Living in America aka shopping for hiking gear in LA and San Diego

Picnic on the beach, San Diego

Wahooooooo! We leave tomorrow to start our 2660 mile/4500km adventure on the PCT. It’s a really long walk. We are really excited but also rather overwhelmed with the length, we’re trying not to think about it too much.

Finding friends in Home Depot

Harry and I (Phoebe) arrived on the 4th in LA and Meg arrived on the 6th. So far we have visited 2 REIs and brought a small fortune of hiking gear. At the Santa Monica REI we randomly met Cookie who hiked with our pal Annie/Oakley last year, she was very friendly and enthusiastic and gave us some great hiking tips. We also conquered about 4 supermarkets, a Home Depot, pharmacy and a Target and proudly gave birth to our first resupply box which we sent to Werner Spring. Our worries decreased this afternoon when we had a trial pack pack-up and realised that our bag and bags of food and hiking junk actually fit in our back packs. Our organisational marathon is complete 👊🏼.

Did we think about this too much?

We also did fun stuff too, like hang out on the beach in Santa Monica and San Diego, eat 50 million tacos (50% while drunk, they are even tastier then), get lost on the bus system in LA, hit the clubs with Pat and Heaven in our daggy clothes, chat with locals about how many celebs they know, eat more tacos, go to a diner and relish the endless coffee to combat our jet lag, and see one of Harry’s Boston friend’s band play on uni campus. On a more sad and serious note we have seen 2 major accidents on the roads and one dead body.

Ian Sweet at the Che Cafe San Diego

Santa Monica

Watts Towers

PCT girl gang are ready to get out of the city and into the desert. I want to worry about water, snakes and not getting pricked by cacti, that’s it. I want to start this gd trail and stop dreaming about it. Well luckily for me that day is about to come. Wish us luck xx

In Pursuit of Eternal Comfort

As our start date, April 10th rolls closer there seems in me an eternal need to figure out exactly what it is I will need to take on the PCT. This, in my minds is a fine line between maximising comfort and eliminating weight.

Scrap mental snakes, I have a mental list and to be honest for me not only is it far more overwhelming, but also far more complicated to eradicate than a snake. A snake is simple, you stop, consider your options, usually stay put and maybe stamp your feet a couple of times till the path is clear and you can move forward safely. However, pondering how many undies do I pack, or should I keep the overpants, plus juggling fingerless gloves vs. some silky merino full fingers, or spork over legit knife and fork is keeping me quite occupied as I check off groceries at my casual job. The internal conflict and divulgence into with what, and how is becoming tiresome to say the least.

When our friend, Annie, returned from the hike I asked her what was essential, what must I have? I wanted some holy grail, but she just mused ‘hike your own hike’. I took this as figure it out for yourself. Everyone’s different and what’s good for one, might not be for another.

Anyway, I went away and bought some news things, on sale, and then I wrote to Annie again, and she sent me a list and told me to wait until I got there to get my things. So I will.

Peace settled in my mental world. I’ll wait, it’ll be cool, I’ll check Annie’s list and hot foot it into the blazing southern Californian desert.

And then we had some news via a blog today about the late snow in ‘Merica at the moment. This means that thru hikers on the PCT may find it, at times difficult to thru hike.  This news puts me on edge only a little, as I am not one for the cold. It talked about 2017 being a year that would turn many hikers away, and that maybe parts of the trail would be inaccessible. It was a little daunting, and a little sad, but mother nature knows no mercy, and I’m not going to blame her for that with all the f***ed up things we’ve done to her. However, in conclusion to this late night ramble it got me thinking. As Phoebe mentioned we are in the final stage before take off, or maybe a more fitting term ‘first tred’. And unlike so many adventures in the past this PCT journey seems to be teaching me about taking my time to figure it out as I go. Maybe it is a more snake like approach we (I) need to have. Take everyday as it comes, stop to consider the options, give space for things to unfold as they will and in a way that is not only safe but in rhythm with the natural laws of, might I dare say it without sounding like a total woo woo, the universe.

