Tips for Handling Mosquitoes While Hiking the PCT.

CD’s trail journal entries become less consistent in Oregon. He documents damp air, cool nights, mosquitoes while hiking, and endless self reflection.

His journal entry from 8/7/04 addresses the mosquitoes three different times in two short paragraphs.

  • As I was alternating between swatting mosquitoes and pumping water today I wondered, “What can’t I just sit on the couch and go use the tap when I want water like most people?”
  • Soon, however, it was back to the woods and endless mosquito-hatchery ponds.
  • Today’s mosquitoes are worse than last night’s but seem to be staying outside (but close).

Tips for handling mosquitoes while hiking.

1. Setting up your Tarptent.

  • Lay down your floor cloth
  • Lay your tent on top of your things
  • Arrange your pack and other belongings on the floor cloth
  • Pull up your tent
  • Climb in quickly
  • Enjoy!

2. Cooking dinner.

This may not be the best if bears are a consideration but you pick your poison I guess.

  • Get into your Tarptent
  • Set up your stove and prep your meal in your floor-less tent
  • Quickly move your stove just outside the vestibule, exposing only your hands. Light outside your tent
  • Wait inside the tent
  • Reach out, grab the food and eat

3. Hiking.

  • Expect to be bitten by mosquitoes as soon as exciting your tent
  • Wear your rain jacket for protection
  • Be organized and efficient
  • Start walking
  • Once you hit a good hiking speed, remove your arms from you rain jacket and tie them around your waist
  • Untie your rain jacket and slide it back over your arms and head as you approach water stops or other stops
  • Repeat as often as needed

4. Using your mosquito head net.

5. Embrace at least 20% DEET.

  • Longer hair
  • Thicker hair
  • A longer, thicker beard
#PCT. Notice the hat and the beard.

6. Embrace at least 20% DEET.

You will likely regret it if you don’t have it on hand.


The trail through Oregon leads to Mount Hood. CD found himself sleeping close enough to the Timberline Lodge to hear the music and see the lights of two wedding receptions. Such common first-world activities brought forward the surreal reality of having walked there from Mexico.

Was it worth the mosquito bites and endless buzzing? A picture is worth a thousand words.

mosquitoes while hiking

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6 Reasons to Consider a Floor-less Tarp Tent.

  1. If your floor gets dirty or damaged, you just get a new one.

2. It doesn’t weigh much. It is quick and simple.

3. It is easy to dry.

Just hang one edge and let it dry while not worrying about the sides sticking together or it getting bunched up.

4. You sleep with less mosquitoes.

When camping in mosquito dense areas, follow this procedure:

  • Lay down your floor cloth
  • Arrange your pack and other belongings on the floor cloth
  • Lay your tent on top of your things
  • Pull up your tent
  • Climb in quickly
  • Enjoy listening to other backpackers zip and unzip their tents while swatting mosquitoes and swearing

5. When the stars are nice but you think it may rain, you can have it on standby and put it up without rearranging your things.

See mosquito control tent procedure above and follow steps three through five.

6. Rodents can go both out and in. – yes, this is a benefit, please see below.

After a few episodes of rodents running in but not finding a way out, CD learned to prop up the edge with a shoe in order for them to quickly get back out. If you are wondering why this would be a benefit, hikers with traditional tents also had problems with rodents. The difference was that in the case of a traditional tent, the rodents chewed their way in but there wasn’t an easy solution to getting back out.

#PCT. Drying his sleeping bag while hiking

If you are interested in keeping your food safe from rodents, here is CD’s preferred item. Have fun!

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10 Clues That Your Husband Was A Thru – Hiker.

My husband was a thru-hiker. Here are some of the habits that I assume he picked up on the trail.

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommend. Clicking these links will not cost you extra money but will help us grow our website. Thank you for your support!

1. He drinks the dish water from the pot, even when car camping with a potable water source. This is not my favorite.


2. He puts on his “camp socks” for sleeping and insists that everyone in the family do the same.

He also has sleeping socks at home as well.

3. He makes a solid argument that floor-less tarp tents are better than traditional tents for avoiding rodents.

He argues that while they may not keep rodents out, a tarp tent at least doesn’t keep rodents in. I can’t really argue with that I guess.


4. He can wear gators pretty much anytime and has gators for any occasion.


5. He doesn’t understand why people exercise when they should just thru hike.

“They should go outside.”

Notice the switchbacks. #PCT

6. He wears layers all the time, even to go the grocery store.

He adds layers and takes off layers constantly. The sun is shining and a layer comes off. The sun is behind a cloud and a layer goes on. Our kids do this as well and it is exhausting.


