The Appalachian Trail

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

October 2017

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)
Camera
Solar Panel
New Tent
Trail runners
Pocket Rocket II

PLB

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,

Camera

I used an Olympus Tough 830 on the PCT, that far exceeded my expectations, but a shiny new one would be nice,

Solar panel

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

Tent

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!!!

Trail Runners

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 .

 

Stove
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,

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