Deciding to hike the Pacific Crest Trail turned out to be just one of many decisions. My initial online sleuthing sent me out into deep morass of innumerable options. The internet quickly informed me that the backpacking gear I already owned wasn’t good enough, light enough, or awesome enough, but couldn’t seem to come to a consensus about just what gear WAS good enough, light enough, or awesome enough.

About this time, I ended up randomly chatting with a guy at a coffee shop who had hiked the PCT the year before. Not only that, he’d managed to squeeze all 2,660 miles in his summer break from med school. His secret? The Ray-way, pioneered by Ray Jardine.

“He’s the king of backpacking ultra-light,” said random guy. “I carried less weight and hiked 30 miles a day.”

Well!

I’d heard Ray Jardine’s name before, but only in a climbing context. He invented a new piece of gear, the “Friend”, that ended up revolutionizing traditional rock climbing. I’ve taken falls on them before myself, and a Friend in need truely is a friend indeed.

Anyhow, gotta trust somebody.

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