Recent Journals

For the first time in my life, I have three journals going at once.  I’m usually just a one-journal kind of guy, only keeping one while I travel or hike. Since I can’t be in more than one place at once, that usually means I’m only keeping one travel/hiking journal.  But here I am, at a crossroads in my life: I’m still journaling about my Pacific Crest Trail hike, which ended in October of last year. I began journaling  about my 2012 hikes as well.  And I’m preparing for a big hike this upcoming summer involving a lot of planning, which I am recording in the pages of yet another journal.  Since some of you seem to enjoy looking at my journals almost as much as I like writing in them, I thought I would share a few of the pages with you.

My PCT Appendix

I’m still adding information to my fifth and final PCT journal, which I first blogged about here. Truthfully, I think I’ll be adding to this journal for a good amount of time still to come.  I’ve got information in my head that I just have to get down on paper before the memories fade to oblivion:  Campsites, packing lists, songs I heard, trail conditions, favorite foods… the sort of info I look forward to reading when I’m much, much older is sitting in my head, waiting to be added to the “appendix.”

This page below is from the section on my campsites of the PCT.  The watercolor, pen & ink sketch is of a campsite I named “Camp Sneaky Deer,” a small meadow in Kerrick Canyon (Yosemite NP).  I named it after a deer tried to sneak up on me while I slept to lick the salt off of my hanging clothes.

Camp Sneaky Deer

I was curious on how much of the PCT I actually skipped. The answer surprised me!  Half of a mile here, ten miles there, and before I knew it, I had detoured nearly 150 PCT miles!  However, for the most part, I stuck to a personal guideline: if the detour is equal to or greater than the PCT section I’m straying from, I’m OK with that.  I hiked about 220 non-PCT miles on my journey.
Skipped Sections of the PCT

I finalized all of the data I collected on my trek.  The red represents adjusted mileage that I miscalculated while on the trail (Usually only a few tenths of a mile off.)  Have you ever thought it was a Friday when it was actually a Thursday?  Yeah, I did this for NINE DAYS.  The section in yellow is the time I spent not realizing I was a day behind.

Updated Data Charts

“100 Hikes 2012” Journal

In November, I was hoping to get an early start on my resolutions for 2012.  I was planning on upgrading my 2009 goals and hiking 100 times & 700 miles in 2012.  But life takes unexpected turns and after a family health emergency, I changed plans. I’m beginning to think that my journals are like jazz music: open to experimentation and inspiration. I suppose that’s why I don’t have “rules” for my journals but rather just “guidelines.” I don’t want to limit myself in how I capture my journeys. Experimentation in journal keeping has lead me to new ways of keeping them.    In this hiking journal for the new year, I put down my standard black ballpoint pen and started using a Pigma Micron ink pen.  I also began experimenting with color while on the trail. On the page below, I used watercolor pencils and Pigma Micron pens to make the pages a little more interesting for me to create.

Sisters Mirror Lakes Loop

I learned quickly that it is difficult to write with Pigma Micron pens while on the trail, so I switched to mechanical pencil.  On this hike, I wrote and sketched using 2H grade graphite. For the image on the right page, I sketched it in pencil, then used my Watercolor Pencil Palette and Pigma Micron pens to add detail. I also incorporated white gouache paint, another first for me.

Round Valley Regional Preserve

I went back to using my trusted Papermate black ballpoint pen for a camping trip in February.

Mt Diablo Camping Trip

A pencil I brought along came in handy when I saw a summit marker on Mt. Diablo. I took a rubbing of the marker for my journal.

Summit Marker Rubbing

I used my 2012 Hikes journal to start hashing out my goals for the year. Among the goals, and now well documented on my blog, is my upcoming Sierra Trek 2012. The page below shows some preliminary route ideas and possible resupply locations. I also began using a heavier graphite in my pencil. The 3B grade works a lot better for me than the 2H. Even though it smudges easily, it’s darker markings are easier to see on the cream-colored pages.

Route & Resupply Planning

I’ve always had an obsession with maps, but only recently have I begun to really enjoy making my own. Here’s one I made during a hike along the Deschutes River here in Bend, Oregon.

Map Test

“Sierra Trek 2012” Journal

For the first time, my main hiking journal is a large Moleskine rather than the pocket-sized version. Lucky for me, I’m a big guy and the large book still fits nicely in my breast pocket. I just started using this journal, mainly adding information I think I’ll need on my long hike. Instead of photocopying a ton of nature field guides, I decided to sketch some of the info in the journal, making it easier to reference on the trail.

This page below is a start of the common butterflies found in the Sierra, painted using my color pencil palette. I’m not done with the page but I wanted to scan it to show you the rippling of the pages, a common effect caused by painting in the Moleskine Plain Notebooks (both large and small). My style of painting uses very little water, making it possible to use watercolors in this type of journal without it bleeding through the page, but the rippling of the page still occurs. Thankfully, after a few days of drying, the ripples will go away. (As you can see in the other watercolor pages in this post). I’ll finish this page soon and rescan it, showing you how the ripples had faded away over time.

Butterfly Field Guide

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