tent (we try to be away from others, leaving plenty of space for others). It will mostly be a wild camp, although having access to a picnic bench is heavenly!
Then we start erecting the tent. I get heavier items ready to throw into the tent to hold it down as the PCT is usually or certainly often, windy at night and our free standing TerraNova Tent could easily blow away (until we are in it of course!). Tent erected, we put out the blue mat (Poundlands special!),and we may have to filter water for our Tea (Dinner).
Cory is a control freak about the stove. So mostly he is the Head Cook,I am the bottle washer. I will feebly blow up the two Thermarests while he prepares dinner. We eat from the pots or our Poundland mugs and then I use a wee bit water and a wet wipe if I have one, to clean our pots.
Then it is ablution time. Pretty much as soon as our dinner is finished, perhaps around 7pm, we get tucked up into our tent. We may have a flannel wash if there is water, maybe even put our feet in the creek and have a ‘good old scrub about our bits’ but mostly, due to the water situation, we have a wet wipe. We are sticky, dirty, hot, smelly even after the WetWipe!
I will brush out my Pocahontas hair, if I haven’t done it while the Head Cook was busy, and re-plait my hair again. Then it is teeth, pee etc. Finally we will be tucked into the tent. If Cory is listening to one of my audio-books we might put it on for our bedtime story and set the sleep timer to 1/2 an hour. I rarely last the 1/2 hour…shattered!
We will normally be asleep by 8pm (ish), assuming no noisy neighbours, hurricane winds etc.
I try so hard not to have to leave the warmth of my tent at night. Cory has to water the garden at least once during the night. If I have managed to keep it in all night, then in the morning it is Elephant Pee time!