The One Month Count Down

Yep, so you probably guessed it from the title, we start walking in one month from yesterday and I’m so excited! The PCT has been a 2 year obsession of mine, and those who know me are either tired of me talking about it constantly or have dreamed of joining me. The two that have stuck are my sister Harriet and old old friend Meg. We are the PCT girl gang! We have grown up together, originally sharing a backyard in Melbourne and building cubbies with complex rope pulley systems to transport messages in a secret language, playing lion king and going on family holidays together which were often bushwalking to a secret cave our dads found in the 70s in the Grampians. When Meg was 7 her family moved to the country and Harry and I spent our holidays riding horses all day, swimming in dams, deliberately getting lost in the Wombat State Park, finding the secret daffodil grove in a maze of thorns and building horse yards in the bush to camp overnight at. We have also travelled together in South East Asia and most recently walked for 3 weeks on the AAWT (check out our previous blog posts). This has all been mental and physical training for the PCT, and I think we have built a strong foundation for a successful hike!

We plan to post daily in this blog about our adventure, internet connection/phone range permitting. So friends, family, and friendly strangers please follow us on this long long walk from Mexico to Canada. What an adventure. This is a queer friendly, body positive, feminist space, so meanies please quietly excuse yourselves.

March feels like a month of goodbyes, the clock is ticking and time spent with friends, family and my lovely girlfriend Mia precious. Yesterday Harriet and I went for a drive with our dad from Healsville to Warburton via Mt Donna Buang. We went on a few short walks to Ben’s Cairn and into old growth rainforest especially to see Myrtle Beech trees, one of the few pockets of them in Victoria. They are the ultimate fairy tree and a family favourite, here are some picks. Xxooxxoo


Regal Mountain Ash


Harriet and the Tea Tree

Australian Alp Walking Track – Whats going on?

Approaching Mt Anton, Main Range, NSW. Photo by Meg Wettenhall

To train for the PCT and to make sure we would all still love each other at the end of a hard day, PCT girl-gang (aka Phoebe, Harriet and Meg) went for a 3 week hike southbound along the Australian Alps Walking Track from Canberra (ACT) to Mt Bogong (VIC). Here is our ambitious itinerary, and we still love each other.

1. Sunday Nov 27th
Aeroplane melb – canberra
Taxi to Tharwa
Tharwa – Booroomba Rocks Track
11.6km, 800m, 5hrs
Booroomba Rocks Track – Honeysuckle Creek
3.8km, 100m, 1hr
(15.4km, 900m, 6hrs)

2. Monday Nov 28th
Honeysuckle Creek – Orroral River
7.7km, 230m, 2.5hrs
Orroral River – Cotter Gap
9.3km, 500m, 3.5 hrs
Cotter Gap – 1km past Cotter Hut
7.3km, 50m, 3hrs
(24.3km, 770m, 9hrs)
*Murray Gap is really beautiful, if we are feeling good push on*

3. Tuesday Nov 29th
1km past Cotter Hut – Murray Gap
5.6km, 520m, 3hrs
Murray Gap – Oldfields Hut
4.3km, 75m, 1.5hr
Oldfields Hut – Seventeen Flat Creek
8.4km, 170m, 3.5hrs
Seventeen Flat Creek – Blue Waterholes
3km, 1hr
(21.3km, 765m, 9hrs)

4. Wednesday Nov 30th
Half day at Blue Waterholes
Blue Waterholes – Seventeen Flat Creek
3km, 1hr
Seventeen Flat Creek – Morris Creek
5.5km, 80m,1.5hr
Morris Creek Hainsworth Hut Junction
7km, 200m, 2hrs
(15.5km, 280m, 4.5hrs)

5. Thursday Dec 1st
Hainsworth Hut Junction – Ghost Gully
3km, 1hr
Ghost Gully – Murrumbidgee River
8.5km, 125m, 3.5hrs
Murrumbidgee River – Witzes Hut
10.5km, 270m, 3hrs
(22km, 395m, 7.5hrs)

6. Friday Dec 2nd
Witzes Hut – Kiandra
12.4km, 345m, 4.5hrs
Kiandra – Four Mile Hut
7.3km, 215m, 2.5hrs
Four Mile Hut – Nine Mile Creek
4.1km, 150m, 1.5hrs
(23.8km, 710m, 8.5hrs)

