6 steps for planning a thru hike

I’m walking 640km across Jordan, and the days are counting down remarkably fast. The point of the trek is not only to challenge myself but to raise funds for @MSF_UK as I’ve written about extensively, start at number one and work on through to ten. If you believe in MSF’s work around the world or simply like my blog please head over to my just giving page and donate a few Pounds, Euro, Shillings or dollars to the cause.

Step one: choose your trail

With so many amazing trails around the world it might be helpful to think about what you want to achieve, and set some parameters. My parameters were:

  • A trail over 500km in length or with sufficient challenge over shorter distance
  • A trail in a country I have never been to
  • A trail with a bit of mystery and uniquness

From this I came up with:

  • Greenland Arctic circle trail
  • UK cape wrath to the south coast  – but this breaks the new country rule
  • Japan Tokai nature trail
  • Nepal – but couldn’t decide what
  • Jordan trail

I eventually settled on Jordan as it best matched  my set criteria and could fit into the amount of time I could get off work.

Step two: Commit

Start training, read everything you can about the trail, scrutinize maps, contact people who know the trail and for me publicly say you will walk the trail and sign up to collect money for my favorite NGO – Doctors without Borders – donate here …. 🙂

Step three: Get in deep

Having told my nearest and dearest my plans, I still in my head thought this was another pipe dream. But as soon as I got my first donation, ad it wasn’t from my mum, I knew I could not just flip this off. Then I got my first donation from a stranger. Then large donations until now when I’m talking to MSF about press and publicity. From there I knew It was do or die.

Step four: Money

Start spending money, your money, not the donations. Hiking 640km and camping most of the time doesn’t sound as if it should be expensive, but the international component means I have to book flights and a few hotels as well as extra gear, food supplies, basics like sunscreen and water purification tablets and and and the list keeps getting longer

Step five: Make research your second job

My day goes like this

  • Run 5-10km, while listening to adventure podcasts
  • Breakfast while updating twitter and Facebook
  • Panic
  • Emails
  • Work all day (maybe tweet a bit)
  • Write blog posts
  • Contact people for sponsorship or publicity
  • Planning routes, obsessing over maps and GPS files
  • Read up bits of first aid and scare myself with horror stories
  • Panic
  • Gear planning
  • Resupply strategy planning
  • Worry about food and water
  • Getting Arabic translations
  • Thinking about learning basic Arabic and running out of time
  • Panic
  • Annoy my friends with constant trail talk
  • Write “pitches” whatever they are
  • go to bed and obsess over all the things I’ve forgotten or painful ways to die on the trail

Step 6: Pack and go

I’ve not got their yet, well apart from the practice hike and pack to Ethiopia. I’m sure it will go along the lines of throw everything out the window, realize I made 1001 mistakes arrive in Jordan and just get on with it!

We will see….


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