Video Editor @pavilionworks 24, like to hike Pacific Crest Trail '18 (2650mi)
On my hike I ran into rattlesnakes, bears, and even once a mountain lion, but the only time I actually felt like I was in danger was the day this photo was taken. It was a very hot day in the desert and I'd walked straight past a pretty crucial water source, I was totally in my own head and didn't even notice until a couple of miles later. I was around 8 miles from the next reliable water, and had just over half a litre left. For some reason, I thought I could make it at a push if I just rationed it well, instead of doing the smart thing and turning back. What I didn't factor in is that it was the middle of the day, and those 8 miles turned out to be completely exposed. Around four miles later, my water rationing was not going very well. I only had a few sips of water left, and I was starting to feel the effects of dehydration (I was getting tunnel vision and started feeling pretty dizzy). With no shade in sight, there was no opportunity to stop and rest so I just kept on going. At
Very early on in my hike, I was hitchhiking into the town of Idyllwild to wash my clothes and buy some food for the next section. As soon as I put my thumb out, the very first car I saw instantly pulled over, and I met Melissa. We had a pretty great conversation, which then turned into breakfast, and then snowballed into a full day adventure. We drove a few hours out of town to see the Salton Sea (weird place) and then off down a dirt road to hike in a canyon near Joshua Tree, in which we got totally and utterly lost but somehow made it out alive (just). I learned a lot that day, not only from Melissa and her fascination with geology and trees and plants (as you can see here) but also on the importance of spontaneity and letting yourself be swept away by random chance. Just to see where it takes you. It forces you to live in the moment. Hitchhiking was one of my favourite aspects of the PCT, because you are totally on the cusp of random chance. You give up all control and are
After being rained on for three days straight, the sun finally came out for a short burst when I came down into this valley. I felt like this rainbow was my little reward for staying positive and enduring through it. An hour later, it was raining again. I had planned to camp a mile out of Holden Village so that I could get in for a big breakfast the next morning. It was pouring when I got there, so I sat there for an hour in the rain, in hopes that it would stop for just 5 minutes so that I could get my tent up without it getting too wet inside. It got dark, and the rain only got heavier. I was starting to get pretty cold, so I just accepted my fate and put up my tent in what had now become a complete downpour. I set it up in record time, but even so, by the time it was up there was an inch deep puddle throughout. I tried scooping some of the water out with my cook pot, but then decided it was a bit of a waste of time and warming up was more important. I blew up my sleeping mat and
One of my all time favourite camp spots. Halfway up Three Fingered Jack, looking back south towards Mt Washington. I pushed through some bushes to see if I could catch a last glimpse of this view, and was pretty excited to come across this perfect little clearing. I set up camp just as the sun started to set. I just remember the air being completely still, total silence. It felt like I was the only one around for hundreds of miles, looking out over my kingdom. Then I started getting changed into my thermals for the night and the very moment I pulled down my shorts, a random hiker stumbled through the bushes looking for a spot and burst out laughing. Mile 2010ish
Bounding down the trail on a rainy day in Washington, I caught a glimpse of this dead tree off to the side of the trail and it stopped me in my tracks. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I just stood there for a while admiring it, as if I was in a gallery somewhere admiring a work of art.
This morning my friend Rebekah sent me this photo, and I think it pretty perfectly captures how I felt at the time. Cooking dinner with a few friends before a night under the stars. About an hour after this was taken, we were all laying there chatting, watching the night sky when a huge meteor streaked overhead. It looked like the sky was splitting apart, and left a bright scar that dissipated over a few seconds. We were all pretty lost for words, when Zach (pic 5) said something along the lines of "really that's just space trash burning up" "that's what I thought, totally disgusting" It's been much easier just to focus on right now instead of looking back, so I tend to put the PCT right to the back of my mind and almost pretend it never happened. This picture gave me an excuse to look back through all the pictures I took, and all those memories and emotions came flooding back (and have made me anxious to escape again). It's a shame I didn't post a lot of them on here, so I'm
Here I am, standing at the end of a journey that has changed my life. I spent the last six months hiking 2650 miles in a continuous footpath through the wilderness, from Mexico to Canada. The last 2 months of the trail I really started to settle in. I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be, completely at peace. The mountains became my home, and I started to dread the thought of living anywhere else. I managed to drag it out for as long as I possibly could, some days hiking only for a few hours before stumbling upon a camp spot I couldn't resist. I finished just a couple days before my visa expired. Standing on the Canadian border, the few people around me were rightly congratulating each other with: 'we did it!'; 'it's finally over!'. But for me, instead of feeling that sense of accomplishment, I felt like something was being taken away from me. A lifestyle that I have grown to love. I sat by this monument for a good couple of hours, thinking back to its counterpart
Part 2 of 2 I decided that if I was going to complete this, I was going to have to figure out how to enjoy it again. I put my focus on being more present. I stopped listening to anything while I hiked, and focused my thoughts on right now. I think I must just be really lucky with a brain that just cooperates and does what I tell it to (or maybe having 12hrs a day of uninterrupted thought has something to do with it) because pretty quickly I slipped into a weird state of contentment, I’m totally happy and present - but like TOTALLY present, probably too present. Is it good to be this present? Probably not, I feel like I should be using this time productively by making a big master life plan or coming up with ideas or something. But I just can't let myself think about that because I'm enjoying right now so much. I'm literally just walking for 10-12 hours a day and am totally happy with the mundaneness. My brain doesn’t want to be thinking about the future & what I should be
Part 1 of 2 Mile 2097 It's been a while since my last post - 1000ish miles - mainly because I haven't felt like I've had much to say. But a general update is I'm still walking and having a gr8 time. When I think back to NorCal it all kind of blended together. The heat was unbearable, the climbs were brutal and the smoke obstructed any views beyond 100ft away. Hiking became a chore. I think I just wasn't in the right mindset, I would do anything I could to escape the monotony of what I was actually doing - which mainly involved becoming completely reliant on audiobooks, podcasts and music to get me through the day. I can't really focus on more than one thing at a time, so when my headphones were in I was completely removed from what was around me. I'd stroll through incredible vistas and not even notice. I might as well just be walking on a treadmill, and yet I was walking down a trail people dream of getting the chance to hike. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I
The pct gods answered my prayers with 3 days of (mostly) mosquito-less bliss. I hiked my first 30 mile day fueled by rumours of all you can eat sushi in South Lake Tahoe, and was only bitten 3 times. After 24 hours in South Lake Tahoe I’m back on trail. Showered, laundered, and full of salmon, I never want to see another sushi roll again. This is Eleri, somewhere in the mountains on the morning of that first 30.
