Pre Pacific Crest Trail Departure Q&A with my little niece.

The day has come! Today I leave Scotland and in a few days’ time I’ll fly to Seattle to
begin my massive adventure of walking the Pacific Crest Trail. 

This is my final blog about my prep for my south bound PCT

I spent last night with my nieces Rae (4), Zoe (1) and my sister Mo. It was a fine evening – the sun shone as I put my tent up in their garden. We pretended to sleep in it, then spent the rest of the evening eating, blethering and giggling.


Rae modeling my rucksack

Blethers turned to fun questions about my trip.

Given that I’m a bit tired and brain foggy this blog is based on
their questions.

Briefly, the Context

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2650 mile long distance walking
trail across the U.S.A.

From the 4th July until early December I’ll be hiking south bound through the States of Washington, Oregon and California. I’ll be
carrying all my kit and camping on the trail and passing through towns about once a week to pick up food resupply etc.

Rae modeling my rucksack


Rae modeling my rucksack

Morag and Rae’s Pacific Crest Trail Questions:

When do you go? Are you and your friends getting a ship? (Rae)

I’m leaving tomorrow! My friends are staying at home and I’m getting an aeroplane, not a ship.

Rae modeling my rucksack


Rae modeling my rucksack

When do you actually start walking? (Mo)

I’ve 3 days in Seattle and I start walking on Thursday 4th
of July.

Will you be staying in camp sites? 

I’ll mostly be wild camping along the trail. But the trail is well worn so there should be quite obvious places to camp. Once every 4 to 7 days I’ll be going ‘off trail’ into a town and I may stay in a camp sites or hostel there.

Will you meet other people? Will you walk with other people?  (Mo)

Yes. I’m going on my own but the PCT is popular, so I’ll
definitely meet other folks.

I’m getting a lift to the ‘Trail Head’ on the 4th
of July from a volunteer (a Trail Angel). He is taking 3 other people, so I’ll meet other walkers right at the start.  If we don’t click we’ll just walk at different paces!

From what I’ve read of through hikes, it’s common for people to
form “trail families”.  I’m really open to meeting people but I’m also equally happy if that doesn’t happen as I’m looking forward to the solitude and space.

Will you have a new friend? (Rae)

Yes, I probably will Rae!

Will you eat? (Rae) What will you eat? Will you eat soup?  (Rae)

Yes, I’ll eat.

Eating will be VERY important to me on this walk!

What will you eat? (Rae)

My menu will be something like:

Breakfast:  Porridge
with bits (nuts, fruit etc)

Lunch: A tortilla with nut butter or tuna or some other combination.

Snacks: Chocolate, cereal bars, nuts.

Dinner:  A freeze
dried packet meal from Expedition Foods that I just need to add hot water too.

Will you eat soup?  (Rae)

I wasn’t planning on eating soup but now you mention it.. some cuppa soups are a really good idea. Thanks Rae!

Where will you get your food from? Is there a café with sweeties near your

Ah I wish there would be cafés that close!

I’ll carry food with me and then every 4 to 7 days I’ll go into a town to get my next batch of food.

When I arrive in Seattle I’ll do a massive food shop and then post this food in boxes addressed to me, down the trail. At towns that are well stocked I’ll just go to a supermarket to do a resupply shop.

When I’m in a town I’ll definitely go to cafés and buy lots of food. I’m especially excited about eating lots of pancakes with maple syrup. And sweeties! 

Here’s part of my shopping list with some of the towns I’ll post boxes to and what I’ll put in them.


Shona’s PCT resupply boxes shopping list

How much will you walk each day? (Mo)

I’m hoping to build up to about 20 miles per day, but I’ll probably start with 15 miles for the first few days. I might not manage my
planned mileage, I’ll just have to see how it goes.

This is my rough plan with daily mileage, town name and dates:


Shona’s PCT plan

What will be your social highlights? What will you see of American culture?

I imagine the social highlights will be the people I meet on trail. I’ve a feeling I’m going to meet some amazing folks.

I’m going to be passing through some lovely towns. One that particularly interests me is Stehekin in Washington State – it sounds incredibly beautiful.

I’m excited to be walking through the John Muir Trail in California. I’m hoping to listen to some of John Muir’s books while I walk. I love reading books related to places I visit – it helps me feel more connected.

I’ll walk without ‘entertainment’ for at least half of the day. But for the other half I’ll listen to music, podcasts or audio books.

Pacific Crest Trail Washington and Oregon Overview Map


Pacific Crest Trail Washington and Oregon Overview Map

Pacific Crest Trail California Overview Map


Pacific Crest Trail California Overview Map

What will you do for fun/ entertainment while walking? What about on an
evening? (Mo)

I think evenings will be pretty chilled / low key. I’ll probably be so tired that I’ll just want to crawl into my tent most nights. I’m really looking forward to the simplicity.

How often will you have access to the internet? (Mo)

I’ll get an American SIM card when I arrive, so I can message folks in the States. I’ll get WIFI and maybe limited 4G when in towns about once a week.

I want to do daily photos and Instagram posts as a kind of diary but I’ll only be able to send them when I’m in towns.

And it will be really nice to be ‘unplugged’ for the most part.

I’m really lucky as a couple of friends are going to help keep my Facebook and email newsletter going.

How will you keep clean? Will you mind what you’ll look like? (Mo)

I’ll wash in rivers and lakes and once a week in a town. My only cosmetics will be suncream and half a comb!

I’d like to think I won’t mind what I look like but I don’t know how I’ll feel until I’m in it.

But full disclosure Mo.. I had my eyebrows micro bladed before Christmas and I had my eye lashes tinted last week! I’ll be wearing shorts a lot of the time and I’m hoping to be able to shave my legs in towns. For some this would be over kill.. 

But these little things might help me feel just that little bit more attractive.

I was going to take the shirt that you think I look like Bear Grylls in!

Shona and Bear shot


This shirt is really functional for the trail but I don’t love the look!

Ha ha – you have to! (Mo)

It’s super functional and has pockets. But I feel dowdy and I look like a colonial explorer in it! My pal Kate gave me a solid piece of advice

“Even if it’s functional – if you feel rubbish in it – don’t take it!”

So, I’ll try and pick up another shirt in Seattle.

Are you taking any teddys with you? 

No, I hadn’t planned to. I’m really trying to keep my weight down. At present my bag weight – without food or water- is about 5 ½ Kg which
I’m really happy with.

Do you think I should be taking a teddy?

Yes, a teddy rabbit! (Rae)


My niece trying out my tent and sleeping bag before I go.


So that’s me off (without a Teddy)!!

I feel so much love and support from friends and family but also from people who I don’t know in the ‘real world’ yet. So many folks have reached out and supported my fundraising for Mikey’s Line, have sent me good wishes and have helped with the logistics of this adventure.

With much excitement and love, Shona 

10 thoughts on “Pre Pacific Crest Trail Departure Q&A with my little niece.

  1. Lynn Keenan says:

    Hi Shona!
    I wish you well. Really hope you enjoy your adventure.

    Be careful.
    Best Wishes.

    Ps…your were my ‘pt’ for about 6 sessions back in 2015!

  2. Doreen Campbell says:

    Have an amazing adventure Shona and keep safe. Love your niece’s questions. Be bold be strong. Keep the blogs coming xx

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