Since deciding to create this blog 8 days ago, under the extreme emotional duress of kind and interested friends, family and strangers who just want to see Rosie and I do well, I’ve done a lot of p-ing. Mainly procrastinating (thanking my first ever boyfriend, age 15, for his overuse of this word and making it a staple word in my vocabulary) but also panicking. Big time. The panicking ran along the lines of: ‘Fuck’. More in depth: ‘Fuck, I don’t even have the basics and what I do have is NOT going to cut this undertakinggg arrrgghhhhh.’
First dilemma: The bag/pack/backpack. A major deal. It’s going to be my home and its home is going to be on my back for near enough 6 months, ergo it needs to be right, and by ‘right’ I mean perfect. I asked a couple of questions on forums, apparently dumb questions only an arsehole would ask judging by the responses. I asked “Is a 50L bag a suitable size to take on a thru-hike on the AT?” I was performing a hiking-question-faux-pas of comparative stupidity to slicing my guts open and going for a gentle swim with Sharks and was met with the kind of “how long is a piece of string??” answers you’d expect. Some people went one time with 30L packs and burnt their own feces as fuel to save space and made a nest in a tree every night like a Gorilla and why didn’t I just do that? But other people were helpful and answered my question in a way I had intended to ask it – yes, it is more than possible for a novice long-distance hiker to fit everything they need into a 50L size pack. I made my way to the shops and got me an Osprey 50 Aura AG made specifically for female-width shoulders and not a gender-specific colour in sight. One down.
Second dilemma: Boots. Biggest deal of all the deals. These had to be right, and need to continue to be right for 2200 miles. I was putting the
pussy booties on a pedestal about this decision, and too right! In fact, for a good few weeks I’ve been so concerned about this decision that I avoided it entirely. However as we hit 60 days to go 3 days ago, I realised I have to take the plunge and make a purchase so I can get them worn in – tried and tested. I didn’t want to bother the community/wake that monster in Pan’s Labyrinth with the eyeball hands with my stupidity this time, so I went straight online to look at some options and reviews and I came across a pretty interesting and sassy-looking outdoor range by Adidas, ‘Terrex’. Being a gym-lover I am a sucker for Adidas and I trust the brand, but my problem was I had no way to try these on without ordering 3 different pairs (it’s the norm to need to go up half a size or a whole size in hiking boots, plus in Adidas trainers I’m half a size up from my normal size anyway) so I scrapped them and the rigmarole that came with that option. Then I saw some super-light, totally waterproof Salomons which I was pretty sure I wanted, so I went to the shop to try them on… Anyway the short story is I got some Mammuts* (Ayako High GTX, specifically). It goes to show that looking online just is NOT practical for this kind of shopping – you HAVE to try everything on and get a feel for it.
*Serious shout-OUT to my main man Andrew at Lincoln Go Outdoors for spending hours with me talking me through the Boots and other equipment.
My equipment purchased new so far (OEX Leviathan EV Hydrophobic down sleeping bag, Mammut Ayako High GTX Hiking Boots, Osprey Aura 50L backpack, Mountain Equipment Zeno waterproof jacket, which is actually a men’s small but I swiped it in the sale for £80). Photo: