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Appalachian Trail 2010
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“I'm hitting the trail March 9th starting in Georgia, and I'm planning a thru-hike. Come follow my adventure as I transition from big city dwelling to life on the trail: http://appalachiantrail2010.blogspot.com/”
“I have had a lifelong desire to live like Native Americans once did- entirely off the land
there is not enough time in the day to do that AND do a thru-hike.
are you thinking you are going to hunt, gather, fish, and trap all your food, build a shelter every night, build a campfire, do all your camp chores AND hike 15 miles over challenging terrain each day (and then blog about it)?
not going to happen
now, if you were saying that more metaphorically, that you want to get a taste of the simple life stripped of all the modern distractions, then i say go for it
we have some former thru hikers on here: myself, nimblefoot, mildbill, ginny, smokygirl, if you want to ask questions. we have 2 hitting the trail this year: hyway and nimblefoot.
good luck to the class of 2010
last edited: 2/09/10 4:54:28 AM”
“are you thinking you are going to hunt, gather, fish, and trap all your food, build a shelter every night,
Are you kidding? I cringe when I go fishing because I can't bear to kill the fish.
Metaphorically was definitely the intent of that statement! The simple life has always intrigued me.”
“I hope I cross paths with hyway and nimblefoot while on the trail!”
“the simple life is the best life
the best advice i can give you is, if you havent already been backpacking, go out and do some weekenders, so youre not jumping in blind. you need to know what youre getting yourself into before you get all geared up for a 5-6 month excursion
secondly, dont get overwhelmed by the enormity of it. take it one leg at a time. go to the store, get X days worth of food, plan to get Y miles in X days, decide where your next re-supply will be, and dont think beyond that
for example, i might get 5 days worth of food, and see in my guidebook that there is another town with a grocery 60 miles up the trail. my new goal is just to get to that town, and so i plan on doing about 12 miles a day, and dont give much thought beyond it. if you break your hike up into several relatively shorter hikes, it is much more manageable. i tell you this stuff because i think the psychological part is the hardest”
“The simple life isn't as simple as it looks. Its damn hard work to live that simple. Its working from dusk till dawn. Its women doing women's work and men doing men's work. Its hoeing, sewing, shelling peas, etc until your fingers ache. Its doing without when you can't make it yourself. Its dying of starvation because a few rain filled seasons were followed by a hard winter. Its half your village/town dying from fever because there is no medicine for the swine flu.
people have the tendency to only see the picturesque side of the simple life and not the harsh realities.”
“simple doesnt necessarily mean easy”
“secondly, dont get overwhelmed by the enormity of it. take it one leg at a time. go to the store, get X days worth of food, plan to get Y miles in X days, decide where your next re-supply will be, and dont think beyond that
CB, that is basically my philosophy for my hike. I have arranged a ride to Springer and a ride back from Kathadan. In between I just plan to hike from grocery store to grocery store. :) (Previously my philosophy was 'I have arranged ... Katahdan. In between is just walking and grocery shopping.')”
“I would expect living the simple life would be anything but easy.
I am one of the people who does see past the "picturesque" side of living a simpler life. The harsh realities are what draw me to it. It is humbling, and very grounding. I think there are a lot of Americans who would benefit from being tossed into a situation where they would be forced to live a "simple life."”
“I agree with that statement.
The sad thing is the American people may have finally come to the point where the people who think its wise to vote themselves a living from the public coffers has outnumbered those who don't think its wise.”
“In between I just plan to hike from grocery store to grocery store
“if you break your hike up into several relatively shorter hikes, it is much more manageable. i tell you this stuff because i think the psychological part is the hardest
CB, thanks for the advice! I also think the psychological part will be the hardest. That's the biggest worry I have. I keep trying to picture it like this: it is only five months of the 800 or 900 that I'll have to live (if I'm lucky enough to live that long). Keeping in mind that this is only a temporary experience or situation will keep me going.”
“"simple doesn't necessarily mean easy"
We have a freakin' genius here.
The sad thing is the American people may have finally come to the point where the people who think its wise to vote themselves a living from the public coffers has outnumbered those who don't think its wise.
