Well we’re almost at the end of May. May in Florida brings the first real taste the of high heat and humidity that defines the rest of the summer. Yesterday at 8am, the temperature was 80 degrees, and the humidity was 80%. Heat, humidity, and hurricanes – it’s what we get to look forward to down here.
The last week or so has been slowly dragging by. I’ve been working on my marathon training, and I’m waiting for my husband to come back from his military deployment. To add to my impatience, I’m only a few short weeks out from my trip to Alaska! I still can’t believe I get the chance to visit such a beautiful state. I joke with my husband that I might not leave once I get up there, and sometimes it doesn’t really feel like I’m joking. I need mountains and the sea, and Florida just isn’t cutting it for me.
Now, when it comes to trips I am an over-planner. Right now, I have a spreadsheet and a word document outlining the details of the trip, including a budget, an itinerary, a pack list complete with gear weight, a menu complete with recipes, and a list of places to visit in Seward. I’ve been planning this trip since last December, and I’ve probably put more than 100 hours into research. There sure is a lot that goes into planning a well thought out trip.
Thankfully, there are several great resources out there that have helped make my trip planning endeavors quite easy. The National Park Service website was a great place to start in regards to finding out more about the peninsula and the adventures we could have while up there. AlaskaHikeSearch.com helped us learn a bit more about the trails that we want to hike. They have plenty of pictures, comments from previous hikers, and descriptions of many hikes around Seward and the rest of Alaska. The Seward Chamber of Commerce website was also pretty helpful in regards to scoping out local businesses, as was Alaskagraphy, a blog run by two individuals who actually live in Seward. Their local’s guide has great information on the best places to eat/drink/stay and what to see in the area. They’re also willing to answer questions as well! How awesome is that?! Not to mention that the pictures they take from their boat make me super jealous.
As far as gear goes, the WhiteBlaze forums are a great place to look around. While most of it is specifically tailored to Appalachian Trail information, there are plenty of people who love to talk about the best backpacks, tents, and cooking systems for life in the outdoors. Many current and former AT thru hikers also have comprehensive gear lists and reviews on their personal blogs (Jordana’s is my favorite!). Those have been invaluable as we made choices for some new gear this year. REI is my location of choice for anything gear related, as REI members get 10% of their purchases back each year, as well as great coupons and the REI Garage Sale each summer. Next year’s dividend is going to be great for us 🙂 They also have a lot of helpful videos for anyone starting out with backpacking, hiking, or going outdoors in general.
Food was the last thing I dealt with on this trip. We bought a really fun cook set (the GSR Pinnacle Dualist set by MSR), but I didn’t have any clue of what to pack for backpacking. The last time I really cooked in the outdoors, I was in Yellowstone and I pulled a huge back of bacon and a few eggs out of a cooler in my car! Since then, I’ve tried a few freeze dried meals by Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry and have been thoroughly disappointed. Not only to they not pack down well, but they all seem to taste the same and leave you with a strange heartburn-y feeling. Thankfully, I found a bunch of wonderful recipes on Trail Cooking. Most of the recipes are one pot recipes or freezer bag recipes (where you pre-packages your ingredients into a Ziploc freezer bag, add hot water on the trail, and then BAM! Meal time!). I was able to scale the recipes to feed three people, and I’m actually looking forward to meals that aren’t all filled with freeze dried bell peppers.
Unfortunately, all of my over planning has left me with nothing left to plan at this point. I have the plane and train tickets, the Resurrection Bay cruise tickets, and all of our gear together. I haven’t yet packed, but I feel like packing three weeks in advance is a bit much. I’m tempted, don’t get me wrong, but a girl has to have something to look forward to, right? Maybe I’ll start planni Until then, I’ll continue running and bitching about the humidity…and there sure is a lot of humidity down South!