This is a series of unfortunate events which fortunately didn't lead to an unfortunate ending. A story of how I hiked the Pinnacles despite despite being under-prepared.
Chapter 1 - who hikes in jeans, anyway? The answer is me. I don't have a sponsorship with Levi's, nor a love of denim. But, they are a comfortable and versatile legging choice for most situations in life. People frequently disagree with me, but I'm fine with that. You do you. However, it turns out I was very wrong. Jeans are not appropriate. Not while hiking in New Zealand. My legs were less like legs and more like angry sharks swimming in the aquarium that is the inside of my jeans. I was forced to stripped off my sweat soaked denim in the middle of the trail and put on my sleeping leggings. They were much more comfortable, although they were a little bit more revealing than I would have liked.. This turned out to not be an issue since we had this entire trail to ourselves.
Chapter 2 - are you sure that's a trail? I have hiked and run many trails in the UK. Most are very nicely marked and well trodden. Other trails seem to have genuinely never seen a human before and are as wild as nature indended them to be. This New Zealand trail (the Paton Stream Dam walk) was on the wild side. To be fair, it's really well marked. You always know which way to go and you are always confident you're not lost. But that's about all the praise it gets. We had to climb over logs, under logs through bushes and up cliff faces. This trail was not for novice hikers. It was particularly brutal since I was carrying a 15kg backpack. If you've never carried a backpack the size of yourself on your back, just know that it really takes away a lot of your balance and control. There were some hairy moments.
Chapter 3 - should I bother bringing enough food? The answer to this question should always be yes. Of course you bring enough food, plus extra. However, I am apparently a moron. If I was going to defend myself I would say that I had all the meals covered. But when I actually thought about how much food, energy and water I had for how long I was walking, I realised it was woefully insufficient. I should have known better, this is not the first time, not even one of the first ten times, that I have been required to plan food for a long physical effort. I seriously considered abandoning the hike on safety reasons. To add to my mistakes, I didn't bring any hydration tablets or any form of electrolytes. Not even anything salty. I was and am honestly embarrassed with my stupidity.
Chapter 4 - should I tire myself out before we start? the difficulty of the hike must have gone over my head when I was planning it. 2000m ascent over 30km with a 15kg backpack is pretty crazy. Sure, there's a lot more crazy than that in the world, but it is definitely making an appearance on the crazy scale. But instead of tapering my running down in the week before the hike I just went full out and kept running as normal. I wasn't tired at the start of the hike, but I also wasn't well rested at all. I climbed less than 2000m during my entire 100km ultra marathon in June and now I had to do it weighted, in just 30km. I really am a fool.