7. He anticipates river crossing, even on day hikes.

He sometimes crosses rivers that we don’t even need to cross or at least he talks about how to cross rivers that we don’t need to cross.

8. He keeps his things in tiny bags and boxes. Seriously, he has endless tiny bags.

#PCT Kennedy Meadows

9. Pack weight is a constant concern, even on grade school field trips.


10. He doesn’t know the day of the week, time of day, or federal holidays but he can tell you how to find the nearest mountain pass.

Thru Hiker For the Win.

To learn more about the PCT and CD’s thru hike, you can check out these links!

Tips for Handling Mosquitoes While Hiking the PCT.
10 Things To Pack For Hiking The PCT.
Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.
PCT – Southern California, Thru Hike Throwback
PCT Menu: Throwback Thru-Hike Edition

PCT Thru Hike: Welcome to Kennedy Meadows.

By this time, the rhythm of the trail may be felt. They wake up in the mornings, slow moving, yet excited, hungry, sometimes cold and wet. The group scatters during the day as natural differences in pace dictate. Hikers are left to their own thoughts and to hike their own hikes. At night they come back together to swap stories, laughs, and for general camaraderie. Life is good at Kennedy Meadows.

Mile 697: Kennedy Meadows General Store.

Packs are often re-organized here. Heavier clothes, an ice axe, and crampons may be added. Northbound from here, the trail has more water, more shade, and more breath taking views.

Just outside Kennedy Meadows. CD fell off of the trail after taking this picture – he tore his pack. #PCT

Mile 760.5: Upper Crab Tree Meadows

At the base of Mt. Whitney, CD admits feeling short on sleep.

He wrote: “It’s 9:00 – hiker midnight“. “I can only hope that everyone in the world gets to experience this much magic and beauty every now and again.”

The view from Mt Whitney is worth the day hike for sure!

Atop Whitney. #PCT
Back toward the meadows. #PCT
The other side of Whitney (toward Whitney Portal). #PCT

The descent isn’t too bad either!

PCT Sierras

Here are some quotes from CD’s trail journal.

  1. The trail may be more of a river or a waterfall due to snow melt. I sometimes call it a “swimming trail“.
  2. Beautiful water sources are less enjoyable when swarmed by mosquitoes.
  3. There aren’t as many rodents above tree – line. I have never appreciated that more.
  4. Creek crossing are great when you don’t consider all of the risks.
  5. I drank water without filtering it. I felt pure and connected to the planet. When I didn’t sick, I felt so alive! (I don’t recommend this, by the way.)
More of the swimming trail.

Please check out these other links and posts to learn more.

Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off: Thru Hike Throwback
PCT Thru Hike Throw Back: Hot springs, Fresh Fruit, and Friendships
PCT Menu: Throwback Thru-Hike Edition
PCT – Southern California, Thru Hike Throwback
Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.

Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.

Hikers load up on supplies at Kennedy Meadows to head into the higher mountain passes. Once down the other side, unloading and re-packing again is common. CD was kind enough to record a hiking pack list from his stop at Pooh Corner, north of Lake Tahoe.

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommend. Clicking these links will not cost you extra money but will help us grow our website. Thank you for your support!

Here is CD’s hiking pack list!


Bag liner: Coolmax, 9 oz. A 6-7 oz silk liner was more common among the 2004 class.

Backpack: Granite Gear Ozone (please remember this was 2004). It weighed 3 lbs, as compared to the 2 lbs packs that most people carried. The weight was a trade off for having a frame and increased comfort.

For Camp:

Tarp Tent: two person model. Floorless, ~2 lbs.

Sleeping bag: EMS Mountain Light 20 degree bag, down. 2 lbs.

Tyvek: ground cloth, 5 oz

Z-rest full length: Most hikers used 3/4 lengths but for the couple of extra ounces CD chose warm and comfortable feet


Cooking and Water:

AquaMira water treatment

Spoon and fork: Apparently most people didn’t carry a fork but CD found it helpful for hard ice cream. Was this before the invention of the spork?

Evernew Titanium pot, 1.3 L: The trail standard in 2004

Stove: homemade pop can stove.



3 pair of socks: CD alternated between 2 different pair of bike socks while hiking and had a separate pair of camp socks. He insists on separate sleeping socks when we camp as well and it really is much better!

Camp Sandals: 3 oz

Wind shirt: Marmot DriClime

Rain jacket: Marmot PreCip

Convertible pants: Mountain Hardware. CD still has these. The shorts faded so much that when he puts the pieces together it looks like he is wearing shorts over different pants.

