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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Apr 08, 2019

I am finally catching up on my narrative journey...I welcome you all to check out my blog, where I will posting current updates from now on. Here’s the link to my blog: https://aztorbust.weebly.com/adventures.htmlI also share photos on Instagram and Facebook, if you do social media. Will try to make first real post soon, suffice it to say I’m well, sunburned, loving this country, and grateful to all of you.

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Apr 02, 2019

I made it to Arizona! A stop at REI to find a replacement layer for one that got locked in a friend’s house last minute... I found a Mamut pullover with pockets and a drawstring hood that I’m trying out, and picked up a fresh hat for good measure.

My second Uber took me to North Tuscan and the home of lovely Julie M, who has provided me with a bedroom and space for a few days until I have really shaken this cold. Plus: 800 acres of conservation habitat right out the backyard, with trails for hiking. After a 4am wake up, I needed a nap but not before I put on shorts and hiked around a bit.

Lizard; gopher snake; quail. All sighted within ten minutes of being outside. Truly I feel embraced here in a way I don’t anywhere else. My soul can breathe here.

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 28, 2019

When I came across just one of these petite books, I dumped the ultralight ideal for some old-school appeal: perfectly sized to travel with me one at a time on my journey, I have the whole little library. These are beautiful hardback editions, with a pearlescent sheen that looks a little magic. I recall fondly the voraciousness wherewith I read when I was last in a similar position, out herding goats in the mountains of Montana with no cell service, my dog, my lunch, and 1,000 ruminants for company. That's when I literally read a New Yorker cover to cover, even the boring stuff, and tackled The Metamorphosis, although I'm sure I still don't get Kafka.

Book, plus 4x6 accordion style watercolor booklet, favorite brushed, halved, and primary watercolors are part of what are making my pack weigh in at 17 pounds without food and water. I mailed my first resupply to Patagonia, Arizona today, and have everything I need for my trip at this point. I'm leaving for Seattle on the 31st, and flying out the morning of the 1st. I know, I know, but I don't start hiking until the 2nd, which is a dear-to-me horse's birthday....yes, I'm sentimental.

Trail magic is working pre-trail for me...Thanks, Margaret from NM for hooking me up with an AZ pal who will be picking me up in Tucson. Here's a preview of what I'm headed for in Passage 1.

Stay tuned for more fun!

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Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 23, 2019

Folks, I have done it! I managed to sort out the calories needed for 3 plus days—9200—and fit everything in a flat rate padded envelope. After 5 trys. And maybe a few swears.

Mysterious Ziploc substances are as follows, left to right: Powdered coconut milk; chia seeds; hemp seeds; millet and brown rice ramen; roasted garlic and olive oil couscous; dried apples + coconut clusters; dried mangos and coconut flakes; coconut flakes. The tablets (which I removed from the plastic containers) are plant-based electrolytes and superfood greens effervescent tablets to add to my water, 4 of each. Total calories for all here is 9250.

The real challenge: how the heck to get this to fit in here?

First, a shout out to Bill from YouTube, who gave the recommendation to use these flat rate mailing envelopes instead of boxes, and who helped me plan a plant-based backpacking diet. THANKS A MILLION. Here's the link to his very informative video: https://youtu.be/DCG-Jc0p6Ic

While Bill clearly has the system down a little better than I, I DID manage to get the envelope sealed after many many various packing methods.

My dear friend Kalyn has volunteered to be in charge of resupply packs, and I'm planning on mailing thirty in all. That's $240 worth of postage, and an invaluable peace of mind. Many thanks to Brian and Sherry for providing a space for me wrestle chaos, and a bed until I hit the trail the first part of April.


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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.

I like the colors.

Shelly Carlson

Update posted by Mar 17


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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