Let the planning begin

After graduating last year, I spent a ten months overseas backpacking in Australia and New Zealand. During that time, I spent two months hiking the length of the South Island of New Zealand on the Te Araroa trail. And I can honestly say, it was the best experience of my entire life.

Since my return to the states, I have worked on building a career in the outdoor retail industry as an apparel buyer. I love my job and the industry I work in, but the yearning to pick up my pack and hit the road is always there in the back of my head. I was bit by the travel bug, and the itch is back.

My time and experiences in New Zealand rooted a hunger inside of me that I think can only be satisfied by another long trail. After careful consideration of my future and what’s next, I’ve decided I will hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. I will spend this year planning and preparing myself for the long journey ahead. While I have thru-hiking experience, the Te Araroa was only a fraction of the PCT. While the distance I covered in New Zealand was roughly 900 miles, the PCT is 2,660 miles; three times the length I walked! Two months in the South Island, New Zealand vs. six months across the length of Washington, Oregon, and California. My concerns about sandflies will be replaced with concerns of rattlesnakes and bears.

Despite the doubts and fears I’m sure others will have for me, (mom I’m talking to you) I know that this is the right decision for me. I have not felt this good or excited about my future since I bought a one-way ticket to Australia last year.

I will be using this blog to report on all things PCT: gear, research, training, everything.

I have a goal, let the planning begin.

Cheers! To tripping, falling, crying, laughing, and loving tramping over 300km from Bluff to Queenstown so far. Taking a rest day tomorrow before getting back on the track. Next stop Wanaka! #teararoa #tramping #newzealand #queenstown #backpacking #mountains #rivers #backcountry #mud #travel #adventurefish #tequila #freedom #camping

The first face I came across in 22 kilometers of straight beach tramping.
Apparently yesterday was the hottest December day Invercargill’s had in the past 50 years😓 It was hot and my pack was HEAVYYYY. I decided to take as many breaks as I wanted. Because of this, I made it into Riverton late and nothing was open. I found a patch of huge pine trees🌲 with a clearing underneath and decided to camp there for the night. I was too tired to set up my hammock, so I just slept on the ground in my sleeping bag and prayed that the rain would hold off. God must’ve heard me, because the rain didn’t start until after I woke up and packed up my things😁 #teararoa #newzealand #tramping #northbound #travel #adventure #beach

Byron Bay was definitely one of the best places I’ve been in Australia.  The vibe there is so laid back.  Everyone is really nice and friendly, plus there are heaps of vegan friendly restaurants and cafes everywhere! After exploring many of the options around (I couldn’t try them all, there were so many), I have to say Manna Haven had the best food by far! It was so good, I went for lunch two days in a row. They do advertise as a vegetarian restaurant, but they are happy to accommodate vegans.  The first day I went, I ordered the Fresh Bowl.  I would highly recommend this dish! The flavor was outstanding! It was an oven baked garlic tortilla bowl filled with zestabouli quinoa salad, hummus, sriracha sauce, and moist felafals. It is advertised as being topped with tatziki sauce, but I told the woman at the counter I was vegan, and she substituted a creamy cashew cream sauce at no extra charge.  I was so satisfied after eating this meal.  It was the kind of meal you enjoy and feel good after eating it.  I was too full to have dessert, so I decided to return the next day! I had a trio of salads: the first: cauliflower pesto, the second: roast vegetable, and the third, recommended by the girl at the counter: eggplant tahini. All three were very different, but equally delicious.  You could tell they use the freshest ingredients. The polenta chips were good.  Firm, and not greasy.  They paired perfectly with the cashew cream sauce.  AND DESSERT! Oh my gosh, this raw chai cheesecake. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t had many desserts throughout my travels, but it was amazing! Make sure you save some room! They have a whole window of raw vegan desserts to choose from.  Manna Haven gets a 10/10 from me.  

PS. The best coffee in town was at Santo’s- a coconut milk latte is where it’s at. They also had the amazing vegan ice cream bars from my previous post!