AZT or Bust!

Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 18, 2019


You all made this happen...with outside donations included, my goal is met and surpassed. I have so much gratitude in my heart for you all. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 16, 2019


Here's what I am bringing so far. (I have a few more items en route and will post when I decide on them.)

Left to right:

  • 1) Outdoor Research gloves: free box find, great condition, I think I’ll want these for the first bit
  • 2) Cotopaxi Fuego LT, 950 Fill Water-Resistant Down Jacket: This was $49 on clearance at Sierra Trading Post and it’s super light, quite warm, and I love the color combination.
  • 3) Nike Pro Dri-Fit Shorts. I have tried numerous pairs of shorts out and these fit the best. I have a feeling that something more snug will chafe less; they’ll also work for swim bottoms should I get the chance to take a dip.
  • 4) Crocs Serena Sandal. These weight about 4 ounces for the pair, and having camp/town shoes is something I want to have. I have always sworn I would never own Crocs, but here I am… I wanted something with more “shoe" than a flip flop and didn’t want the expense of a trail sandal.
  • 5) 2 pairs of Darn Tough Midweight hiking socks. I have to say I am not super impressed with these so far. They pilled almost instantly and don’t seem to wick well. While the hiking community lauds them, these are my first Darn Tough socks. I wonder if they might be too heavy for the warmer sections of the trail too. But I’m giving them a try, and we’ll see how they go.
  • 6) Oiselle Flyout T Shirt . I am thrilled to support this local, woman-owned company from Seattle. I tried.so.many.t-shirts. Weird sleeves, limited movement, wacky lengths. I figure if it’s the only t-shirt I’ll be wearing for 2 months, it better be damn comfy and perform. It’s ultra lightweight, and a looser fit, but it stretches and completely moves with your body. I am super excited about this clothing item.
  • 7) Cashmere sweater. Secondhand find for $17, this may be replaced with a midweight Merino cowl neck pullover from Duckworth once it arrives. I’m a cold sleeper and I know the huge temp jumps that happen in the desert from day to night.
  • 8) My favorite new product yet is these amazing lightweight leggings from Girlfriend Collective, also woman-owned and local, from Seattle. These are the most comfortable pants I’ve ever put on my body. And people who make fair wages in safe work environments make them with recycled fishnets. What’s not to like? They have tons of great colors, but my size was sold out of most, so I went with basic black. Excited to put these to the test.
  • 9) Eddie Bauer lightweight shirt. A Goodwill find for $7, this shirt will not stay white long but is lightweight, loose, and fits the bill for sun protection.
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I like the colors.

Shelly Carlson

Update posted by Mar 17

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Love your choices - practical, ethical, and with flair! Sherry

Sherry+Brian Modrow+Rogers

Update posted by Mar 17

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 15, 2019

35 is Shaping Up to the Be Best Year Yet, thanks to you all.

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 14, 2019

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 12, 2019

In all my (green) glory talking trail food, clothing, and gratitude. Because I am an animated talker, you may have trouble hearing me as I hover back and forth near the horrible Apple speakers. Headphones or full volume should do the trick. I'll have a phone soon too, so this is hopefully a one-timer.


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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 10, 2019

We’re over HALFWAY! Amazing, you guys!

At $3.13 per mile, that's 471 miles funded! Thank you all so very much.

Because I know I’ll be carrying a significant amount of water at certain points, and that the elevation will be constantly changing, I am being pretty careful about what weight I carry, and why.

But before I launch into all that, a few exciting updates: Aarn USA told me my pack is the only one of its kind in North America, yay! and are seeing what they can do to get me more info and some add-ons. High Country News reached out to see if I’m interested in writing something for them, around the trips or its themes, and I’m have a convo with an editor tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Ok, back to the specs on the lightweight gear you’ve purchased for me, to keep necessities pared down to minimum weight:

  • 1) UL Headlamp from Litesmith. Only 1.17 oz. and it is rechargeable through a USB port. The super lightweight elasticized cords are actually very comfortable.
  • 2) To charge said headlamp and my phone, I picked up a barely-used Anker PowerPort Solar Lite 21 Watt Charger on eBay for $51, saving close to a $100. It weighs about a pound, so it’s heavy, but so is a large battery bank…and solar is THE premier resource to harness in the desert. It unfolds into a series of small solar panels, has two USB ports, and you can hang it on your pack as you hike. I had it charging my phone in the sunny living room, and it seems to be a win. We’ll see!
  • 3) My Thumbprint toothbrush from Litesmith weighs just 6 grams with the cover. (I’m going to carry some kind of tooth powder instead of paste, but haven’t decided on exactly which kind yet.)
  • 4) Nail clippers. Wouldn’t have thought of this one, but read on Artemis’ blog about the importance of short toenails and it made all the sense. I went with these Swiss Army ones that weigh under 1 ounce.
  • 5) Cat holes will be a reality, and again, at Artemis’ suggestion I went with Tentlab,a US based company. (Had I known specific colors were made outside of the US, I would have chosen a US made one, but I ended up with the impossible-to-lose-color Lime). Weight is equal to 3 TBS of water.
  • 6) I’ve reached out to the local ladies at Kula Cloth (made here in WA), and am excited to try this. It’s basically a reusable square of toilet paper for pee. The sun and antimicrobial properties sanitize. Weighs half an ounce.
  • 7) I’m not going without taking some precut strips of KTape Pro. This has saved my wrists, elbows and knees so many times since I discovered it. I am also going to see how it holds up for two more purposes. The first is for making bandages, using the tape and nonstick pad cut to size. The second is for gear/tear repair for my down items, tent, who knows what else. I ordered the cheapest bright color and ended up with Solar Yellow. Perfect!
  • 8) Tent. Ultralight tents and shelters are very expensive, so I settled for a less- fancy brand, Eureka, that’s a little heavier for this trip. (Often the aforesaid tents utilize hiking poles, which I do not use. Or use yet.) The Spitfire 1 weighs 2.12 pounds, and sets up very quickly. I replaced the heavy shepherd hook style stakes that came with it with 6 of the Zpacks Sonic stakes, which puts stake weight at 1.3 ounces. After much deliberation, because of the specific size and shape of this tent, I went with the factory made footprint, which weighs 5 ounces.
  • 9) Ultralight viscose towel. For $1.95, it was worth it to have a 12x 21 towel that absorbs ten times its weight, and weighs less than a cotton bandana. Check out the list Litesmith put together on what all to use them for…some pretty creative ideas!
  • 10) I will be cold soaking my food, so I will make good use of the Light My Fire Titanium Spork donated by Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange.Weighs .7 of an ounce.

Next time, I’ll take you through apparel! And there’s the whole water system, which I am still ironing out, too.

Thanks so much for making this happen. I can’t wait to share my adventures with you all.

Oxoxo LJ

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 08, 2019

THANK YOU ALL so much for your help. I can’t do this without you, and I need you all to know and hear that.

Super exciting news to share is that I am being sponsored by the Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange. I wasn’t thrilled with the pack choices I was finding, or the one I ended up buying and returning by Granite Gear. Too many bells and whistles, too much unnecessary extraneous stuff. I called Taylor at DBOE and took a nice little drive yesterday afternoon, and it ended up being a perfect choice. I took home an Aarn pack, an Australian brand trying to break into the US market. Do I love me some untested, unusual gear or what! I am thrilled to take this pack (hasn’t been put on the market yet) on my hike and give it the LJ treatment. I USE things, meaning while I take good care of them, they must be practical and hold up without being pampered. I have contacted the company to ask for a few more details, and will share them as I get them.

I tried to support cottage industries, second hand enterprises, and small businesses as I could for this trip. You all helped me purchase Zpacks 4-in-1 Pouch, which I’ll use for small excursions, for watercolor journeys or mini explorations, trips to town, and to keep essentials compartmentalized in my pack.

