What are you doing?
I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

What is it?
The PCT is a national scenic trail that begins at the border of Mexico, goes through California, Oregon and Washington, and ends just over the border in Canada. It is 2,660 miles long. It may be traveled by foot or by horse and it passes through deserts, mountains and forests.

How long will it take you?
About 5 months

You’re walking for 5 months??
Yep!

Why are you doing that?!
The short answer – because I want to. The long answer can be found here.

How many miles per day?
I will average about 20 miles per day. Some days it will be higher and some days it will be lower depending on heat / elevation / snow / rain / wind / cold / exhaustion / how much sugar I’ve eaten….
I have planned 20 days where I just rest and do no walking at all.

What about Bears?
Hopefully I will see a bear because it will be awesome to see a bear in the wild, and hopefully it will be from a safe distance! There are brown and black bears on the trail (no grizzlys!).

But what about the Bears??
Yes, seriously there will be bears, but bears are pretty cowardly creatures and they aren’t out to attack you. Providing you follow the rules and are sensible, bears are nothing to worry about. I’m more worried about heat stroke and dehydration than anything else.

Are you taking bear spray?
No

Are you taking a gun?
No!!

Do you carry all your food?
I have planned how much food I need to carry between resupply stops. Sometime you can resupply on the trail, sometimes you have to walk or hitch a ride to a nearby town. I will need to carry from 2 up to 7 days worth of food at one time. Sometimes I will send a resupply package from a big town further up the trail when it becomes hard to buy food from certain areas.

What do you eat?
When I’m on the trail it will be a lot of dried stuff, things that come in a bar shape, peanuts, chocolate etc. My day will probably go something like this: walk an hour, snack, walk a couple of hours, snack, walk an hour, snack, walk a couple of hours, snack, walk an hour, snack, walk a couple of hours, snack, walk an hour have a hot meal and a hot chocolate (I do like a hot chocolate).

I am taking a small stove called a Jetboil. They heat water super fast which you then add to your dried meals and wait for them to rehydrate.

When I get to towns I will stuff my face with pizza, burgers and ice cream. Because I can.

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How big is your bag?
I have a 58l rucksack (an Osprey exos 58). It weighs around 8kg not including food, water and fuel. It can weigh up to 13kg fully loaded.

Here is my bag with most of my kit:

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Where do you stay?
In my tent mostly (Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1). There will be opportunities to stay in hotels or hostels or motels or people’s homes along the way, but it will mostly be in my tent (which is roomier than it looks!)

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Are you walking along the coast?
Because Pacific is in the name a lot of people assume I am walking along the coast. Apart from flying in to San Diego I won’t be near the coast. The trail follows the crest of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges which lie 100-150 miles inland and run parallel to the Pacific coast of the USA.

How do you go to the toilet?
You go off the trail. You dig a hole. You pull your pants down. You do your business. You pull your pants up. You fill in the hole. You take your toilet paper away with you.

How do you charge your phone?
I am taking an external battery pack made by Anker which will hopefully keep all my electronics charged

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How do you keep clean?
Well I’m going to be pretty dirty but good old baby wipes will help me feel a bit fresher and there will be a few opportunities for a shower along the way.

Are you going to shave your legs?
No.
No really, I’m not.

Do you have a good pair of boots?
I have a great pair of boots, but I’m not wearing them for the PCT. The norm for thru hikers is to wear trail runners. They are lightweight but sturdier than running trainers. They are breathable and quick drying.

A popular shoe on the trail is the Brooks Cascadia, but I don’t find these suit my foot, so I have chosen the Salomon Fellraiser, teamed with Dirty Girl Gaiters and Injinji toe socks

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Who are you going with?
I’m going by myself.

By yourself??????
Yep! But I will meet people once I’m there. But the window of opportunity for this trip is fairly slim and the amount of people attempting it this year is bigger than ever so the likelihood of me being alone, even if I wanted to be, is very small.

Are you scared?
Yes! I am scared. I was scared on my first day of school, I was scared when I learnt to drive, I was scared when I jumped out of a plane. I am scared now. But all of those things, and more, turned out ok. So will this.

Have you read / seen Wild?
Yes. My thoughts are here

How are you training?
I walk everywhere I can. I wear my trail clothes all the time so I make sure I am comfortable in everything and nothing rubs. I wear my shoes as much as possible to get my feet used to them. I carry my pack everywhere (and although I get a lot of stick about it at work, I’m finding this one of the most useful things). I’m stretching more often to reduce to possibility of injury. I get off the train a couple of stops earlier and walk home. I’m doing a long walk (10 miles or so) with loaded pack at the weekend.

And I get super excited when new kit gets delivered to work and have to test it out straight away…

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How can I sponsor you?
I am fundraising for Cancer Research UK and you can sponsor me by visiting my Just Giving page

7 weeks to go…

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