Archive for April, 2007

2007-04-19 Face North and Start Walking

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I’ve done it, I’ve actually started walking to Canada. It’s been a long time coming but now there are just 2635 miles left.
The day started early as I bid fair well to the Manns. They have been awesome all week as has Jan who drove Caitlin, George, Blacksnake and me to the border. After the regulatory poses on and around the monument we set off around 7:40 and eventually separated as each took to their pace and their rest stops. It was a cloudless day, though slightly cooler than it has been. The path is easy to follow and I only referred to the maps once to confirm how far along the road I was supposed to go. Some time early on I pulled to a halt upon seeing a snake across the path. I took a photo first then hit my poles on the ground, boy did it ever rattle! For a moment it curled up, but quickly moved away and I got by without trouble. I saw a smaller, non-rattle snake later, almost trod on it too. Including myself I saw 12 PCT hikers today, the season is really picking up and a lot of people will be starting this weekend for sure.

Hauser Creek was dry but had a good place to sit before tackling Hauser Butte. It takes a strange sort of mind set to leave dappled shade on soft grass to climb a 1000 ft path in the sun.

After leap-frogging Blacksnake, Duck-Snort (apparently it is some kind of throw in baseball) and two brothers from Michigan I reached Lake Morena in time for dinner, but moved on afterwards to spend my first night on the trail alone in the wild. I heard it is going to hit freezing tonight, so though it is only 7:30 pm I am snug in my bag for the night.

Lesson for the day: Butte is pronounced Beaut not Butt.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Campo to Warner

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Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Here I go! .
Starting posts at the Mexico-USA border

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Not So Scary

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I came eyeball to eyeball with a bear, and they’re not so scary, but first….

At 6am a van load headed for Campo. Davey and Bruce starting that morning, Craig and Scout just watching for now. While they prepared to get on with the walking two more were dropped off, Stacy and Rachel, and two others were already on their way. 6 in just the short time we were there means it’s just about hitting peak season I think.
This time tomorrow I’ll be a hardened hiker. Sweaty and dirty as I trudge my way north to Canada. But I’m not there yet. More granola to buy, a food shipment to send, and things to see.
Yesterday I made it to San Diego Zoo. I walked up there from down town (by way of many computer stores in an effort to fix my stupid memory cards that only work in my camera not any computer) and therefore I didn’t have much time. I did have time to see the bears and they’re pretty laid back creatures.

Not So Scary Bears

The polar bears were more active. Wrestling with each other right in front of the glass and keeping all the tourists very interested. I had to high-tail it out of there in time to help Scout (Barney) with an airport run. Last night there were four of us interlopers at the Mann residence, tonight there will be seven!

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Strolling in San Diego

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I’ve done some more exploring today. I walked from my hosts’ house to REI (3rd visit in 3 days, my wallet hurts!) and managed not to get hit by those crazy drivers on the wrong side of the road, arrested for jay-walking or die in a hail of bullets*. I did hear a couple of gun shots but on closer inspection it was a nail gun and the guy was a qualified builder, panic over. With the purchase of some new underwear**, a 1 gram razor*** and a lot of dry pasta meals I am now ready to send off my first care package and sit on the door step waiting for the data logger. I thought you might like to know what I’m doing with my time here so I’ve taken a photo of my organizing efforts and one of of Barney and Sandy’s. Can you guess which room is used by someone who only turned up a few days ago?

stuff everywheremeasured and weighed

*this is not a joke. Lots of people asked me if I’d be bringing a gun, some of them were referring to the bear danger
**quick drying for all the sweat and the occasional bear!
***1 gram razor Not recommended. It hardly works, and when it does you wish it didn’t. So it’s a beard for me

Google Maps Path

San Diego

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

It’s the end of day 3 in California and I’m full. The Mann’s had a neighbourhood pot-luck dinner here and it was very well catered. I’ve been sorting things out here, buying bits and pieces, stocking up on food, insect repellent and water bottles. I even had another go at a support system for my solar panels. I say *I* did but really I mean Jan did. After the one I designed before was found to be too tight around the sleeping pad I redesigned it to wrap around and fasten with velcro. And after messing up Mum’s sewing machine with velcro that was stuck down on one side I have learned to use the stuff that only requires sewing. At it works wonderfully.

Sewing the solar holder

Solar holder V2

As you can imagine I owe people here a lot. Jim and Jan, who hiked the PCT in 2003, have been driving me back and forth from REI and helping me sew, Sandy and Barney were incredible in offering me their home and hospitality, it’s all too amazing for a complete stranger to be taken in so well. I’m really going to have to payback all the good karma that has come my way thus far. I guess my efforts will have to be towards Te Araroa, if and when it gets completed

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Coming to America

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

So I’m here in San Diego at last. Just 50 miles from the start of the trail. The flight was fine, I was so tired I managed to sleep through most of it, only having time for one and a half movies, and eat. But the train was not so fine. I was there on time, the train was about 3.5 hours late. So late that the 2, 4 and 5pm trains all got hooked together as one that eventually got me to Solana Beach at 7:40pm where the wonderful Jim & Jan were waiting for me. They’ve fed and watered me and now I’m going to sleep at Barney & Sandy’s house. Tomorrow I get to open all the packages I have sent here, camera, Dirty Girl Gaiters, permits and books. Then I go to REI!

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On my way

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Amidst a maelstrom of last minute panicking I am writing my last journal entry from New Zealand. Training is over, this is it. I have my ticket, my passport and far too much gear. I’m going to have to throw some stuff out in San Diego while I get acclimatised to that heat. Here in Auckland the winds are about to start knocking down trees and I’m actually worried that the plane won’t be allowed to take off in this weather.

Before leaving Peter pulled out a pen and gave me some useful information for completing my trek in the form of a maple leaf and phone number ala Prison Break

Prison Break from PCT

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Falling into place

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

3 days! In just 3 days I’ll be on that plane and there’ll be no stopping me. I’ve cancelled my phone, got a new debit card, picked up my hiker trading cards (sure to be collectors items), moved most of my stuff, thrown out lots of junk and started to group the maps and guide books into sections. Everything is slowly falling in to place and all I need to do is go with the flow.

Not a very optimistic view but I’ve had it on my wall at work for a while now so I thought I’d share it with you. This year the trouble is going to be right at the start, a serious water shortage is developing and if I make it to bear country I’ll be very pleased with my self. What do I mean if? Of course I’m making it that far, as far as I am concerned this thing is in the bag, I just need to get there and get on with it. Canada that way—>


One week to go

Friday, April 6th, 2007

According to my countdown widget I have just 7 days and 9 hours until I board a plane and start this silly adventure. This week I received my New Zealand passport. It appears I need an NZ passport to reenter the country when I am coming home. If I tried to come back in on my UK passport I’d have to have a ticket to leave again or they’d not let me in, despite the fact that I am still me and I am still a citizen. Stupid regulations if you ask me. I also got my Canadian entry permit, so that when I sneak across the border out there in the woods I can turn myself in to the authorities and they won’t stress out about how I managed to leave the US without the customary retina scan, DNA sample and cavity probe.
In my last week I am gathering maps, packing up home and trying to sell off some of my larger possessions. Anyone need a motorbike or a futon? I’m getting a new datalogger due to connecting it to a malfunctioning wall supply that made my current device let out a little smoke. I’m just a little nervous that the new one won’t get there in time. Like a bunch of other things I have had it sent directly to my gracious hosts Scout and Sandy in San Diego. My new camera is there, memory cards, gaitors, and the Data Book that Amazon managed to loose the first time.

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