This is the first for me, the first time that I have reviewed a blog. Many of you will have discovered this before but if you haven’t — or if you’ve not visited it for a while — then you are in for a treat!
M & G are Mick and Gayle a couple of intrepid UK walkers based in the Midlands, well based there when they are not walking. They first came to our attention when they walked (and blogged) from Lands End to John O’Groats. Not satisfied with this they then contrived a new diagonal walk across the UK from the South East to the North West of Scotland. There’s been a lot of other walking as well, not least a number of other TGO Challenges.
The blog is basically Gayle’s (more about Mick later). It is safe to say that these two have come to live for the trail. i always get a title worried about Tolkein fans (I just never got it) but the quote from their hero on their website I presumed is meant to underline Gayle’s own walking philosophy:
The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.
[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]
Gayle is one of those who blogs as she walks, giving us a real time or day-to-day (as often as she can) account of the walk. This is supplemented when back home by photos, reflections and lots of statistics. Gayle is an organiser, some might say an obsessive on. She likes better (when not walking) to dream up a new spreadsheet. If you have similar ODC tendencies then be warned — reading this blog could be dangerous!
The reason I’m reviewing the blog is because of their latest escapade. which is to walk a chunk of the Pacific Crest Trail in the western USA. They’ve just finished the walk and their account is well worth following.
What makes it particularly interesting is that Gayle is firmly rooted in the UK; she doesn’t often do ‘abroad’. She told me a few months ago that for family reasons she has difficulty being away for long period – well too far away from home I guess. Mick (remember him) is a little more intrepid and he has some great ideas for future walks many of which seem to involve going abroad. I suspect this trip is partially designed to help Gayle come to terms with walking elsewhere.
Anyhow, the point is that the two of them have spent over a month walking on the PCT and it has been a fabulous experience following them. And it’s been very entertaining. Gayle is very English, you know the kind of person that burns whenever the sun comes out — for overseas readers you should know that we are now half way through 2012 and the sun hasn’t come out yet! Gayle is also very British by culture and it has been hilarious to see her cling on to our own ways of doing things. For example, pop is not soda or cola. Pop is pop (it’s what we call fizzy or carbonated drinks over here. (However, I did notice some Americanisms creeping in towards the end).
The walk journal is not only entertaining and funny but will I think become a useful resource for anyone in the UK thinking of walking this trail. I’ve not walked any long USA trails (yet) but it is easy to see that the whole experience is very different to ours here in the UK or in Europe. Gayle explains how things work better than anyone else and it is particularly helpful and fascinating exploring things through Gayle’s eyes as they happen. For example, here in the UK we have nothing approaching the trail angel system and Gayle I think gives us a fantastic account of meeting them along the way. This light and casual reading also makes you understand resupply and trail head towns as well as any guidebook!
So, go and read this great account and read it before they get back home. Then you ca settle down to read all of those statistics and graphs that are bound to appear.
As I said earlier this is basically Gayle’s blog but Mick’s appearances are welcome, particularly for anyone who knows him. Gayle does most of the talking for both of them, but there’s the occasional dry and witty aside, many of which make me laugh out loud. And there are the occasional photos. On this trip they have usually involved Mick sitting in front of a huge plate of food — no plates. Put bluntly this looks like the kind of comfort food you need after a long hike — lots of chips (fries) and so on. I must admit to wondering about what Gayle was eating as she has more vegetarian and healthy tendencies and in my experience of diners she must have found this a challenge.
It has been a great account. Thanks Gayle. I’m looking forward to the follow up posts and stats. It’s been a great trip!