Well December has been and gone   and I am filled with anticipation and a little doubt
I am still shooting for late March early April,  that’s if I can go at all ,as I am still waiting for some personal stuff to be sorted.

My Pack sits in the spare room, its packed and ready to go,
It weighs in around 25lb I have never been a light hiker, but I am a warm and happy hiker. I always need to hike for a week to see how my gear behaves before giving my pack a shake down and bouncing gear ahead

Replacement gear

To be honest nothing is wrong with the gear that I hiked the PCT with, except my clothes as I dumped them all in Canada
But if I can get some shinny gear at a good price I will,
So, I wrote and pestered several gear suppliers and have been pleased with my haul so far , 40% off a camera, solar panel and new tent. I  now have a new Fly creek HV UL 3
I loved  the UL 3   when i hiked the PCT  so  i  am  excited  about  the HV

I have also swapped my faithful Exped Sim mat for a down mat , again there was nothing wrong with my Sim mat, except when I first went hiking I was a bit green and did not really know what I wanted, so it’s a little large. It’s a great mat, it  has never let me down on the Pct, but it’s just a little too bulky.
I think I drove the people mad at Exped as I wanted to try out all the current mats before I brought a new one . The problem is Exped seem quite picky who they sell too, and so I couldn’t find any local shops that stocked their products., the nearest being in Cambridge yes, its  a bit far from Oxford so I arranged to visit a relative, “killing 2 birds with 1 stone so to say “

The shop was called “Open Air”.  And wow, what a great shop, they hold a good range of hiking and outdoors gear and they knew their stuff   and so they  are not just

“Box shifters”

So, I would certainly recommend  a visit

Open Air  11, 12 & 15 Green Street, Cambridge, CB2 3JU

I like  how they left me to play with all the Mats at my leisure,until I  needed help . I was really interested in the SynMat UL7   or maybe the SynMat HL matt but instead just loved the Exped DownMat UL Winter, it’s may be over kill for my hike, but it ticks all my boxes,




Its Light   
It packs small  
Its smaller that my current pad 
easy to inflate 
Easy to pack 

The UL 7 came a close 2nd but it was still a tad noisy.(for me)

What I also like about Exped is there inflation system the “Snozzel Bag”
It comes with this pad and when not being used doubles as a lightweight stuff sack, another tick

So, a fruitful journey to Cambridge, this pad wasn’t cheap, but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for,

Snozzel Bag

Once home I inflated it several times with the “snozzel Bag” as there is a knack and I like to think I have mastered it and now can inflate my pad with about two puffs with the snozzel.
I like this method as 1, no moisture enters you pad, 2, Easy & quick to inflate (great when you arrive hot sweaty and exhausted   at camp, Bonus!

Pocket Rocket,

Pocket Rocket2
again nothing wrong with my pocket rocket, but the Pocket Rocket all packs down even smaller and will now fit into my pot.


Solar Panel

Solar expedition

Sadly, I lent my last one to  my Son and it was never seen again. So, I have gone for the Solar Monkey Expedition, Unlike the adventure it does not have an internal battery.  It  charges your devices live.  I’m keen to  try  this  out


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)
Solar Panel
New Tent
Trail runners
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,

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


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 .


