Saturday, April 28, 2012

At kickoff, but Marina heading back east for now

We hiked the 20 miles from the Mexican border back to Lake Morena yesterday, and had a good time. Now hanging out at kickoff and Dan heads north tomorrow.  Unfortunately Marina's dad's health situation is still precarious, and she's flying back from LA to the east coast tomorrow to be around.  Hopefully things will look up and she'll rejoin at some point later!

The desert is beautiful and surprisingly green.


Thursday, April 26, 2012


 The hikers a few days before they left for the trailhead

Heading out

We're off to the airport to fly to San Diego in less than an hour!  Blog updates will get more interesting, but less frequent.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Moving out

Three hard-working movers are hauling all our posessions down the stairs on the way to storage.  We're staying with my parents in Berkeley until Thursday, then off to Lake Morena County Park via San Diego for ADZPCTKO and then to the border to start hiking north!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On blogging as procrastination from packing, part II

Hey everyone, this is Marina!  My first post.

Tonight it is my turn to pack and therefore procrastinate by blogging.  Tonight is my very last night with my dad and my mom in Stamford, CT.  Tomorrow I fly to SF, where Dan has been packing up our apartment all by himself, while I have been taking care of my dad and finishing up loose ends to prepare my mom for being the sole caretaker of a cancer patient in-between rounds of chemo.

I love to cook for my parents, and my dad loves my cooking (as does my mom, but my dad especially, even since he's gotten sick he enjoys what I've made for him).  Tonight I cooked my last meal of my visit for him.  I made a Turkey Picadillo with Quinoa, a fine, hearty meal for someone who needs the food to be easy to eat, full of protein and fiber and fluids, and easy on the stomach.  As I was cooking and improvising, I was thinking about how much I'm going to miss cooking on the trail!

Although my dish was a bit different from the original (no tomatos - I replaced them with homemade chicken stock, and no raisins, light on the spices),  I wanted to share the recipe with you:

Serve with quinoa, and make it soupy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On blogging as procrastination from packing

Packing for the trip will be a breeze, but right now I am trying to prep the rest of the apartment for packing everything else tomorrow.  I think the main challenge is making sure things we need on the hike don't end up in the bottoms of boxes.

It's way more fun blogging, figuring out how to automatically cross-post my blog posts to all my social media, and watching my pageviews go up.  But I am cut off until all the boxes are packed.  Probably.

Trail names

Yep, people tend to get trail names.  It's supposed to happen spontaneously.  My question is whether to reuse my Appalachian trail name, "Heavy", given to me because of an (in)auspicious bright orange luggage tag that got applied to my backpack at the Tampa airport.  I probably will.  It would feel weird to have another trail name.  I didn't like that one at first, but then, after a while, it's just your name.  The HEAVY tag made it all the way to Maine with me, laminated with packing tape.

As for Marina, who knows?  Though if she blogs here using her current blogger profile name, her fate might be sealed.  We'll see.

Stove again

The first stove, completed.

This is not actually the one from the previous post.  Aside from fitting problems, I found out the hard way that a scratch awl is not the right tool for the pinholes.  Push pins hurt my thumb after a while.  I finally settled on push pins gripped by needle-nosed pliers, swapping out pins every ten holes or so as they got bent.

And it burns!  This was with 90% isopropyl alcohol, which isn't really the ideal fuel.  I think I would have gotten more of a blue flame from the pinholes with denatured.  But there was flame coming out of them, even if you can't see it in this picture.  The aluminum foil tape started coming off the outside, so we'll see how that holds up, though it's not really an essential component anyway.

I'll make at least one more so that Marina and I each have one, and maybe a few spares if I run out of other things to do before we go (unlikely.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stove, under construction

Soda can stoves are awesome.  This one is a work in progress, and I didn't do a good job fitting the cans together, so I may need to start again.  The good thing is that they're durable but also easy to replace from scratch if necessary.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Preliminary schedule, and mail

We have a schedule spreadsheet in progress at

The dates are intentionally aggressive: we don't want to miss mail.  We'll figure out how fast we're actually going as we go.  We may even update the spreadsheet from the trail (Google docs is a useful advance over the text file from the AT in 2001.)

Any stop that says "yes" in the "definite mail stop" column is fair game for sending us mail.  If you feel moved to send us letters or postcards, that's great!

If you decide you want to send us a food-based care package, that is also awesome!  We are not counting on unsolicited food packages, so don't feel bad if you don't.  High calorie things that we can't get on the trail easily, and that keep well, are the best bet.  Chocolate covered espresso beans are an excellent kickstarter to the morning, and often hard to come by, for instance.  No cans please; too heavy.

Things other than food that weigh more than an ounce, we probably aren't going to want to carry.  Check first if you have something you really want to send us.

The rows that say "general delivery" as part of the address mean that you should send mail to:

Dan Eisenbud and/or Marina Brevdo
General Delivery
Town, ZIP code

On any mail, please write in the corner "HOLD FOR NORTHBOUND PCT THRU-HIKER".  Putting in the approximate date we'll get there isn't a bad idea either.  Yes, it will really (probably) get there and be waiting for us.

We'll also be checking email (and blogging) on an intermittent basis.  Times between internet access may vary a lot, so don't get too concerned if there's a long radio silence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


First of all, for those of you who haven't heard, Marina and I (Dan) are planning on thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this spring and summer!  It goes about 2650 miles from the Mexico-US border through the desert, the Sierra, and the Cascades, ending at the US-Canada border, and will take about five months.  I've wanted to thru-hike the PCT ever since my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2001, and now's the time!

Marina's plans are a little bit up in the air because her father is ill, so she may just join me for parts of the trail.  She's currently planning on starting at the beginning and hiking for a month, then taking some time off, and then figuring out the rest.

We leave for San Diego on the 26th, will spend a few days at ADZPCTKO (the annual kickoff event) at Lake Morena County Park, and then head twenty miles south to the border.  Then all we have to do is hike north for five months, which will probably seem easy in comparison to moving out of our apartment and all the other pre-trip logistics.  More soon on trip preparation madness.