Last week’s article introduced how a timeline could be used to ease the pain of planning a section hike. It also describes the activities you should consider when a backpacking trip is three months away.
Here, we review the activities you should pursue when your trip is 3 weeks away.
- Decide how you will travel to the trail. If you live near your selected trail, you may be able to find a friend who would take you to the trail. If you choose to drive yourself, confirm you can park in an area where your vehicle will be safe while you are away. If trailhead parking is in a park or recreation area, you may be able to contact a ranger station for advice on parking options. Trail shuttle drivers help to take backpackers to some sections of some trails for a fee. Online trail journals sometime identify trail shuttle drivers and contact information. Of course, reaching some trails may require planes, trains, or buses. You may need to weigh your travel alternatives as you review your choices options using various online reservation sites.
- Identify motels and hiker hostels along your section. Unless your trip is limited to just a few days, you’ll want to find places where you can wash clothing, take a shower, and get out of the weather.
- Decide where you may resupply. Again, if your upcoming trip is limited to a few days, this should not concern you. You could carry a few days of food in your pack. One of my friends who backpacks carries a week’s worth of meals. Finding resupply points may require searching for insights in online trail journals. Also, if your trail segment passes through a town, you can locate a nearby post office. Backpackers can mail boxes of supplies to U.S. Post Offices.
- Review your packing list. It’s probably time to begin to review your list of equipment and consumables (e.g., food, stove fuel, first aid supplies). What was forgotten on your last trip? What should be added to the list? Consider removing equipment that was not used on a similar trip. Three weeks is plenty of time to replace what you might need for your upcoming trip.
- Decide how you will return from the trip. This activity is the same as planning for your travel to the trail. Remember that if you plan to return on Sunday, some services may not be available, or may operate at reduce hours and routes.
What is missing from the list above? What other key activities do you perform three weeks prior to hitting the trail for a section hike?