General update and some ideas I have in mind

I’m not a very superstitious person and I’m certainly not religious, but I worry that if I say how excellent something is or I talk about my plans too much, something bad will happen, haha.

After my Canadian eTA was approved, I’ve been feeling quite a bit of positivism. I’ve decided that I’m definitely going to apply for a US Visa again, probably late August 2017. I don’t think anyone really understands how badly I still want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail :).

I’ve bought a few gadgets over the last few years that I can bring, and recently I bought a Garmin Fenix 5x which I’ve written a bit about in earlier posts. So far, my experiences have been very good. There are some bugs with the Garmin Fenix 5x 2.40 firmware and a firmware update should hopefully fix them. I notice that when I pause a “walk” and click “resume later” and then resume the “walk” later on, there’s often errors with the latter part of the activity. I am hoping this is just a software issue and not a hardware problem with my Garmin Fenix 5x. A certain amount of bugs are to be expected with new products (especially from this company) but so far, I’ve been quite impressed with it.

I’ve thought “how useful are maps on such a small device” and thought about the practicality of it when the honeymoon phase is over, but they are honestly quite useful. It’s better than having to forage in a backpack for your phone, and the screen is big enough to see most of the important stuff around you. I will probably buy a Garmin Tempe to strap to my backpack, in the near future.

Apparently Samsung are going to be releasing a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone today. I might wait until the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as I’d really like a phone with a pen, but it still sounds like a powerhouse phone. It’ll be the only phone currently on the market with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, water resistance, USB 3.1 (useful for backing up data) and Samsung’s iris scanning technology is really quite impressive.

Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles and Garmin Fenix 5x Update

My Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles have arrived, and these things are extremely lightweight and comfortable. I am 6ft3 and was a bit concerned about finding trekking poles of adequate height for myself and of adequate height for a ZPacks Altaplex tent.

I’ve provided a link above to eBay from the seller I bought them from. They do have some scratches and mud underneath (so clearly a customer has used them outside for a moment) but the handles aren’t worn. I am inclined to believe these are demo models that’ve been opened a few times. Normally I’m fussy about this kind of thing but hiking poles get a lot of use so I’m not too concerned.

I have been told that my Garmin Fenix 5x is going to be dispatched either this week or next. I will write a Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralike Trekking Poles review page and a Garmin Fenix 5x review page at some point. I’m not 100% sure when, but it will happen. If you have any questions you’d like to ask about either of these, leave a comment below.

Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles Ordered

I have just ordered a pair of Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking poles from eBay. The speciality with these is that they can used to prop up a ZPacks Altaplex tent, without the need for a carbon fibre extension tube.

I highly suggest checking them out if you live in Europe. At the moment, although I live in the UK they’re cheaper than buying them from the UK as they’re so discounted. They are display models but that shouldn’t be a concern. The manufacturer will still honour the three year warranty.

I’ll post some photos and write a review when I receive mine. I’ve spoken to the company that manufactures them and they’re very friendly and highly helpful. There are several versions of these poles available, these are the newest with the metal bottom section and a metal clasp. The rest is mostly carbon fibre which is nice.

If you’re interested in ultra light hiking but you want to take a pair of hiking poles, I do believe the Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking poles tick all the right boxes :).

In the UK, Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles retail for about £190 right now. These are roughly £130 including postage.

Garmin Fenix 5x free maps, OpenStreetMap and GPX files

I’ve been doing a bit of googling regarding the Garmin Fenix 5x and the maps it’s capable of displaying. I’ve discovered that the freely available OpenStreetMap’s are generally better (if the internet is to be believed; they wouldn’t lie to me) than the paid for Garmin maps and these will work fine with the Garmin Fenix 5x.

After further digging around, I’ve discovered a way to upload a GPX file and overlay it on an OpenStreetMap. Not only that, but I can upload multiple files and display multiple tracks on the one map:

At the moment, this process is slow because I have to type in the names and directories of each file. I’m sure I could code something to help automate this process, nonetheless it’s pretty cool. GPX files can get quite large and displaying 100 tracks on one map might use a lot of data, but organising the maps shouldn’t be a problem. For example, I could create a page “London” and only upload hikes in London.

The Great Trail Canada vs The Pacific Crest Trail America

The Great Trail is Canada’s longest trail and while the Pacific Crest Trail isn’t America’s longest trail, it is definitely one of the most epic. In my opinion, it is the perfect long distance hike combining everything someone could want.

As mentioned in a previous post, I aim to hike in Canada for a while and hopefully one day I will be able to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I may try again for a US Visa to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 and use my Canadian Visa as a backup. Hiking in Canada will let me achieve a few things I want to achieve with the added benefit of being able to prove myself to the US Embassy at a later date. If you know anything about US Visas, I would appreciate any help I can get… My heart’s always been set on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail but I cannot delay travelling much more.

The Great Trail in Canada is ginormous at 13,359.5 miles long (that’s not a typing error) and obviously I won’t be hiking the whole thing but I do want to spend several months in the country.

The Pacific Crest Trail in America is also lengthy at 2650+ miles long but there are a LOT of websites and blogs online about it; there’s plenty of user experiences and there’s plenty of places to find information not only about the hike itself but the equipment required for the hike.

Unfortunately, there is not as much information about the Great Trail in Canada and I don’t know much about Canada in general. I’ve always had a keen interest in America, ever since I was about 14 years old. Consequently I’m at a disadvantage.

Ideally I’d like to hike in the sunnier parts of Canada but for photography purposes, I’d like it to be in a scenic area too. The Te Araroa in New Zealand is also a long hike at 1,864 miles long but but I hear it doesn’t pass through the most scenic parts of New Zealand and that’s why I’m not as interested in it.

The Pacific Crest Trail in America has a bit of everything, but perhaps the Great Trail does too. It could be even better than the Pacific Crest Trail, I simply don’t know enough about it yet. If by chance any Canadians are reading this and they could recommend a starting point, I would be really grateful. If mountain lions or wolves are located in that area, all the better! I want to be truly terrified at least once.

I will continue to Google and see what information I can find :).