Post Hike

Post Hike

What I would do different!!
As I am from the UK I didn’t have friends or family to send me resupply boxes so I brought as I went
To be honest this worked extremely well and this is the way I would do it again but with a few tweaks as some town that promised a lot delivered very little!!!

It does take a while for you to find out what you are eating, quantities etc.  and you can go off a food very quickly, So I would suggest variety is the key
when planning your resupply check Post office opening times. I seemed to waste so much time waiting for the post office to open on Monday when I’d got to town on Friday evening
so also check alternatives i.e.  shops and possible angels that can receive packages but also check to see if there is a charge for them to hold your packages
I also got a bit confused with USPS and UPS as some places only accept packages from USPS others only from UPS so double check

When I hiked there was a fire ban and no alcohol stoves so I used gas or (propane/ butane) for my American followers. In some rural places these where as scarce as hen’s teeth so I would suggest adding a canister to your resupply box but please note your package can only be sent as surface mail and so must be clearly marked on the address side with “Surface Only” or “Surface Mail Only” so be aware of time restraints

Towns eat money!!

FOOD

This is what I started with and it evolved quite quickly
Breakfast

I started with pop tarts and instant oats and soon got sick of both
so I then began by buying cereal and adding things to it i.e. nuts, coconut, banana chips cranberries etc.

I then evolved to carrying a zip lock bag and mixed cereals together so it was always changing. In one town I would start with caption crunch then I would add a packet or two of instant oats from the hiker box, then nuts basically anything, the next town I would start with granola and then add things to that and so on. I would always carry milk power to add to this and of course for my tea

As my hike progressed   and fruit became available e I would add half a cup of freshly picked blueberries or huckleberries   yummy

Lunch

I always thought lunches were disappointing, as they seemed boring but this is what I carried

Flour tortilla  I soon found out what were the best brands  (stayed soft the longest)
Pack of salami ,or summer sausage , ham or turkey.
8oz block of hard cheese, slices , grated and or cheese strings.
Peanut butter or chocolate spread.
mustard, mayo or ranch sauce.
I often left  town with an onion, pepper, avocado and fruit usually an orange or apple or both.
later I discovered bagels , bit more bulky but they lasted well
I often ate  packets of tuna  and occasionally packets of “spam”

Dinner

This is the meal that I always looked forward too. Maybe because my hiking was done for the day!!

I mainly ate Knorr sides, these were mixes of rice or pasta with flavourings
I then added either tuna, bacon bits, parmesan, salami, pumpkin seeds and or cranberries to the mix to make it a bit tastier. With often a good dash of chilli sauce

3 to 4 rice side (could be pasta to)
1 X macaroni cheese
1 X box of couscous
2 to 3 packets of tuna can be used for lunch to
1 x Packet of bacon bits
1X packet of pumpkin seeds
1 X packet of dried cranberries
1 X packet of parmesan
olive oil
Hot Sauce
Teabags
Hot chocolate
Milk powder

NB its does depend on how many days between resupply points!!!!

Snacks

As well as all the above I carried: –
various cliff bars mainly coconut and macadamia nut
Laura bars, Snickers or other chocolate
Gummy bears, life savers etc.
Jolly Ranchers which I lived on (my favourite)
Breakfast bars loads
Crisps or chips mainly Cheetos
I also carried Gatorade powder, lemonade powder and other similar products

Footwear

I started in boots, which were fine for me, they gave me good support, great traction not too hot and really looked after my feet. I may wear boots again but would go for lighter, as at the end of the day my feet felt like lead

I have to say that I  seemed to be  the only person who wore boots  about 99% of other hikers  wore “Trail runners”  the  main contenders being  Merrells, Solomon’s, Wildcats ,Cascadia and  Altars
When I switched from boots I went to Altars  a pair of snow peaks , they fitted like a glove and  felt like I was wearing slippers  but they lasted two weeks  before they were ripped to bits by the terrain I then switched to Solomon’s  and  wow  these  were my favourite  and  what I finished my  hike  in
I would suggest that you budget on at least 3 to 4 pairs  unless your happy with toes sticking out and  Gaffa tape holding them together.
but  that  option  then  wrecks  your  socks  and  eventually  your  feet

Please note that the lower pro­file of the trail runner doesn’t offer very much ankle support. However, if you’re tired of hot, heavy, hiking boots, pick up a pair of trail runners before your next backpacking trip–the difference in weight and comfort is noticeable

Kit

If I was doing this again!

Before I decided I was doing this Hike, I read many blogs one of my favourites was by a guy called Keith Fosset, he explained how to blag (get sponsorship) or free stuff from companies.
Now this is what I did and got about 80% of my kit for half price and occasionally free.
But do your research, let me say that again DO YOUR RESEARCH

As some of the kit that I acquired was fantastic, top of the range gear but far too heavy for the PCT which I sadly found out after my first week of real hiking, meaning I had to replace it which ate into my precious budget

So, people do more research and blag the right gear.

But in general, I was happy with my choices of kit and clothing

If you are from outside the USA it may be worth flying in without kit then spending the day in REI and buy all your kit from them,

WHY? –  because it’s cheap in the US, when it breaks or gets damaged they replace it immediately no questions asked
and their service is totally amazing!!

Cons: – They don’t sell; all lightweight gear so it’s your choice

Money Budgets

I will go into  my budget in more detail on  another page
Budgets are a personal thing; some people are happy to stay in posh hotel others are happy to rough it.
Some can do the trail on a few Dollars others need to spend thousands

But I would strongly advise you to have a reasonable budget and maybe a contingency or spare credit card

My Budget was £ 4000, this was for the trail, food, postage, meals hotels and kit replacement. It did not include the kit I arrived with or flights.

