We’re in New Mexico

Just got off the Greyhound bus, our man Sam is taking us to the Crazy Cook monument on the Mexican boarder, we’ll be starting the walk tomorrow morning!

Cookie’s weigh in

Cookie before walking the Continental Divide Trail

This is photo Day 0, from here on in it’s just going to get more and more hairy, much dirtier and probably less chubby cheeked too.

Cookie's weight at the start

It’s tradition to do a pre-walk weigh in – This is my weight today, on the scales it says 185 pounds. In English that’s 13.2 stone, or 84 kg. It’s going to be interesting to see how much we loose during the walk… I’d be quite happy to get down to 12 stone ;)

Weight of Cookie's rucksack

Also it’s good to know how much is in your pack – This is the weight of my rucksack starting out, on the scales in says 35 pounds. In English that’s 2.5 stone, or 15.9 kg. we’ve got about 6 days worth of food packed in and our water full, so this is a fairy accurate ‘average’ weight of what we’ll be carrying right across America. Bit heavier than I was hoping though…

Paul’s weigh in

Paul at the start

Firstly I’d like to say Hi to all you followers of Cookies blog as I will be Cookies partner in crime and you will be seeing and hearing a lot from me over the next 6 months. For those of you that do know me this picture is a bit freaky as its the first time in over 2 years that I’ve shaved off my beard. It will also be the last time I shave until I return to the UK and I’m looking forward to seeing how Grizzly Adam’s I can get without my girlfriend Claire complaining ;-)

Paul's weight at the start

My starting weight of 168lbs or 12 stone is the heaviest I have ever been and is the result of 6 weeks of stuffing my face with anything I can get my hands on and cutting back on all exercise. From experience this extra weight I have gained will not last very long and I am hoping that I finish the walk loosing only 1 stone.

Weight of Paul's rucksack

Our rucksacks have 6 days of food in them and our water is full. At 34lbs or 15.4kgs it is heavier than we had both hoped as our base pack weight has been dramatically reduced after investing in new ultra lightweight gear. I’m sure as we go we will ditch anything that does not get used and some of the small luxuries we are carrying will get binned to save weight.

Last night in comfy California

Cookie & Paul on the bubbly

So we got a bit pissed to celebrate! We head to New Mexico today, not sure if we’ll be able post any pictures from the start, by the looks of the network coverage maps we might only get reception twice in the whole state! So if you don’t hear from us after today, don’t panic, we’ll be slowly heading northwards.

New Watch

Suunto Watch

My mississ Nicky has gone back to England now :( As a keep sake and also because I knew I’d wreck it, I gave her my beautiful old Breitling Navitimer to hold on too (my most treasured possession).

It’s quite handy to know the time though, so today I got this Suunto Core watch. Not only does it tell the time, but also what altitude you are, predicts weather trends and has a storm alarm (will be handy in the heart of the Rockies) and a bloody compass! Surprised it’s taken me so long to get such a Swiss Army knife of the watch world, looking forward to putting it through the paces of the Continental Divide Trail.

I kind of wanted the obscenely chunky orange and black version, but they didn’t have it at the shop…

Margarita #3

Cookie drinking a Margarita!

This is probably the best margarita I’ve had to date (other than the ones I make myself of course). But it may well of been a factor in my poor card playing that evening…

In case of emergency gamble?

The fantastic folk at Poke gave me $400 cash to use in ’emergency’, as a leaving gift. Their only pre-request was that there was an amusing story to go with the spending of it. Since I’m at a casino, I have the terrible urge to drop it all in a single bet to see if I can double it…

I’ll see how lucky/hammered I feel tonight as to whether I go through with it or not. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!

Update: Our luck was terrible last night – the chips slowly dwindled down to our original $100 stake which is when we decided to call it quits and go home even… Didn’t dare do a big bet based on my current form. Nevermind, still plenty of time to get a good story out of that $400 yet!

Wonderland of Rocks

This is me entering the Wonderland of Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park. We were following a series of boulder choked canyons on a traverse though this stunning natural feature. Started off easy, climbing under and over them in the canyon floor.

We saw our first snake (in no mood to stop and take picture) in this aptly named rattlesnake canyon, almost trod on the damn thing!

But things started getting interesting when we had to climb out of one canyon system to the next, very hard scrambling and a maze of rock boulders. Needless to say after about 8 hard hours and numerous side trips up gullies and ridges to try and find the way, we were hopelessly lost… Most people consider this a bad thing, but in my experience getting lost usually turns out to be the highlight of a trip! This was no exception, on our travels we’d found a cave/shelter which we spent the night in to recover and return the same way we came the following morning.

The Castle

Turns out this was one of 3 ‘castles’ in the park and judging by the entries in the log book, usually frequented by folk getting stoned and taking acid! This raised our spirits, and so did the can of lager and sleeping mat we found :)

Lifesaver Beer

There was even some slimey green pools we could filter for drinking water nearby, which was surprisingly chilled for a desert! We only had a couple of beach towels to keep warm, but we got a good fire going and spent one of the most magical evenings I’ve had there. Sorry haven’t got any pictures, phone ran out of battery, Nicky will post some pics from her camera when she gets back.

At the crack of dawn the follow morning we made our way back out safe and sound.