We had our first official "zero" day today, which means we didn't hike any miles. The hiker kick off party was going on, so we wanted to stay and enjoy the vendors and clinics going on throughout the day. There were 700+ people registered for campsites at Lake Morena for the event, and there were rumored to be over 1,000 people trying to thru-hike this year!
Throughout the day we attended clinics on desert hiking, the water report for the season (info on where to find all the water sources in Southern California, especially since it has been a dry year), overuse injuries, and others. There was food, and vendors with lightweight gear to sell, and even a "foot doctor", a trail angel who came out every year to treat blisters for hikers. Katie and I visited "Dr Sole" and got the blisters on our pinky toes drained and bandaged.
In the evening, we stopped by the Gear Shakedown tent and had our pack weights evaluated. Katie put hers through the full scrutiny and only managed to save 0.8 of a pound (well done!), then she and Bryan helped me go through my gear and weed out the unnecessary stuff. I ended up sending home: my Jobypod camera stand, a few stuff sacks, random carabiners and a thermometer, extra first aid supplies, my sleeping bag liner, trowel (we did a test and the trekking pole worked better), inflatable sit pad, and my solar charger. That was a hard one, but it weighed a pound and I couldn't justify it in the end. I did keep the back up battery pack so I could recharge my phone once in an emergency. I also tore pages out of my journal and sent the bulk of the journal weight home. All in all, I probably saved another two pounds.
Now that we have lighter packs and an idea of what the trail has in store for us, we're ready to put on some miles tomorrow!