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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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

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A Beer with my Mate Da Vinchi

 

 

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My Resupply for Washington

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

Ralphs

Ralphs

here we go

Wow what a long day flight . got to La at 2 pm local time.then Immigration oh my god that took an hour then off to terminal 5 for my next flight. ..
God I need a beer my first one was $17  really !!! The second was $8. I’m learning to look at the menu first !
My connecting  flight is 8pm yawn is it. Bed time
I arrived at  San Diego waited for my case to be unloaded  then made my way to the exit.
I found a phone  and  dialed Bob , He advised me  to wait outside and  he  be  there shortly . I was now  excited and  nervous
Bob the local trail Angel picked me up just past nine. I loaded my gear into the back then we went to pick up another lady before being dropped off at Bob’s. Bob then went back to the airport to get another hiker.
Bob had two hikers upstairs already asleep ,I slept in the motor home  with another hiker who was starting his hike in the morning
I was now  geting nervous  but so so excited

Here  I come

Here I come

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

Tyvek weight 700gms   Verses  Vaude   300gms

 

4 Days

My Final work day for Staples  and a step nearer  to  the PCT I have worked for Staples a little over four years and absolutely loved it.
During my time at Staples people have come and  gone and I have had the privilege of   working with every single  one of them, From setting up  their Pc or laptop, offering guidance  at times  sarcastic but never demeaning  ( I hope)  and  always  trying  to being helpful in my own original way :0)
I was thinking that I would slip away quietly, But my colleagues had other plans, It seemed that the whole of staples had turned out to say goodbye to me I was completely overwhelmed by the large turnout. And lost the ability to speak and got sparkly eyes I was actually lost for words that’s unusual for me
So thank you so much Guys for the Huge Send-off
I will miss all of you and thank you so much for the lovely messages in my “CARDS
I have to say special Thanks to Caroline  for making the two best leaving cakes ever and  to John for his amazing support over the years
Good luck  Guys and of course   Staples

Staples

 

 

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6 Days

My rucksack is packed and I am now trying to leave it alone It currently sits on the table staring at me with its Companion the suitcase . All three of us can’t wait to board that plane and set off nothing more to buy , nothing more I need or so I hope .

Last minute checks

Empty the fuel out of the fuel bottle, and stow
Sterilise and rinse out my bladder (not my bladder) and stow
Passport!!
Check bus times to airport …….. Relax

Oh but BIG! Thank you Vaude a brand new hot off the press lightweight floor Protector for my tent arrived yesterday and is a ¼ the weight and size of my roll of Tyvek . So now the Tyvek is staying at home. So thanks again this product has only just been released by Vaude and rushed to me before I leave so thanks again for the swift service :0) Tomorrow is my Last Day at Staples , I will miss the people , I have really enjoyed my time here , so mixed emotions , It does appear that many of my colleagues are quite envious the fools lol

vaude-logo-spirit

Counting The Days

Today  is  Friday , The  traditional  day  to  visit  the  pub  for a cheeky lunchtime beer But  today  I was  Taken  to  the  Crown  at  Penn for a farewell lunch with my  work  colleagues It was made even more special as a past employee Rachel turned up with Helen, so lovely  to see you Both . So thank you everyone  , You  all made me feel  very  special  and I will  miss you  guys . All these people  have  been watching this  adventure  grow  from me  constantly  boring them with my planning   and  then the reality  as my kit began arriving (delivered to work). and as I unpacked it  I exclaimed  Hey look  at  my  new  Pants  and whoop  Osprey said  yes to  the Backpack OMG So I have 1   more week  of  work  to  go  then  that’s  it  for  six  months  . I  love  my  job, the varied  work, The challenges , The great  people  and  the silly  banter  that  we swap in the office  .It  will be sad  to  leave  but  the  PCT   has  captured my  imagination So yes mixed emotions ,  dread  fear  anticipation .Seeing  other people  start the trail  is  not  helping I am so  looking forward  to the obligatory  photo  on the  monument at  campo  then  putting  one  foot  in front  of  the  other   and beginning  my own adventure

12 Days

Counting Down now only 12 days to go. Well  my pack has been packed and repacked  and packed again just in case and then there Is  my Reserve  Gear  or most commonly named My bounce Box . I had planned to post other items my ice axe, spare Boots maps  etc.From the UK , But after visiting he post office I decided that wasn’t such a good idea  (Far too much Cash) But instead i managed to fit it all into  the Big Blue Suitcase   ..Problem solved .

 

Suitcase

My Kit

 

When I arrive in San Diego I am being met By Rob one of the trail Angels and will stay with him  for two days . Day one  i will  decant  the suitcase   and  post the items  up the trail , resupply  food, water and  fuel  and  post them to my resupply points. Thursday morning Rob will drive  me to the trail  head , and then let the fun begin  !! Several; of  my  friends   have  started on the  trail today . Good luck  to them and  the Class of 2014 . I am  just so excited  I  can’t wait to get there and start

 

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Hikers at the Start