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,

Day 124 Amazing

16th Aug
My alarm was bleeping I snoozed it
And then lay dozing staring at the roof of my tent didn’t look wet  :-). Finally I moved opened   the flap it was foggy but my tent was dry brilliant. I fired up my stove and while the water came to the boil I packed up . hoisted my psck.onto my back mmm it’s getting lighter or im just getting used to it lol
I set off through the dark murky forest I knew there was a lot of climbing to-day and some climbs were going to be huge.i pushed on though the forest there were many tress down along the path but all had been cut.maybe a huge wind had passed through like a bowling balls knocking them over . even though it was foggy it was fairly warm in the forest and I was feeling good .tomorrow I’d be having a beer in white pass whoop and wearing clean clothes.
I pushed on coming out of the forest into a clearing I’m sure on s good day you could see for miles I just saw FOG.i wondered if it would lift and maybe I may catch a peek of mount Adams.  I was climbing but the trail was very overgrown and boggy It makes walking hard work I then dropped into more forest snd stopped by a stream to fill up.if its ice-cold ill drink it overwise on to the next. It was freezing and very tasty so I topped up my bottles .the trail meandered through the forset but it was still gloomy as the sun wasnt penetrating
Then I was back to overgrown trail. .just wants a big mower to come down easy I thought .it hard work pushing your way through or sometimes fighting your way though.
I was busy winging to myself then I noticed a large rocky outcrop in front of me the fog was beginning to clear and I guessed this was going to be the first part of  today’s big climb I started up then decided the next nice spot ill take breakfast .I stopped on a grassy bank surrounded by huckleberry bushes I picked half a cup load then added my breakfast cereal bloody delicious I could eat them all day ..oh hang on I do  .I packed up and moved on  climbing climbing then OMG  the views were amazing .actually bloody amazing wow i stared for a few  minutes then moved on up higher round a few corners then Omg at last mount Adams wow and at the same time Ferrell Williams came on the radio singing Im Happy so I had to sing and do the happy dance on top of my mountain
I really felt so good I had to shout im so HAPPY and love the PCT
I continued to climb and the views became even more spectacular this was now looking good Washington after 5 days of rain and fog .I then I  began to cross meadow after meadow full of flowers and the sound of bees .I pushed on then met a  family hiking for the weekend  .then several other day hikers all who smell clean lol..I thought I was making good time today  and was looking forward to lunch .well that’s not really true lunches on the PCT are dull it the break that I look forward too.
I was climbing again and in the distance I could still see Adams the whole valley and in front another outcrop with clouds swirling around  the top. I will stop there for lunch i decided..I made it to the saddle and really its an OMG OMG OMG Moment
I arrived at the saddle and the view was unbelievable a large row of mountains  at the rear with water falls (The cascades)
The views were just incredible. I sat and had my lunch  just staring at them I then took some video before sitting back down
As I sat staring at the view many hikers came by .I chatted to a few and a family who were on a long weekend hike the daughters were interested in  my hike and dad also wanted to do it someday
I moved on still amazed at what I was seeing .Above me to my right  the mountain was like the giants causeway in Ireland made up.of hexagons again this amazed me.i moved on crossing several large glaciers.  in places  I had to jump across deep chasms  several feet wide what the water had gouged out
I was now heading for another saddle and again it was another triple OMG MOMENT!!!..Washington this is bloody amazing I don’t think that I have taken so many photos in one day. Click click click omg click omg
I dropped down into the valley jumping ice melts then continued on the trail. In the valley there were many tents and there were many people it seemed s very popular and busy spot
Guess there must be other trails in.
I began climbing again I checked my Gps yep this is the big one   .but every climb I came across another stunning mountain range .I believed my last climb was going to be old snowy
But stunning mountain views kept appearing. Snow im now in snow a long long traverse but I’ve done snow so set off  once again I was just blown away by what my eyes were seeing
Time was getting on  but I thought I still had plenty  I crossed two more snow fields .it seemed like I was on top of the world .In the distance I noticed several hiker moving across a long cliff guess that’s the way I have to go.aa thry walked s huge boulder rolled down and across the trail bloody hell.i moved on meeting them half way  .now what I should have done was camped at the top but I decided to press on ……in hindsight this was very foolish snd bloody scary.
I PASSED the other hikers asking how far to camp ? they said two hours but I thought id find s flat spot before then I gingerly crossed the snow then I had shale which I hate .as I have to go really slow then I was on a scree   thst was badly washed out and the drop was very very scary . actually you couldn’t see the drop for the mist and fog but it was there..At last I was on solid ground !! This was known as the knife-edge and they were not kidding it was a sheer drop either side. It was now very misty or foggy and the wind had got up .well I have to say it scared the shit out off me !! And it went on and on.I have had a long day im tired im being blown about there is a sheer drop both sides .and still I was climbing and doing switchbacks. I just want to get down and put tent test at last we are going down no no im going up again I was on this edge for just over two hours at last im coming down and as I began to descend the sun came out the mist cleared and the views became amazing again I saw a clump of trees and headed for them hoping that there may be a camping spot s flat spot a bit of   earth. Hurrah
I got my stove out first and as the water heated I threw tent and then collapsed into it
But wow every one the view from my tent is fantastic







