Chris Townsend at the finish of the Pacific Northwest Trail

Chris Townsend at the finish of the Pacific Northwest Trail

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  • Sleeping well is very important for morale and your physical condition. If you’re not sleeping well because your mat is too hard or your sleeping bag too cold or too hot make changes when you can, even if it means buying new gear. Don’t suffer unnecessarily.
  • Take care of your feet. Blisters and sore feet are probably the main cause of unhappiness and distress for long-distance walkers and the main reason people give up. Having good, properly fitting footwear at the start is of course important. However, days and weeks of constant use can change footwear internally. If you start getting blisters or your feet start to ache badly think of changing your footwear. I like to have two pairs – trail shoes and sandals – with me and sometimes swap them over during the day. If you don’t want to carry a second pair you can have one sent ahead in supply boxes. If blisters and hot spots do occur treat them straight away. Ignoring them only makes them worse and longer lasting.
  • The length of a walk can seem daunting if you view it as a whole. A finish that is hundreds or thousands of miles away can seem an impossible goal, especially when just reaching the next camp site feels like a challenge. To overcome this feeling break the walk into sections and just think about the next stage. All long walks have resupply points. These can be used as the start and end points so that the walk becomes a series of shorter walks.

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