Highlight of the day: Meeting Bill Bryson, author of A Walk In The Woods. It was at a book signing for his latest work, The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid at Whitcouls in Auckland. Nice fella, seemed interested in my upcoming PCT attempt. If I were to write a book about what ever happens this summer, I’d have to call it A Walk In The Hills.
This all made me think about what has brought me to the PCT. In 2003 I was planning my O.E.. I grew up in England and as a local I hadn’t bothered to travel all that much, so I hit upon the idea of seeing the countryside along The South Downs Way. But that seemed weird because I’d day 4 days to walk what I’d normally drive (or be driven since I was too young back then) in half an hour. But I liked the idea of walking so I looked for something in Europe and discovered The Tour du Mont Blanc and a photo from Jørgen showed me the wonders of Jotunhiemen. I completed them and it felt pretty good. Then A certain Mr Terry Long suggested the Appalachian Trail. It was list of legendary mountains I’d heard of since I was a kid. The Smokey Mountains, Blue Mountains, Shenandoah N.P. and it sounded great, but 6 months!! no way. Well maybe, before I’m 30 that was a few years away then I could postpone it.
I got back to NZ after my in Europe and had kept the idea of the AT in the back of my head. In March 2006 my dad met a hut warden in Tongariro park. Going by the name of Gloves she had walked from Mexico to Canada along The Pacific Crest trail and loved it. A border to border walk made so much more sense to me. people don’t know where Georgia and Maine are, but Mexico and Canada are pretty obvious, and it was only 500 miles longer than the AT. And that was that, for the last year I have been slowly gathering momentum and now I am just 8 weeks away from putting my toe into Mexico and facing north.