At the time I was thinking I should cancel, save up more money and go the following year.  But then I probably would never have hiked the PCT, also the film Wild was coming out which may have meant more hikers wanting to hike (which it did)

To make my money accessible in the US I used two cards, Fairfax and Caxton
I put £2,000 on each card, 1 card for the first half and the second for the remainder, both cards worked well, I also carried a handful of dollars as some towns would not accept credit cards

Bounce Box

Again, coming from England, I was on a tight budget so brought spare kit with me in a bounce box.

A bounce box is a box, or can be a bucket/Pail that you put spare gear, Kit and food in and you Post it up the trail. (Bounce) but when you get to that location and don’t need it, you post or bounce it to the next location as it’s free. You keep repeating this till you need it. Although once you remove it from the post office you have pay again

In hindsight I could have trimmed the contents down quite considerably

Meds

I brought almost a whole Pharmacy with me as I had weak knees and the meds were prescription only in the UK. But in America they were cheap and available over the counter.
I would however recommend getting two courses of antibiotics from your DR and 1 course of Anti Giardia   treatment flan Flagyl® (hopefully you will not need)
I didn’t bring any Antibiotics and so I had such a fun time trying to see a DR when my toe went septic so add this to your list.
I did bring the meds for Giardia treatment but luckily didn’t need them!!!

Phone
I thought that I had done plenty of research on this when I say phone I really mean service provider. Before I came out I joined several blogs and asked many questions
and at the “TIME” At&T was the company to go for so I signed up for pay as u go monthly and because I wanted to update my blog in the wilderness I went with 2 GB of data  that cost me $60 a month which I thought was good value at the time until I found out that I could get the same deal but cheaper from Wal-Mart!!!!
AT&T turned out to be rubbish I very rarely got a signal unless I was in a very large town. Yes, the wireless worked well but hey that’s free, so do you home work when I was on the trail   Smokes a long-time hiking buddy had his service with Verizon and seemed to have service anywhere and I mean anywhere!!!!!

Water
I started with an amazing water filter a Katadyn Pro But it was just too heavy to carry   so I swapped it out as soon as possible and went for the Sawyer mini squeeze filter
This  was a great  device  although extremely  slow  especially when you had to filter a lot of water
I carried a 3 liter bladder and  two, one liter smart water bottle  which  I used  to speed up water filtering ( smart water are the preferred bottles as they are tall and  slim and  easily fit into the sides of your pack)
whilst on the trail I noticed other people had  the bigger version  of  the  Sawyer which filters water  more quickly  so go  for the bigger version if you can get it
But honestly from Kennedy meadows I stopped filtering water. I used springs, melt water  and fast running creeks. I did however carry a small bottle of bleach if I had to get water from lakes that I wasn’t too sure of the quality ,but only my drinking water. Water for cooking stayed unfiltered well its going to get boiled !!
but do what  FEELS  RIGHT FOR YOU

Please note sometimes water is abundant other times its scarce
In the desert there are 20 mile stretches with no water and so you rely on water caches put out by amazing Trail or carry extra water

How I Hiked
There is a saying on the PCT “Hike Your Own Hike.  Or abbreviated HYOH
Whether you’re a green newbie or an experienced hiker everyone will offer you advice, it’s up to your which bits you take notice off, the main thing is to listen to your body

when i first started   on  the PCT  i  tried  to  keep  up  with everyone , but this was a mistake  i  just  kept  burning myself  out …… So  then  i  decided  too just walk , hiked  at my  own pace  and  I was much  happier …….

Once I had a few weeks under my belt I was averaging 20 miles a day, I was not a fast hiker I was not in a race although many hikers appeared to be. I wanted to enjoy the trail, take it all its beauty as this was perhaps a once in a life time adventure.
When I first started I was on the trail by 7 am  although many  hikers  started at 5 am   and  earlier  !! I normally walked to about 5 pm then camped, but as my fitness improved I was  on trail  by  5.45 am  and  hiking until  to 6 pm, although I began to look for a flat spot around 5.30 pm . Sometimes I found one  instantly, other times I had to walk for  another hour  and occasionally two!!

In Oregon my mileage began to climb and  I was regularly  doing  28’s  and  occasionally  32’s,  there were days I could have hiked on well into the evening, on other days I stopped early and enjoyed the scenery and sunset

I would say the more miles you can cover the less food that you have to carry , you can camp early and relax more.
simple maths

Section  = 100 miles
20 miles per day  = 5 Days
25 miles per day = 4 days       means carrying 1 days less  food

But again sometime a  extra  day  of  food  is  good as it means  that   if  you  find a great  spot . You could  take a zero  rather than a town  … It is your Hike

A fellow hiker called Foxy didn’t ever get on the trail till 12-30/ 1 pm then hiked on in the dark till 9 pm. It’s up to you, how  you hike. I typically  hiked on my own, I could stop when I want, take photos when I wanted  etc.  but occasionally I walked with other hikers. I found this pulled me along as we encouraged each other, also it’s nice to have the company. As I didn’t have the speed of other hikers I often agreed to  try and camp  with  them at  mile “XXX”   I then attempted to  get  there , sometimes arriving  an hour  or two  later  , but  happy  to  have the  accompanied  and  chow  down  with buddies

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