Preparing for Trek America – 5 Months To Go!
So it’s been a few months since my last post, and I am now just a few months away from hitting the good olde USA! Yes, in just 5 months I’ll be hitting the open road with Trek America.
In the months since my last post I have been preparing for Trek, with the aim of getting the most of the trip. Preparations have included weekly runs and jogs, with the aim of participating in a 5km event in February in order to improve my overall fitness for the amazing hikes we have the opportunity to take part in, such as the Blue Ride Mountains in Shenandoah National Park.Another place I will be lucky enough to visit is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where I will spend two days! Known as the home of the ‘Blue Ridge Mountains’ and slightly scarily – the home of the American Black Bear. Best be fit then, so I can make a swift escape! Would you really play dead with a bear? In all seriousness I’m sure it’ll be safe with Trek America’s experienced tour leaders, who will have access to equipment such as bear boxes to store our food in to keep us all safe and sound!
I can now run 5km, which I’m pleased about, even if its with a couple of stops for walking. I’ve been tracking my progress with Runkeeper, and since I started in September, I’ve now ran/ jogged 52 miles, which I feel is an achievement!
One of my other preparations has been purchasing my first DSLR – A Nikon D3200. I love photography and don’t think a mobile phone camera could really do all those amazing places justice! I’ve been getting to grips with the camera and learning the ins and outs of aperture and depth of field, film speed and ISO. I feel confident that I can get out of auto and take some fantastic photos. I will be aiming to keep a blog during the trip, and will be adding my pictures here of course!
I’ve been following the brilliant Fro Knows Photo on YouTube and purchased his excellent beginners guide to DSLR photography – well worth it if your serious about getting out of auto! and yes, I shoot RAW! I’m already very comfortable with image editing and Photoshop (I work in Photoshop on a daily basis), so that’s why I’ve went down that route, but if your not comfortable with image editing then shooting JPEG Fine may be the best way to go! I’ll post some of my practice shots on the blog soon.
I’ve paid up my Trek in full now, and have recently received word that all Trek’s departures from April 1st will be using the Crowne Plaza Newark Airport, instead of the Hilton. This is fair enough, the hotel seems to be of a similar standard and has a free shuttle service. My next step is to get my spending money ready. I’ve calculated that I’ll need around $1230 dollars, or £747 spending money to do all optionals (White Water Rafting, Cedar Point, Chicago Baseball Game to name a few) and to cover the food kitty and tour leader tip. I’ll probably aim for £1000 to be on the safe side.
I’m also looking into the New York City Pass which gives access to 6 of the best NYC attractions including the Empire State Building and Circle Line Cruises. I aim to see as much of New York as possible on my free days before and after Trek as the tour doesn’t stop in the city.
One good thing I’ve found with Trek is that thanks to Trek America Live a group of 6 of us going on the trip so far have been communicating since before Christmas in a Facebook Group thanks to finding each other on the forum. This has really helped getting to know everyone and eases the nerves of traveling solo!