Another purchase you all funded was a lightweight quilt from a small company started in Colorado, Paria. The Thermodown 15 Quilt is green—yes, a favorite color—and I am excited to try a quilt vs. a sleeping bag. Quilts are favored by many backpackers for their lightness/warmth ratio. I like the versatility of being able to use it as a blanket during warm nights or fastened to my pad and to get bundled up for higher elevations. (Or sit wrapped in it under the stars, for that matter.)

To complete my bed set-up, your generosity bought me a nearly new Thermarest Neolite Xlite air sleeping pad on eBay for $130, saving me $30. You can read all its glorious specs here.

Stay tuned for more gear picks as my pack comes together! Doing a big Costco run this weekend to get ingredients to whip up some goods for the trail, and prepare resupply boxes. The trip is starting to feel real!

With Gratitude,

LJ

PS: You might show your support for the small business listed by following them on social media and considering them for any related purchases.

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Dearest LJ, I appreciate your thoughtful preparation. I hope you will feel inspired and comfortable sketching and writing along the way. I am with you all the way. susie

susan rice

Update posted by Mar 09

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 06, 2019

YOU GUYS! Almost 20% funded in less than 1 day?? Holy Cats!!!! Hail to your generous souls. This WILL come back around for you.

While I pulling weeds this afternoon, I was worrying about whether or not this fundraiser deal will make it off the ground. Second-guessing whether my cause was important enough, since I'm not dying, or injured, or terminally ill. (Although your donations will fund a GPS device I can use in case any of these things sneak up on me). And then I thought about how I am generous too and give when I am able, and I swallowed hard and plucked grass around the hellebore starts and thought, dammit, I am worthy.

From what I've found scouring the internet, hiking the AZT thru cost one fellow $2300 in 2012, and a woman I reached out to earlier this year who has existing gear and is testing some, has budgeted $1350. Read her blog; it's awesome and Artemis has been super helpful to me. Since I stared with a sleeping bag, what I have learned in putting this trip together is that gear is expensive, even discounted, sale, and clearance gear. I'm trying to pack as lightweight as possible, and while I'm sure I won't quite be the cultish ultralight range, I don't want to wear zillions of pounds on my back in a desert either, with a 100,000 foot elevation gain. Just saying. Additionally, all of the gear I am able to purchase is an investment in many more adventures, and a solid packable mini-habitat in case shit hits the fan.

There is also food for the trail/resupply, some camping permits, the inevitable replacement of malfunctioning of something, and two months of not earning an income.

The Universe is so big and bold and beautiful sometimes I can hardly stand it. But if I get to see the desert bloom this spring, I’m pretty sure that rivals the face of any god. And I know if I follow my heart to the desert, the ideas and creativity and insights just under the surface will have space and time, lots of time, to expand and grow and manifest.

A week ago a woman told me that I have a charmed life. I laughed because I thought it was ironic. She said, no, not like charmed, like, charmed, where things work in magic ways around you.

I couldn’t deny it.

Thanks for being part of my magic.

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Molly Brewer

Backed with $20.00 On Mar 18, 2019

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Katie Quach

Backed On Mar 17, 2019 Amount Hidden

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lauren green

Backed with $25.00 On Mar 17, 2019

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Have a great trip! I've heard amazing things about the AZ scenic trail :)

Laura Rovero

Backed with $31.00 On Mar 16, 2019

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Anonymous

Backed with $100.00 On Mar 16, 2019

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Sophie Geller

Backed with $35.00 On Mar 16, 2019

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Anonymous

Backed On Mar 16, 2019 Amount Hidden

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Anonymous

Backed with $20.00 On Mar 15, 2019

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Sammi LaBue

Backed On Mar 14, 2019 Amount Hidden

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One dollar for each beautiful year of your life! Happy birthday and have an amazing adventure xoxo

Irie Rose

Backed with $35.00 On Mar 14, 2019

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