Mile 1017 I’ve spent most of the last week fantasising about being back at home with my friends. I dreamt up the perfect afternoon. It’s raining outside, we’ve just come back from running to Tesco’s and I’ve set the oven to preheat to fan 200°, I’m sitting on the sofa with my feet up, glass of wine in hand, surrounded by my friends, ready to press play on the next episode of westworld. To say that this section has tested me would be an understatement. It’s the first time since I started on this journey, that thoughts of doubt have entered my mind. This is mostly down to the unrelenting mosquitoes - stopping for 2 seconds means being instantly swarmed. It makes it very hard to enjoy the incredible landscape that I’m walking through (currently that’s Yosemite). Maybe tmi, but attempting to take a shit while being swarmed by 30+ mosquitoes is not an experience I’d wish on my worst enemy. Just trying to eat lunch is bad enough. In an effort to put my mind
From my favourite day so far on trail - coming down Forrester Pass, the highest point on the PCT at 13,153ft
Mile 903 Spent the last couple weeks making my way through the high sierras. My days have been filled with snowy mountain passes, ice cold river crossings and the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. But the most notable part of this section for me has been the people. After an ankle injury forced me to take a couple of weeks off, I’ve spent the last 700 miles trying to catch up to my original group. The first few weeks back on the trail were lonely, I had dropped my daily mileage down significantly to slowly build my ankle strength back up, so anyone I met on trail would be long gone within a couple of days. I remember summiting Mt San Jacinto, the tallest peak I’d ever climbed. John Muir once described the view from the top as “The most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth”. But when I reached the peak at sunrise I was the only person up there. I was totally alone on the summit, and it all felt completely pointless. I realised that for me, having people
Mile 566! Soon I will be up in the snowy Sierra mountains battling a new set of challenges. Here are some pictures from the last few weeks. It’s a strange feeling looking back on this section. I’ve made amazing memories with the people I’ve met out here, and learnt so much about myself from the time I’ve spent hiking alone. The only thing I can compare this feeling to is that it feels like I’m 12 and at the start of a summer holiday - it feels like an infinite amount of time and my only obligation is to get as much out of it as I possibly can. 2000ish miles to go! Edit - After uploading this, my mum reminded me that during those summers when I was 12 or 13, I would spend every night sleeping in my tent in the back garden. Very cute.
Just got back into civilisation after a few days with no phone signal, the last time this happened I was out for a week and the only thing I really missed out on was yodel kid. Did I miss anything this time? It’s been quite nice to let myself be bored without having a phone to endlessly scroll on. I have found other more primitive ways to keep myself entertained. The other day I spent over an hour trying to throw a rock at another rock. Must’ve thrown over 300 rocks by the time I finally hit it and let me tell you it was pure euphoria. Also, just passed mile 265 on the trail, meaning I’m 10% of the way up to Canada!
If he were hydrated enough, there’d be tears in his eyes. The first 700ish miles of the PCT are desert, which means long waterless stretches in the baking heat. Its not uncommon to have to carry 6+ litres of water at a time. Luckily, ‘trail angels’ keep caches of water well supplied to make life easier. This one was at the end of a 20 mile dry stretch yesterday.
My first time ‘cowboy camping’ (sleeping without a tent). Picked the biggest boulder I could see, climbed up on top, jumped into my sleeping bag and crossed my fingers that the wind wouldn’t blow me off. Woke up to the most incredible view of the sun rising over distant rolling mountains.
I took this a few days ago on day 5 of my hike, a few miles out from Mount Laguna, looking over the stunning Anza-Borrego desert below. I’ve only been out here for just over a week now, but the days feel so long and full that it feels like it was months ago that I was back living in London. I definitely miss my friends as if it was.