Day 119 Resupply

11 August
I woke early and wandered down into town to use the facilities then got a drink from the garage before heading.  back  Big juice was still asleep. So I began sorting through my gear .
Eventually strange bird woke and began cooking breakfast on a electric grill .He made hash browns and pancakes which were delicious especially coverd in maple syrup
Eventually Big sauce emerged well we were going for breakfast at 8am it was now almost 11.
I went to the post office with my tent and gear thst I had mailed at the beginning of the trail plus all my spare kit.the cost was $ 100 bucks to Canada omg !!!
I walked back with several postal boxes Big sauce was getting ready to head out and the temperature was beging to rise.
I built the boxes and filled them with food for the four towns. Strange bird was heading to walmart with Lion King did I want to come? Well yes  but I also  wanted to get my tesupply boxes posted. So off to the post office agsin the box to Canada  $50 bucks the others $40..All done so then to the store to grab some bits for lunch .Whilst in the store I bump into timberline  and his wife.we chatted for a while then I headed back to shreks to chill and eat lunch its almost a 100°
Im heading out tomorrow early. Its too hot and forecast storms for later
I sat  in the shade and relaxed  drinking my beer and munching my sandwich. Then I got an email from Davinchi he was in town so I went to find him for  for a beer.We sat by the river and chilled watching the boats
Before heading home


A Beer with my Mate Da Vinchi




My Resupply for Washington

Day 37 Kennedy chores

Kennedy Meadow

Kennedy Meadow

My Tent

My Tent

My New TEnt

My New TEnt

Typical I did high mileage and drank a few beers but couldn’t sleep. My back was aching last night and so I couldn’t get comfy. I emerged from my tent at 7 am, a few people were sat around the camp fire.i needed a cuppa but the water is off till 8.30. so I chilled on the logs sat by the fire.  It was Great meeting every one yesterday .  Great the water is on. time for Tea, then I need a shower and to  do my laundry. Shower done God  how   I needed that. Dam the laundry queue is long dam and I need to wait get my clothes washed then I can get my bear canister and get organised. So i sat with fellow hikers on the deck drinking coffee and chilling. They are serving breakfast so i decide to try “biscuits and gravy. Unique! ! Sort of scones covered with cheese sauce with hash browns and fried egg .and yes I’ll order again.
Some people have asked if they can send me stuff!.why of course. I love jolly ranchers hard candy.
Knor sides ie pasta and sauce, or savory rice all sorts..and any dehydrated meals chili. mountain house brands. Any candy love  “lara bars”. dried fruit pineapple. Blueberries etc . tuna pkts. .energy drink powers . snickers. Jelly beans. Cheetah chips
If from the UK foxes glacier fruits or imperial. Flavored couscous. route is on my page but allow time as I’m ahead of schedule.  And address as pct hiker
Thanks in advance
I go pick up my resupply boxes, but because I’m going to be carrying the extra weight of a bear vault and ice axe I’ve decided to change my tent. My vaude terratrio 2p weighs just over 7 lb and has been brilliant, reliable and robust but I can’t carry that with the extra gear. I have carried it 700 miles. so sadly I’m sending it up the trail. My new tent is a Big Agnus flycreek 3 and weighs 3 lb so i will test it out and put it up.I was hoping to change out my boots but the Internet access and phone accees is pants so can’t upload anything significant until I get to Lone Pine in about a week..
Well laundry is done and dried.My new tent is up looks okay.other tent mailed . Must be beer time lol and a burger.




Smokey Says



Day 19 Leaving Big Bear

5th May

I don’t know why but I struggle to sleep at night. You would have thought a day hiking and I’d fall straight asleep and last night in a real bed was no exception! But at least I woke up refreshed. Some organised hikers were cooking bacon and eggs. Others huge pancakes. I just ate all the food that I couldn’t squeeze into my pack lol. Did I really buy all this? Maybe by Wrightwood, my next resupply town I may get it right. Other hikers were beginning to leave (the hostel provides a shuttle back to the trail head).I picked a short straw so my lift was at 10 am,  So I went to find the post office go see if my next set of boots could be delivered to the next town. My feet are holding out okay but I’m going for a larger size. I chilled out in the sun chatting to other hikers, Apache who has feathers in his hat. Another hiker who is hiking with his dog. Bless. He has little booties. And a tea shirt sort of saddle for his water…
Actually today I wasn’t feeling well. May have been my takeaway, as Pink Panther was ill too and we both got our food from there! So plenty of medicine. As that’s not good on the trail. Time began racing by and I was becoming quite edgy to get going. Likewise pink Panther. But she was waiting for a new tent from Big Agnes to be delivered by FedEx. At last my ride whoop. Bye hostel Big Bear Hostel in Big Bear Lake $20 first night…  big bear hostel. Com
Soon we were dropped off at the Trail head. 2 girls, Apache and myself. God my pack weighs a ton this is going to hurt. I had to walk up an old jeep trail for about a mile, it then meets the PCT. The other. Hikers were now in the distance. But I was feeling good. Then I heard a voice it was a man on his horse. He stopped and chatted and we talked for ages. He’s checks the trail for fallen trees and distressed hikers. He also warned that the weather is changing and we might get rain/Snow tomorrow!! He said he’d see me later as he checks both up and down parts of the trail. As I got to the PCT Apache was refilling his water from a cache. The trail started its normal climb but not steep. The trail wound its ways through lush forest. It was just so pretty. Then the horse came by again. I will see you once more on the way back then I’ll let you be the rider said. I hiked on the weight on my back now settled. Higher I climbed then wow an amazing view of Big Bear Lake. Just stunning. From then on the trail seemed to follow the lake from many feet up before it vanished from view.
My goal for today was just 10 miles to get to the next camp get water and sleep. Well if bad weather is on its way I don’t want to be on a hillside. I want to be flat and low (I am learning)
Most of the afternoon the trail continued through lush. Forest before coming to a Burn. It’s really quire sad row upon row of black needles that were once three’s. And felled threes strewn around. Which I guess we’re. Dangerous. But on the ground there was a. abundance of wild lupines much smaller than the British ones with their proud spike if blue flowers. .I stopped took off my pack and gazed at the fantastic scenery. , as I sat a fellow hiker came past his name ragety man from Canada. We exchanged hellos then he was gone. I could have sat there longer but gotta walk. I caught up with Ragety man at the camp. He was having supper. I stopped and chatted but as there was no water I thought I’d do another hour! There perfect site .flat. Sheltered I hope. Tent up rice cooking hot chocolate made. Bed








Day 10 A CRAP DAY!!

