A few minutes before starting the day, I just lay in bed thinking of everything I had to accomplish. A couple of months prior, I took comfort in knowing that I still had more than six months to prepare for the massive 4,264km (2560 miles) hike ahead of me. This morning presented a significant day. It finally marked six months before I’d depart Australia for the United States before heading out on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Time had suddenly turned from ticking – to tick-tocking.
As the sun crept it’s way up to the horizon I felt like I was suddenly looking down a narrowing barrel of time. The brilliant orange glow had me rushing for my camera all the while knowing that I’d been too busy paging through Yogi’s handbook over the last few weeks and in-turn neglecting to charge my camera batteries and clear SD cards. Luckily there was just enough charge and card space for the first shot of the day.
The day before I had asked Lindy if she would join me on a training hike out to Manly. We had planned for an early start to what was looking like a hot day. Not being much of a morning person I welcomed the early start as this will be something I’ll need to be doing more of in the desert sections of my hike as it becomes extremely hot to hike three to four hours after sunrise.
Lindy and I got started at 8:15am on our 12km hike as we headed down the road towards the Spit. This would be one of many training hikes contributing towards my PCT in April 2016.
I started my training in July this year. The start was quite casual and without a pack I focused on increasing my base milage. When I could manage 8 miles with ease I then started adding weight and then adding in a few more hills. It wasn’t long before I was reaching 10 miles per day but the hard part was finding the time to cover this distance most days of the week. I then took some tips from my friend Justin Lichter (well actually, I bought and read his book “Trail Tested”) who recommends increasing your milage slowly, going further one day then returning to your shorter base milage for subsequent hikes before pushing further again. This technique not only prevents me from becoming physically overwhelmed but also buys me time to focus on the preparation side which I rate almost as important.
So far I’ve become familiar with the entire PCT route via and I’ve been marking various points on Halfmile’s maps which will save me time when referring to them later. I plan to use the paper maps at night when planning the next days distance – then switching to Guthook’s PCT apps on my phone during the day. The trail guide app functions as a GPS which will help position me more accurately according to the many way points I’ll be heading for.
Since early August I’ve been hiking with two very large glass bottles of Gin. I grabbed them one afternoon to add weight to my pack and they’ve been there ever since which is a little ironic as I’m not much of a big drinker – but G&T’s are one of my signature drinks. So far I’ve logged 234 miles (376km) around the suburbs and foreshore tracks of Sydney. I’ve been tracking my progress with my Garmin forerunner 610 GPS. I’ve assimilated to the imperial system by switching the units on my GPS from kilometres to miles. I now know what miles feel like and without looking at my watch I can tell when I’m 8 miles in as this is when my feet start to feel the weight of that Gin. Crazy World! Cave men would be bent over in stitches.