Hans Solo, John Snow & Lincoln

I might have to explain the headline for this post. It’s been based on “trail names”, which are nicknames either given to you by others or yourself on trail.

Hiking Solo

Firstly, my starting date is the 16th of April and it hasn’t exactly lined up with the people I was considering starting the trail with. That’s not to say I won’t be seeing any of them along the way though. So far I’ve had four potential partners lined up, but each drop away for various reasons. As you can imagine, work/studies/life can have an effect on the date you choose to leave. I booked my flight quite a while ago, so am lacking flexibility too.

One from a training hike last week.

For now at least, I’ve made the decision to start alone and see who I come across. That was my initial instinct when I first decided to hike the trail (about a year ago).

Tips from PCT2016

On a positive note – I met with a chap last week at a local pub who successfully thru-hiked the PCT last year. I’ll speak using his trail name, “Really Sorry”. Let’s just say… supermarkets, toilets and apologies were involved…

However much information you can find online about how tough the trail is, it’s amplified when you meet someone who hiked it. It’s easy for everyone back here including myself, not to see all the sweat, blisters and injuries that will inevitably happen. All previous hikers say how mentally grinding that can be, but so long as your have the right attitude you’ll get by. I also learnt that most people pull out within the first week(!) of starting, which emphasises the need to be mentally prepared before heading out.

Here he is on top of Mt Whitney – at 14,505ft. A day excursion away from the PCT. It’s the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. Credit: walkingtocanada.com/journal


I had my worries about resupplying etc, but these are now slightly alleviated by Really Sorry’s response. Apparently there will be plenty of opportunities to hike/hitchhike into towns, where you can then resupply with food and other essentials for the next week or so. He also let me know about hiker boxes, which can be found in various places. These can include food, equipment and gas discarded by people who have already passed through. Let’s hope for the odd treat!

Apparently phone signal can be an issue along the way. He spoke of a two week period where he was without. So be prepared! I would encourage everyone to get in contact with the previous year’s participants, both those who were successful and the ones who weren’t. You can learn the various pitfalls that people fall into.

Thanks again for your help, Really Sorry. Here’s hoping that I don’t come out with a trail name like yours.

If you’d like to read his story, head to http://walkingtocanada.com/

Record Snow!

Uh oh, snow… and lots of it! That’s the word coming out from the locals who are currently experiencing their record snow fall for about 22 years, with more set to come. This makes it significantly more difficult when you start wading through the terrain when you reach the start of the Cascade mountain range.

Ice axe required. There have been horror stories where those with limited experience went without, consequently slipping without the ability to stop, which has led to serious injury or fatalities. I’ve not had much hiking experience in snow, but am fairly knowledgable about how to handle it. The smart idea will be to get the axe sent up to Kennedy Meadows and have it ready to use from there if required. Shoe spikes will also be essential too. I’ll add these to my gear section once I know more.

A number of people have spoken about skipping this year in favour of a more manageable 2018. I’m remaining positive about 2017 and will push on through it. Let’s hope for more stories as a result.

Here’s a useful link on the PCTA website that will help – http://www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/backcountry-basics/snow/

That’s everything for now. I’ll keep you updated with my training and fundraising over the next week or two.