Please keep you political inanity out of serious backpacking threads.”
“I noticed in the first few sentences of your blog that you are carrying a 40lb pack. There will be heavier packs out there, but I'd bet most will be lighter. A key toward successful pack weight is truly separating your wants from your needs. Perhaps, before your hike, you can get together with one of the Chicago area people who post here and they can help you cut down on the weight. Most people who start with heavy packs often send a lot home when they get to Neels' Gap. Good luck and see you out there.
Oh, If you're carrying beer, forget what I said.”
“i think i started with somewhere around a 48 pound pack. but the pack itself was kinda heavy. she'll figure it out”
“She will if we operate under the theory that if you can anyone can;)”
“exactly. also, as the weather improves, extra clothes can be sent home, and she can trade her heavy winter bag for a lighter bag”
“I don't yet know how much my pack and gear weighs all together. I have really tried to cut down to only necessities, and I have stripped down on weight by investing in very lightweight gear. Really I was just figuring it's better to overestimate and be pleased to find your pack is lighter, than to underestimate and be shocked when you find it's heavier than expected.”
“I think Nimblefoot hiked in a Speedo to save weight.”
“A swimsuit...I might take that idea;) I want to cut down as much as possible on everything else to ensure that there will be plenty of room for my food!”
“Mountain woman, I'll carry your food if you let me hike with you while you hike wearing a speedo.
Nimble, that was funny, you might actually make it past teh first few nice sized crevasses on the trail if you keep that up.”
“I haven't weighed my pack yet. I will try to keep it light, but whatever the weight is, that is what I will have to carry. I can't afford to buy anything else and still have enough money to finish the entire trail.”
“Mountain Woman, Hyway, Nimblefoot: Glad that fellow TTers will be out on the Trail with the Class of 2010 (aka "The Tenners"). There's a Facebook group called ATTenners that you might want to join. I'll be marching forth from Springer on March 4th. My trail journal is at www.trailjournals.com/croft. Look forward to seeing all of you out there!”
“I like the Tenners name, but for the record, I can't carry a tune in a bucket much less carry it at a high pitch.”
“We TTTenners will be thinking of youn's circa March 20th when you are hunkered down in the inevitable Freak Blizzard(s) you're likely to endure (been one of those winters, don'cha know). We'll have a hot cider in your honor :)”
“I was just looking at your itinerary. http://sites.google.com/site/athike2010/home/on-the-trail/itinerary The first week looks a lot like what I am planning to do. I section hiked Georgia in 2005 so I want to stay at some of the other shelters this time. I plan to stay at hawk on the 9th, Gooch next, then either camp at slaughter creek or hike on up to Blood (depending on how I feel). I stayed at Blood last time, but it was snowing, hailing, raining, lightning and foggy so I didn't see any views. I also stayed at mountain crossings last time, but I think I may pass on through after a break for a shower, resupply and lunch, but I won't be staying at Whitley Gap Shelter. Not with it 1/2 miles off the trail on a steep downhill (then a steep uphill in the morning). I'll probably just tent somewhere.
I definitely want to stay at Blue mountain shelter even though it looks cold and windy. If the weather is nice, watching the sunrise from inside my sleeping bag inside the shelter should be awesome.
Then next will be Deep Gap or if I have the energy hike the next 3.5 miles and hitch into Hiawasee for a night in a bed, hot meal and hot shower. (if I remember correctly the hike to deep gap and back to teh trail is close to a mile).
Then the next day depending when I leave town hike to plum orchard or muskrat Creek shelter. After that, I really haven't given much though. Will just plan my next day the night before or maybe from town to town.”
“dang edit feature, Whitley is 1 and two-tenths miles off the AT, and though means thought”
“Hyway - throw away the schedule. It will drive you crazy once you're on the trail. Just get up in the morning and start walking. Weather, mood, terrain, and your body will all determine how far you get each day. Trying to stick to a schedule will have you doing very short days or difficult long ones.
Consider - one day you wake up early. Other hikers are starting to fix breakfast and the day looks sunny. You're on the trail at 6:30. You had planned to go 12 miles, but you reach your destination at 1:00. Do you stop or keep going?