Tee shirt: Techwick

Hat: fleece



Miscellaneous Hiking Pack List Items:



Burt’s Bees

Picture of family


Safety Pins

Needle and thread: He had recently used to fix his pack after he fell off the trail while looking through his camera

Compass: CD said he never used it but felt it was important to have handy

Toothbrush and toothpaste

A Book: People’s History of the US, by Howard Zinn: broken into sections and mailed along in bounce boxes

Teachings of the Buddha, pocket guide

Trail Guide: broken into sections and mailed along but CD wrote that he often ended up with the wrong section. “I accidentally sent the Echo Resort to I-80 section to Pooh corner” … and so on.

Data book: The quick reference guide, broken into sections

Bug repellent. This was a new addition to the pack

Ursack Bear Bag

Nalgene: 16 oz. Mostly for dipping water and mixing drinks

Dromlite 6 liter water bag H

Hand trowel

Gauze, duct tape, hand sanitizer, ibuprofen.

Things that were left or replaced at this point on the trail and did not make this hiking pack list:

Bear Canister (replaced with Ursack Bear Bag). Chaco sandals (they needed to be re-soled). Heavy long underwear. Ice axe. Crampons.


PCT Thru Hike – Southern California

4/28/2004 PCT Hike Kick Off

This was CD’s PCT kick off and the first day of a nearly four month hike.


Today, CD chose to take a side route. Each hiker makes these choice and he decided to take a blue blaze route up San Jacinto Peak. The descent was 5000 ft over 16 miles. He grew tired of hiking in the dark before he could find a spot to camp, however. So slept in the middle of the trail before returning to the valley floor.


CD arrived at the Pink Hotel. Apparently it was a water-less off grid trailer filled with hikers of all types. He took a nap, played cards, and observed the questionable atmosphere and chose to hit the trail with his group by dinner time.

Pink Motel. #PCT
Leaving the Pink Motel before night fall. #PCT

He arrived in Big Bear City a day or so later. Strangers picked him up and shared their style of trail magic, including transportation, dinner, shower, and laundry.

Shortly after, the trail magic seemed to really take off.

The Saufley’s, Hiker Heaven, has since become so famous that it could no longer continue to function in the same capacity. In 2004, it was a highlight of CD’s hike. In 2020, it is transitioning to an AirBnB model.

The Saufley’s backyard and view. #PCT

Amenities included laundry and loaner clothes for while you are doing laundry, phones, informational boards, internet, shared supplies, and designated sleeping spots. Sleeping options included couches, beds, air mattresses, and open space. Everything was organized by using sign up sheets.

At the Saufley Post Office with the sign up sheet on the right. #PCT

CD and his group borrowed one of the loaner cars and made a trek to town for margaritas and food. He then scored a couch for sleeping among the 31 hikers that slept there that night. There was campfires, storytelling, laughing, and camaraderie.


From there, lunches had 16 people, wind farms filled the desert, running down hills was the newest sport, and water sources were trickling streams.

Water source finally but also with mosquitoes. #PCT

5/29/2004 PCT Hike

May 29th brought magic in the form of a family at campground that was also a water source. Cake, fruit, snacks, beer and wine were abundant and everyone was grateful.


May 30th looked different, however. It was a hot day and the hike was quite exposed. Several rest breaks under Joshua’s trees were generally insufficient and water was scarce. Shortly after CD and his group decided to use a minimal amount of water from a water cache, they stumbled upon a pop-up oasis of sorts. The “Robin Spring Pass Resort” was a hiker’s resort in development.

A friend of a thru-hiker was inspired to offer his own form of trail magic. He set up camp on a section of trail where it was needed. His “resort” had water, shade, sports drinks, sodas, sandwiches, a generator powered freezer full of popsicles, a DVD player with movies, a picnic table, and a library.

A big climb from there and CD had his first real view of the Sierras.

Desert and hills

Please follow our blog if you are interested in hearing more about CD’s thru hike and our other adventures!

Backpacking Menu: PCT Thru-Hike Edition
PCT Thru Hike – Southern California
Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.
10 Clues That Your Husband Was A Thru – Hiker.

Backpacking Menu: PCT Thru-Hike Edition

Food is a common topic among PCT thru hikers and backpackers. How does a backpacking menu look and how many calories do I need? When should I eat?

CD’s trail journal is full of words of wisdom. Job #1: Eating and Job # 2: Hiking.