7. Saturday Dec 3rd
Nine Mile Creek – Happy Hut
12.2km, 300m, 4hrs
Happys Hut – Mackays Hut
14.4km, 355m, 6hrs
(26.6km, 655m, 10hrs)

8. Sunday Dec 4th
Mackays Hut – O’Keefes Hut
8.8km, 355m, 3hrs
O’Keefes Hut – Round Mountain Trail
4.9km, 120m, 1.5hrs
Round Mountrain Trail – Grey Mare Hut
7.5km, 115m, 2.5hrs
Grey Mare Hut – Valentine Hut
7km, 295m, 2.5hrs
(28.2km, 885m, 9.5hrs)

9. Monday Dec 5th
Valentine Hut – Schlink Hut
6.2km, 170m, 2hrs
Schlink Hut – Whites River Hut
3.2km, 30m, 1hr
Whites River Hut – Consett Stephen Pass
5.6km, 310m, 3hrs
(15km, 510m, 6hrs)
*push on if possible to make next day shorter*

10. Tuesday Dec 6th
Consett Stephen Pass – Anderson Saddle
5.1km, 170m, 2hrs
Anderson Saddle – Muellers Pass
11.2km, 460m, 4.5hrs
Muellers Pass – Rawson Pass
1.9km, 140m, 0.5hrs
Rawson Pass – Kosciuszko Express Chairlift
4.3km, 20m, 1.5hrs
(22.5km, 790m, 8.5hrs)

11. Wednesday Dec 7th
Rest Day

12. Thursday Dec 8th
Thredbo Village – Dead Horse Gap
3km, 150m, 1hr
Dead Horse Gap – Cascade Hut
8.9km, 295m, 3hrs
(11.9km, 445m, 4hrs)

13. Friday Dec 9th
Cascade Hut – Tin Mine Hut
15.9km, 230m, 4hrs
Tin Mine Huts – Cowombat Flat
16.7km, 495m, 5hrs
(32.6km,725m, 9hrs)

14. Saturday Dec 10th
Cowombat Flat – Cowombat Flat Track
14.6km, 530m, 4.5hrs
Cowombat Flat Track – Limestone Creek
6.4km, 2hrs
(21km, 530m, 6.5hrs)

15. Sunday Dec 11th
Limestone Creek – Dead Horse Creek
4.2km, 180m, 2hrs
Dead Horse Creek – Buckwong Creek
10.5km, 675m, 6.5hrs
(14.7km, 855m, 8.5hrs)

16. Monday Dec 12th
Buckwong Creek – Buenba Hut site
12.1km, 315m, 4hrs
Buenba Hut site – Johnnies Top
11.7km, 805m, 6hrs
(23.8km, 1120m, 10hrs)

17. Tuesday Dec 13th
Johnnies Top – Benambra/Corryong Road
14.8km, 155m, 5hrs
Benambra/Corryong Road – Taylors Crossing
8.8km, 305m, 3.5hrs
(23.6km, 460m, 8.5hrs)

18. Wednesday Dec 14th
Taylors Crossing – Gill Creek
13.8km, 820m, 6hrs

19. Thursday Dec 15th
(Harry’s Bday!)
Gill Creek – Omeo Highway
5.9km, 555m, 3hrs
Omeo Highway – Mt Wills
6.4km, 630m, 3.5hrs
(12.3km, 1185m, 6.5hrs)

20. Friday Dec 16thMt Wills – Big River Saddle
3.4km, 1hrs
Big River Saddle – Maddisons Hut Site
12.5km, 855m, 5hrs
Maddisons Hut Site – Cleve Cole Hut
1.6km, 0.5hrs
(17.5km, 855m, 6.5hrs)

21. Saturday Dec 17th
Cleve Cole Hut – Bogong Car Park

days – 20 + 1 rest day
Kms – 399


Phoebe and Harriet on the slopes of Cradle Mountain many many years ago, Tasmania


Dehydrating beetroot freekah salad, Photo Phoebe Robertson