"Only one way to go, North. Canada. So I walked."


Thomas Gathman aka The Real Hiking Viking aka Jabba began his journey on the PCT on Sunday, April 13, 2015. This week he hit his 1,000 mile mark so we'd like to fill you in on some of the adventures he's been having and things he's learned over the past few months.


When preparing for a thru-hike, most people search for the perfect pair of hiking boots, but as it turns out, that's not always the best footwear for the job.


Gathman used a method called Socks and Crocs while hiking through the Gila River Route in order to keep his feet in better shape and to keep his shoes from getting destroyed. The Crocs protect his feet from the big rocks and the socks protect his feet from the small ones.


With his feet protected, he could enjoy the changing scenery that got increasingly more beautiful with each turn in the river. Hiking through this section was cold, difficult, and mentally exhausting, but after only two stops, Gathman made it out of the canyon and on to Snow Lake by 6pm.



When hiking, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. There are water sources throughout the trail, but they are not always dependable. Gathman woke up one morning with a one mile hike ahead of him to get to the next "possible" water source. He passed a spring the night before but didn't take any water from it because he was relying on this source.


Unfortunately, when he arrived there was no water source to be found. He had only one liter left and ten miles until the next possible water source. The sun was getting hotter as he made a descent in elevation with no where to escape from the heat.


He finally arrived at the source only to find that it was covered with mud and cow pies and had an awful odour. After serious consideration, he decided he was not yet desperate enough to attempt to filter and drink that water. Onward he went, knowing that he'd have to make his final liter of water last 23 miles.


The sun was going down and there were 4 miles left until the next possible water source when he realized he had finished the last drop of his water. He followed the trail to the spring which he figured would be in the canyon, but when he arrived, the canyon was completely dry. This is when he began to panic. He looked all around searching for any possible water source. Suddenly he realized the trail continued up the other side of the canyon. He followed it up and down into another canyon where he saw 2 water tanks. One was completely dry, but one had plenty of clean water ready to quench his thirst.



Talk about the hunt for fresh water! Fortunately for The Real Hiking Viking, he had Salazon Chocolate with him to fuel his search. Check out The Real Hiking Viking’s favorite chocolate bar, 72% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Orange Zest, to see if it’s the right jump starter for you. Take 10% off your Salazon Chocolate order with discount code HIKINGCHOCOLATE.



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