I knew choosing that spot lat night was a mistake.  As soon as I lied down the wind started.I had double staked the tent and fastened extra lines with rocks. .. The wind blew then the rain came I don’t think I slept at all and was surprised to see a tent over my head in the morning.Thanks Vaude for making it strong. As soon as it was light 4.30 I knew I just had to get off of that mountain. So at 5 am in the rain I broke camp. I was freezing and wet my hands were frozen no gloves as I had dumped my gloves earlier when I was losing weight Doh.
I threw my pack together and trudged on my feet feeling like ton weights. It’s was so cold I had three layers on plus my woolly hat but I was still cold and miserable.
It’s was rainy misty rainy cold!!! I trudged on .A fellow hiker caught me but after no sleep I had no speed and soon he was a spot in the distance. I think a total of three hikers past by me
I was feeling miserable and  didn’t want to be on the trail in fact as soon as I saw a note for trail magic I walked off the trail to find it. By a picnic bench were boxes of goodies sodas, chips fruit etc. I drank two sodas and an orange before re-joining the trail feeling slightly happier
Time to climb .on the climb up there was a fair bit of snow omg…mm need to deal with that .But my first stop is the Paradise Café. I have the Paradise cafe on my mind a hot coffee I need a hot coffee
Oh a sign Paradise café this way. I trudged along the building getting bigger as I got nearer, at last I arrived at 1pm, coffee please. It took three more cups before I could at last feel my fingers Then I ordered the best Burger ever yummy washed down with some  YUMMY IPA.
Ah now I’m much happier , I paid my bill walked out of the door and across the road .It was time to hitch into Idywild
I didn’t have to wait long  before I was sat in a warm car heading to town, I was dropped at the garage then walked to the State Campsite $3 a night
I found the  campsite set up surround by many great hikers they soon informed me of the important  places  i.e. shop, laundry post office .Then it was a quick walk back into town where I treated myself to a pizza now going to get into my bag and sleep and enjoy a Zero day.
There was a big storm yesterday and a large dump of snow. So maybe Monday is a good day to climb!!!


Horny Toad


Trail Magic


Fantastic Burger




State Park

Almost time

Woke at 9 am. Today is a rest day
I need to resupply, visit a phone shop and post office to mail supplies and my bounce box
when I awoke there was another Hiker in the Lounge his name was Hendrik was from Germany. Hendrik was waiting for his pack at it was “lost”…… Good start. But the airport promised him it will be here by 7pm …And it was. Phew
but OMG the size of his pack was a ¼ the size of mine mm I’m a little worried!!
We walked to Ralphs, a large supermarket together and brought two weeks of supplies 1 week to carry and 1 week to post to Warner Springs. It was quite easy to go wild inside and so my basket was soon full I compared mine  with Hendriks  just to what he had purchased
Then  home to decant my supplies between my pack and my resupply box. Once all boxed it was time to visit the post office. Boxes to be mailed here, Ice axe to Lone pine phew done.
Next job, Sims card I went with AT&T 2 GB of data $60 a month I thought this was good value at the time!!
When we got back another Hiker had arrived his name was Kevin  who was from Canada, and OMG  his pack was also small,
When we were all relaxed we went out to dinner  to a Mexican restaurant, The meal was  yummy but can’t remember what it was called.
Well as it’s an early start for me so bed Night


My Resupply

My Resupply



Its now only Hours

The clock is moving more quickly I know tomorrow is going to be a very long day !! why do we have to be at the airport 3 hours before I fly  Grr  Oh well so today I’ve been tying up loose ends , Ordering this cancelling that , checking on my mum a quick pint  with my dog at a riverside  Pub, Well I won’t be doing that for a while . Hope  Cobba will be  okay while I’m gone and hope the boys  enjoy the piece and quite  while I am away . So a relaxing evening and early to bed as is a silly O’clock start Next Update From San Diego :0)

More Inspiration

Signed Book

Still Repacking

Repacked my kit and pack Again today , I really must leave it alone

Do I really need all this stuff, ?
Answer:- probably not (Again)
But Its packed and its going , I will decant it all when I get to San Diego and post several boxes up the trail to pick up later and my Bounce Box
I was bringing a roll of Tyvek (roofing felt) to go under my tent to protect it ,until I  received a costumed made ground sheet from Vaude ..
But then whilst reading a Hikers update
The tumbleweed stickers are tiny and sharp. I was carefully and had a lot of luck. Use Tyvek as a ground cloth. The window film plastic, polycryo or whatever it’s called, sucks. The extra weight of Tyvek is worth it.”

So now it looks like im taking both  but will switch and leave the Tyvek in a Hiker box for future Hikers to make use of once out of the Desert (maybe)

Hiker Box: noun: a supply of food, gear, or any other item left behind by hikers for use by future hikers (usually found in post offices, motels, and trail angel houses)



Tyvek weight 700gms   Verses  Vaude   300gms