On the 14th of April 2014  I flew out to San Diego to begin my first long distance hike
I was about to start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

At the age of 52  with nil hiking experience  and with two dodgy knees I had decided to hike one of  Americas  gruelling long-distance foot paths

The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,663 mi (4,286 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.
I would be hiking and living on the trail carrying all my supplies in my backpack.
Coming off the trail every 5 to six days to resupply before re-joining.
I had estimated  that this  hike would  take me approx. five to six months to complete.
I  started on the Mexican border with intense heat , slogged through  the desert, before climbing up into  the Sierras .In the Sierras I encounter all types of snow and conditions   some that scared the crap out of me .Once  over this mountain range I  dropped down into Oregon then on to Washington and the Canadian border

The Inspiration 

One day I was getting a newspaper when a book on the shelf caught my eye
It was Called “the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”
Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.
It was such an uplifting story and even though fiction I felt I would like to do something similar, but I did not have a goal or purpose to do such a feat

Later  I found out that an old friend  was  currently hiking the Camino trail, 500-mile walk to Santiago I was impressed and again  I  thought  I would  like  to  have ago at  that.
Whilst at work one day  I managed to snap my wrist opening  a door.
After being plastered up I  spent several days  sat at home watching day time telly, and was beginning  to go stir  crazy.
To  escape  I caught the bus  to my  mums  for a change of scenery and whilst  there I was going through a pile  of Sunday  magazines when  I came across an article in the Sunday Mail’s “You magazine”   about a lady  called Cheryl Strayed.

My 1000 mile walk happiness by Cheryl-Strayed

Wow! What a story, I just had to get this book, as soon as I got home I was straight on to Amazon, and waited for the plop when at last the post man dropped in through my letter box

I raced through Cheryl’s memoirs, “Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found”, Which is her story of her three-month, 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), from the Mojave Desert in Nevada, through California and Oregon to Washington State. At just 26 and a first-time hiker, she walked the arduous trail largely alone, blistered and bruised, hungry, dirty and exhausted, wearing the same set of clothes for weeks, and frugally eking out a few dollars for food. It’s also the incredibly honest and deeply moving account of how, at 22, she suddenly lost her mother to cancer, then lost herself in grief – destroying her own early marriage and dabbling in drugs – before finally piecing herself back together in the wilderness of Western US.

This book has since been made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon
I think it’s a great story backdropped with the PCT’s amazing   and breathtaking

The Wild Movie Trailer

Thank you Cheryl Strayed

I completed  my  Thruhike  in September 2014
I have to say,  like Cheryl in her book I started green and  with too  much  stuff  and therefore an overweight pack and so  the  first  few days  my  language  was blue  and  OMG  what have I done , I quit my job flew  5,200 miles  and  I  just cant  do  it
But I didn’t  give  up, it  was a very steep learning curve  throwing gear away  that’s has cost me a lot  of money  but  was the wrong  type   to carry  on the pct.  and several shakedowns later
I was beginning to know  what I was doing.

If  you ever get  the chance  to  try it then go
I have  to  say  on  the PCT.  I only ever met one wanker, the rest are great people  who  all have  the same goal as you  and that is to get  to Canada
During my hike  I heard great  tails  of two other large trails  the Appalachian trail  and  the continental   divide trail.
A lot  of hikers  try  to complete all three giving themselves  blagging rights to say that they  are a triple crowner .

So,  once  the  Pacific Crest  trail was completed,  I began researching the Appalachian trail,  but  it would  take me  several years to save the money to allow me  to go

In September 2018 I completed my Through hike of the Appalachain thrail

Search:- snailtrainers adventures

Hiking Q and A’s 

Do you have to be fit, young or strong to do a thru-hike?
I am not, but you do have to really, really want it.

How much does it cost to thru-hike
I have seen various figures mentioned. My hiking budget for the PCT was £3000.
This does not include my kit, airfares etc. Just food and accommodation and a little for replacement kit I hope it is enough as it is all that I had! *

What is your Resupply Strategy?
As I  was coming from the UK so my resupply strategy was quite basic I brought as I went, but from some towns I brought food and send it ahead Knowing that there could be a poor selection at that location **

What is the most important advice you would give to next year’s thru-hikers?
Get your base weight down, I carried far too much
(base weight is everything that you carry except food, water or fuel).
I typically hiked on my own, it was my own personnel challenge , but  if  you are  going  to  buddy  up  then hike with people who make you laugh, and never, EVER complain. (Advice from Carrot Quinton)

Yes, it is beneficial to get your base weight down but don’t be anal.
You want to be happy, warm and comfortable, not miserable cold, and wet just to save a few ounces

Why Hike the PCT!
After reading Cheryl’s Street’s book, I decided I was going to do this walk, my own personal challenge; I was going to walk it on my own, experiencing freedom, excitement and fear. Challenge and adventure are words that may begin to describe ‘why’ I decided to do hike.

For me, it is hard to understand ‘why’ you would not do something like this if you had the health, finances and freedom to do so. I did not have the finances, but I was going and hope to finish the trail before I run out of money.

An experienced PCT hiker named Billy Goat once said
“If you have to ask, then you’ll never understand.”

Cobba My Dog

My Dog “Cobba”

5 thoughts on “Home

  1. Well! Well done Dodge! Its a great start, an your blog and website are fantastic. We will so look forward to following you on your Big Adventure. Amazing, making us get itchy feet here. Mmm, what happened with the very Overpriced Beers? Presume that the 2nd one was a half….ha ha. Will be missing you this summer but hope you find a decent Pub Quiz somewhere along the trail. Terry is on standby for some questions…probably. Look after them knees (honestly start taking some vits, omega oils really help). And the blisters….best advice, Do not ignore. As soon as it starts to hurt put some plasters on, extra socks, anything, just don’t go thru the pain because it doubles the next day, deal with it immediately or it gets a lot worse. Apart from that, enjoy, its a big world out there, most of us never see it, we just watch 2nd hand on our tv etc. And you are actually out there doing this. Lucky you, brave you. Enjoy, we are all wishing it was us. Have fun, be safe and see the world. Lots love V K

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