After Hiking the PCT in 2014 the first thing that I needed to do was to get home see my dog, closely followed by seeing my kids , Once I had ticked those two boxes it was time to get a job , earn some money and make my bank account happy again,
Luckily, I found a job and was working again……………
But I missed the trail, the wide-open spaces and its beauty, but it wasn’t long till those fun times became distant memories, as I settled back into my nine to five and began to see my waistline expand.
The Appalachian Trail was always going to be my second hike, but sadly it comes down to money………….
The older you get, the harder it is to walk away from a job, and you worry about how the bills are going to get paid,
I worked hard in my new job but occasionally my mind would daydream and I would be on the trail again . Maybe this company would give me a sabbatical? That way I would have a job to come back to …
The months quickly passed turning into years,
I want to do another hike, but how,
My last hike was supported by two of my children living in my house and paying my bills, Now it is just me and my dog and who is going to look after him ?
I sighed deeply and watched more months pass by
I didn’t have a good day at work and so was not in a good mood as I pulled my car into my driveway, although a smile returned as soon as I opened the door to be greeted with 50 lb of excitable Dog,
I quickly changed and then Taylor and I headed out across the fields with several tennis balls
Once home and armed with a cup of tea I began to look at the AT’s website.
How much will it cost? , airfares , insurance and Kit, well I have the kit several items could be replaced but the rest is fine . The AT is similar to the PCT you can do it on a shoe string or you can spend thousands. I want to be somewhere in the middle ..
Okay let’s say $5,000 ( £3,813) Rounded up to 4K plus airfares and insurance Okay that will be my budget , (its a starting point)
I don’t know why but planning a hike makes me so happy I have a budget okay I haven’t any money but I have a budget in principal ,
I don’t know if I will have the money by March 2018 or if I will be able to go
But that is my target
I then went to get my gear from the attic bringing down two large plastic crates .
It was like Christmas as I sorted through my gear reminiscing on my fellow hikers and silly days.
It all looked good, I only really need to replace some of my clothes and trail runners everything else should be good to go.
Oh my pack where’s my pack , I came back from the US with two backs my osprey aether 70 and my Exos 48, I tried both but preferred the big and bulky Aether, mainly because it felt better on my back and that I could load from both ends .
It was like meeting an old long lost friend, but at arm’s length as this pack stunk,
Okay google what’s the best way to clean a pack!!!
10 minutes later I have stripped my back down, torso belt and shoulder straps removed, followed by the top pack and rain cover.
The torso and shoulder straps went in the washing machine, but for the pack it was bath time.
OH MY GOD the colour of the water, yes it really did need a good bath , after several rinses I left it to dry and went back to see what other kit may be good .
I began a list of nice to haves
Personnel Location Beacon (PLB)
Pocket Rocket II
I did not have a beacon or other device on the PCT, mainly because I ran out of cash
Some people use spots , but I just wanted a PLB, Its personal choice, I’ve found in the past that with bad cell coverage the spots are useless, leading to panic at home and false searches ,
But when they do work you are able to send messages with them. The PLB once triggered I just sends a signal and so you have no way of knowing if they are coming to find you
But as the saying goes HYOH,
I used an Olympus Tough 830 on the PCT, that far exceeded my expectations, but a shiny new one would be nice,
I used a solar monkey adventure on the PCT and it too performed brilliantly and was envied by many of my hiker friends , Sadly a son borrowed it and it was never seen again so I need a replacement I want to try the Solar monkey expedition its lighter and unlike the adventurer its water proof
I used a three man Big Agnes fly creek Ul and this is the tent I will use again, I’d like a new one .I may see what REI can offer when I get there!!!
I used several pairs of trail runners but stuck with Solomon’s XA Pro 3D’ s and again that’s what I plan to use . In fact I saw some advertised at half price and so I have brought three pairs , 2 which I will keep in my bounce box till needed .
I loved my Pocket Rocket and plan to take it again. But MSR have now released a new model the Pocket Rocket II so if I can get one at a discounted price then that’s what I will bring. It is based on the micro and is small so it will actually fit in my pot or cup,