Home   |   Plan a Hike   |   About   |   Live Map   |   Data   |   Feedback   |   My Hiking Tips   |   2013 Journal

[motivation/hosting fund]

new news: [September 10th, 2022]

I need to do some server upgrades, hence pctplanner will be offline at 1:30pm Saturday September 10th PDT. It shouldn't take long
My PCT Hiking Tips
PCT Hiking Tips: Bloggin' them Journals

Yup, another late night of copying bazillions of photos and video.
Remember this one rule of thumb:
  • Keeping a daily blog up to date while hiking the PCT is a giant pain in the ass!
Ok good, let's continue.

To update a blog you need power, time, and internet access. Sometimes it is hard getting all three at once. Even though I had my blog setup incredibly automated, it still really cramped my hiking style. More than once I would have to take a 90 minute break because I managed to find sunlight and decent 4G internet at the same time. I wanted to have a lot of photos on my blog so it took a long while for them to upload.

The upside to keeping a daily journal is that I came home to a more or less a finished day-by-day blog with thousands of photos, but good lord it was a lot of work. While everyone else was off having fun in town, I was holed up in front of the computer for two days trying to get the previous two weeks’ worth of entries online. Instead of spending more time getting to know a trail town, yup, I was in front of the computer.

If I were to do it again, I would still keep a daily typewritten journal, but I would not worry about trying to put it online until I got home. Then again, I’ve been home four months and still have 46 hours of video to edit and that won’t be happening anytime soon due to more pressing internet projects.

Anyways, at the end of each day I would type up my notes (see the journaling section) into the Notepad program on my phone. When I was finished I would copy the text and paste it into the Wordpress app. Be sure and do the copy/paste process since the Wordpress app has been known to eat blog postings. Although I didn't have a connection, I could queue up the posting within the Wordpress app for when it had a connection. As of this writing the Wordpress app is pretty clunky/frustrating when it comes to mixing photos in with blog posts, and impossible to do unless you have an active connection.

Since I do a lot of computer programming I setup my webserver so it would scan a gmail address for any messages that had photo attachments. The mail program in the phone gives you the option of resizing the photos down so they will take less time to transfer. If certain conditions security conditions were met, it would read the photos from the email and push them into my blog, based on the EXIF date in the photo.

The mail program on an iPhone currently only lets you attach five photos to an email, I was able to find another program that let me attach many more photos to a single email. This enabled me to place a bunch of messages in the outgoing queue for when I next got a connection. Ideally when I did get decent sunlight and cell access, I could just take the phone out of airplane mode and let the Wordpress app update the blog and the Mail program send off all the photos.

1996: Journal Cover
8/14/1994: Journal entry from around Chinook Pass. Bitching about a torn up trail, trash, and Sebastian Bach's bitchy letter to Rolling Stone about a then-recently departed Kurt Cobain.
It is easiest to just be the type of person that could care less about keeping a journal. If you are one of those people, then you can skip this section and have a lot more free time during your hike. If not, the next sentence starts after this period and line break.

The smartphone+bluetooth keyboard combination worked extremely well for journal keeping. I could type really fast and get down whatever thoughts I had in my head. In 1994/96 I hated journaling. To write legibly is very time consuming and tedious on the muscles. I would often not write things down just because I didn’t want to spend the next five minutes writing out an experience that I could have typed in 30 seconds.

Keeping a daily journal is very important, YOU WILL FORGET all the little meaningful details and things you experienced both inside and outside of your head. While I would hike I would jot down random notes on the Notepad in my phone throughout the day. The notes would be things I saw or thought about as they happened. At the end of a day my notes might read like:
  • up late
  • sick of granola, ate rice and Snickers for breakfast
  • naked couple making out, photos, awkward
  • Mather Pass, saw Buzzcock and Trust Fund
  • story from 6th grade about Battleship game
  • next trip, idea about saving up money, go away to Spain, start tomorrow
  • thinking about couple from this morning, actually not awkward?
  • did math
  • turn in early, try again tomorrow

In my tent at night I would go through and expand all of these notes (an actual entry for what became the 7/16 entry) into the daily journal entries that you see on Lunky.com.

Another thing you can do is to just record daily audio journals that you can reference later on. This is another thing a smartphone is good for. Just be sure to email the audio messages to yourself when you get to town so you have a backup in case your phone decides to go swimming. From a historical perspective, these might be interesting to listen to in another twenty years too.

Disclaimer: all calculations and data are believed to be correct but are not guaranteed.
Please double check the calculations and trail/resupply data before starting a hike.