Manchester to Princeton (coming home and final thoughts)

I’m still on my early morning routine! Woke up at 4:30 am to do the Day 14 blog and then got the rest of the crew up at 6 so we could catch the train to the airport.


While our train was delayed, we were able to catch another one that got us there with plenty of time to spare. Flight home went smoothly and got us in an hour early- we all just watched movies and had good vegan breakfasts during our flight.


Our uber dropped us off at our house at 12:20 PM. We took a final picture and bid adieu to C2C4C 2019!


And now for some final thoughts!

This trek presented completely new challenges for us just when we thought we had the C2C4C game plan running smoothly. We obviously hadn’t planned for Olivia being so drained and then getting a stomach virus. I’m sure this was an even bigger disappointment for Olivia than it was for us. But we all had to deal with going with the flow and learn (or relearn) a life lesson: planning is important for anything one does, but it is even more important to be able to adapt to the changes that are bound to happen. I’m proud of how our family handled the situation.

We also didn’t plan for the amount of rain we encountered the first week, but we were prepared for it as far as our clothing was concerned. And it reinforced another life lesson: No matter how dark and gloomy things look (metaphorically or actually), the sun will return and will be appreciated even more after its abs ends. Those dark days really reinforce appreciation and gratitude.

The trip also reinforced how important it is (at least for Lara and me) to spend time in nature. We often take an hour here or there when possible. However, every once in a while it is important for us to take an extended period of time (at least a week or two) to get away from daily routines and stresses.

If our adventure gives you inspiration to do your own trip alone, with friends, or with your family, we hope you will follow that urge. And especially if you have children age 10+, we think this is a great opportunity for family bonding and teaching some important life lessons. Lara and I agree as far as ranking our three treks: 1) England’s Wainswright Trail 2) Wales’ Offa’s Dyke Path (only slightly behind) 3) Scotland’s John Muir Way (there are other hikes we would recommend over this one in Scotland.)

And if you are going to do a multi-day hike here are a few suggestions:

  1. Good hiking sneakers and socks are essential. Happy feet = happy hiker. We all had different shoes because what fit well for one of us didn’t work for the other. That being said, we all chose Gore-Tex sneakers instead of hiking boots. While our feet still got wet on really bad days, all of our shoes worked well and were a lot lighter than hiking boots.

  2. If you can afford a Garmin watch, get one! We found that it helped keep us on course a lot more than just using a map. However, don’t just rely on electronic GPS. As I learned, sometimes it can be faulty. It took me until the end of the trip to figure out that the reason my watch sometimes didn’t work was that I was starting it while off the course (at our lodging, instead of when we met back up with the ODP.) Knowing how to read maps is an important survival skill and also a great way to involve kids.

  3. While most people transport baggage from one location to the next, we prefer carrying our gear and clothing. It’s yet another great lesson to learn about packing lightly in general. The more space you have, the more you will fill that space. We see people taking a ridiculous amount of clothing because they use Sherpa services. While we pack relatively lightly, we will pack even lighter for our next trip. I think I could drop a good 10-15 pounds by using a lighter pack and taking less of everything. Since we spend our evenings at inns/ B&B’s we don’t even have to carry shelter, sleeping bags, or cooking gear. Here is what I plan to take next trek (including what I wear on travel days):

  • A couple of ziploc bags

  • Large Garbage bag to use to check backpack (this time I wasted space and weight lugging around a light foldable duffle

  • Compass and maps

  • Garmin watch

  • Sunglasses

  • Sun hat/cap

  • Light hiking pack with rain cover.

  • Foldable Keyboard (If blogging)

  • Phone (with good camera so don’t need to take both. Lara’s IPhone 10x worked great!)

  • Kindle (Lara read hers but I didn’t actually use mine. I’d only bring next time if i weren’t blogging. Otherwise no time for both)

  • Water pouch - with a 3 liter pouch, I didn’t need bottles and I drank more through the tube than I would have with the bottles.

  • Ukulele and music. This was my luxury item, but it brought me joy and I would likely bring it again. Hoping next time I will know the music well enough that I won’t need to carry the weight of the music though.

  • Toiletries: Weight can add up here. Sharing a toiletry bag with partner helps. Can then share toothpaste and deodorant. Also need toothbrush and comb.

Clothing (including day of travel)

3 pair underwear

3 pair hiking socks

1 pair hiking sneakers

1 rain jacket

1 rain pants

1 pair gators (crucial for wet weather and fields!)

2 hiking T-shirt’s

1 hiking underlayer shirt (optional depending on predicted temp.)

1 long sleeve shirt

1 light hiking vest

1 pullover

1 cotton t-shirt

2 pair hiking pants (ideally one is convertible zippered pant/short)

1 pair shorts

1 pair sandals for after hiking

You can save a lot of weight choosing lightweight material for clothing - cotton is heavy!

And now for the only real downside of going on an amazing hike — coming home! It can be jarring to the system. We’ve only been home for a few hours and I’m feeling quite down. Some of that can be attributed to the difference in time zones (it is currently way past my bed times in Wales though only 6:30 pm here!) But it is also all of the pressures and stresses of everyday life that come crashing down, making me realize how simple things were for the past two weeks.

Easiest way to get through the lows is to start dreaming of the next adventure, which I’ll do in the coming weeks. Lara addresses dealing with returning home in her latest podcast, “Tranistioning back to reality”, found here:

In the meantime, thanks for joining us on this journey! Here are our final tallies for the trip:

Total Distance: 185.40 miles

Total Time: 67 hours 25 minutes

Average Speed: 2.75 mph;

Total Ascent: 28,697 feet

Total Descent: 28,788 feet

(Mt. Everest is 29K feet, so we basically hiked up and down the equivalent of one Mt. Everest!)