Backpacking Menu:


1/3 lb of granola with re-hydrated soy milk

Second Breakfast

Pop-tarts (may be substituted by something else with 500 calories)


gorp or other trail mix


bagel and cheese or Nutella or peanut butter – whatever gets it up to 750+ calories, frequently snack a bit, too

Afternoon Tea

Clif Bar, gorp, granola, recently Twix or Snickers bar


1/2 a bag of Bear Creek Cheese and Broccoli Soup mix (4 servings), 6-8 oz of pasta, and 7 oz of tuna (the tuna is every other day recently) – which usually fills about to the 1 liter mark on the pot and totals 1000+ calories.


Twix bars or Sourpatch kids

Just in case you wonder how big CD is and why he needs all of this food. His self stated goal was to walk to Canada and not lose any weight. Surprising, he found a set of skis in the desert and took them for a spin.

With this backpacking menu, CD eats 3 lbs of food per day and it sounds like most other hikers were averaging 2 lbs per day. Since I don’t weigh my food, I have no idea what that means, however.

Food Inspired Quotes From CD’s Trail Journal:

  • I heard about a Mexican restaurant near the highway up ahead, I hadn’t intended to walk that far but I was hungry for margaritas and good food, so I pushed on. It was Del Taco.
  • For breakfast I had four eggs, toast, an orange. Lunch was most of a large pizza and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Mint Cookie.
  • “After breakfast, snack, ice cream, errands, and fixing the rub spots, we hung around at the grocery store”
  • “I had a veggie burger, a 22 oz. Arrogant Bastard Ale, a fudge ice cream dessert thing, and a small pizza”
  • Buying the whole apple pie with ice cream was cheaper than piece by piece, so I did that
  • I carried the Five Iron of Love for two consecutive days so they owe me a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
  • “Another town, another pint of Ben and Jerry’s”

Stay tuned for the Pink Palace, The Saufley’s house, all kinds of trail magic, and Kennedy Meadows!

A view of the PCT through the dessert and headed northbound.

CD also has a hidden talent that he apparently picked up on the trail. He can open the ice cream freezer at any gas station and know exactly how many calories are in each option. I thought it was kind of bizarre until I read this record of his daily diet, however.

To learn more about CD’s 2004 PCT Thru Hike please follow our blog and check out these links.

Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off: Thru Hike Throwback
PCT Thru Hike Throw Back: Hot springs, Fresh Fruit, and Friendships
PCT – Southern California, Thru Hike Throwback
Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.

Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off

4/28/2004 was the first day of CD’s Pacific Crest Trail thru hike. April 28 is also my birthday, so we celebrate.

He kept a trail journal and has offered it to me. This is just the beginning.

#pct #pacificcresttrail

Transition to life on the trail

I know very little about his time on the PCT. The first few weeks were a time of transition and learning. He went from hiking with a friend to hiking alone. He re-organized his pack and overhauled his food plan.

Prior to being on the trail, he imagined walking and walking just to see what was over the next hill. The people and relationships that make up the trail were not really part of the plan.

Human connection

Walking over 2500 miles by yourself in order to better appreciate human relationships seems counter-intuitive. In 2020, it is also an interesting topic in light of physical distancing in the face of pandemic.

CD tells me that he experienced his first trail magic just a few days into his hike.

#pct #pacificcresttrail

Trail Magic, Pacific Crest Trail Style

I was hiking through the hundred-plus degree desert sun and contemplating how much water I didn’t have. As I was reluctant to hike too far off trail for water and was pretty sure I could make it to the next source, I laid down on the side of a dirt road and put my feet up on an embankment trying to make my own shade.

Despite the heat, a family was settling in for a picnic up the road. Within a short time, the father came up and asked me where I was hiking.  He was quite excited to learn that I was, indeed, on my way to becoming a PCT through-hiker He gave me water, fruit, and Gatorade. It was just the sign that I needed to let me know that I was on the right path.

With this, CD had his first glimpse of how much larger the thru hike was than just the trail alone.

He went on to Warner Springs, feeling lonely but not as thirsty as he may have otherwise been. Fellow hikers offered him a room to share. Being early in the trail, there were more questions than answers.

Self Reflection on the Pacific Crest Trail

How fast should I hike? When and for how long should I rest? How much should I interact with people? What was my larger goal? Was there supposed to be a larger goal?

It sounds like all of these questions were a collective work in progress during the next four months.

So, every April we celebrate CD’s PCT kick-off anniversary.

In 2020, lets walk around the block and see if we find some trail magic. I bet we will.

#pct #pacificcresttrail
#pct #pacificcresttrail

Please follow our blog to hear more about CD’s hike and our other adventures.

Tips for Handling Mosquitoes While Hiking the PCT.
6 Reasons to Consider a Floor-less Tarp Tent.
Backpacking Menu: PCT Thru-Hike Edition
10 Clues That Your Husband Was A Thru – Hiker.