Another day you wake up and it's pouring rain. You roll over and go back to sleep a while. Wake up later and it's still pouring. Reluctantly you get up and fix breakfast, but you really are in no hurry to get out there. The trail is wet and muddy and you are slipping and sliding all over the place. You reach a shelter 8 miles up the trail and decide, that's all for today.
Another day it is raining hard and all your friends decide to go into town - do you stay behind or go with them?
You reach a shelter and there are already 9 people jammed inside. You decide to get some water and walk on to an overlook a few miles up the trail. So much for the schedule.
One of the prime requisites for a successful thruhike is the ability -- and willingness -- to be flexible. So forget about the schedule - and just go out and start walking. It will all work out.”
“I can touch my elbos behind my back. How's that for flexibility?”
“Ginny, I don't really have a schedule for my hike. I only commented on those first few days because they will be miles I already did back in 2005 and are things I was thinking about back then. Also, I want to be very frugal my first week monetarily because I am on a pretty tight hiking budget and I'm afraid to fall in with the fun party crowd :) and end up running out of money by Harpers Ferry. I figure if I avoid hostels/motels until Hiawassee that will set me on the right path concerning expectations for comfort. BTW, my Georgia section hike had blistering sun, freezing temps, fog, snow, rain, lightning, hail, etc, everything but locusts and red tide. On that trip I had a deadline so we pretty much hiked as much as we could. I am looking forward to not being in a rush.
Like I said above, basically my philosophy for my hike is this. I have arranged a ride to Springer and a ride back from Kathadan. In between I just plan to hike from grocery store to grocery store. :) No plans, no rush, no deadlines. I don't even have maildrops because if I feel like skipping a town or if I show up saturday afternoon, I won't have to worry about picking up a package.”
“I'm buying an ultralight thesarus (only small words) so I'll have lots of ways to call Hyway a mother #&%!$er.”
“just be nice, that's your mother you're talking about”
“Wouldn't surprise me a bit.
On either end.”
“Why are you so mean to me?”
“Consider staying at The Hike Inn in Haiwasee. 828-479-3677. Hot showers, a bed, and a simple breakfast. Nothing fancy. They will pick you up at the trail head. I think it was $20 per night per person. They were very nice and even offered us their van to ride around town. Supplies are within walking distance. Laundry facilities are on the premises and they allow you to borrow some sweat clothes to wear while you are washing your things so you don't have to stand around nekkid. (This means you Hyway!)
All-u-can eat buffet is not far away. Don't bother with the Chinese place around the corner.
wish I were going.....”
“Nimble, when are you starting?”
“who's packing the video camera?”
“Yeah, we want to see Nimblefoot hiking in his Speedo.”
“Why am I so mean to you? Because I'm likely to hike with you for quite some time and I want to get in practice. Secretly I've been emailing your wife (haven't we all?) to find out your weak points.
MW, I'm likely starting the same day as Hyway, which his highness hasn't determined yet. Possibly because he's still researching which direction to walk when stepping off Springer.
GMN, I'm not comfortable with the words Hyway and video camera being used in the same thread.”
“6th..there, thats settled.”
““who's packing the video camera?”
Kate is packing the camera, it weighs about 3-4 lbs in all, and I will probably be taking on some of her food weight to help her out. My genes gave me freakishly strong muscles so I don't mind bearing a little extra weight for my buddy.”
Stills will be plenty bad....
(Nice anti-grav, there, Baron.)
“MW, Ginny's point to hyway about snuffing any schedule is something to follow. Obviously some sort of itinerary is needed for what kind of cash and supplies you'll be needing/using. But don't do like I did, I had every single night scheduled out, and a pretty aggressive one at that. By week 6 I was hitting Pearisburg, and started camping with some guys that had no schedule whatsoever. My "real" thruhike didn't start til then, I had a great time from then on.
Truly tho, if you love backpacking and are in fairly decent phys condition, at AT thruhike is easy. You just have to overcome AT "barriers". The first barrier is just getting over the hump where you can confortably hike all day w/o dying from pain, hehe. No matter how fit you are, unless you're Ginny and am thruhiking all the time anyway, you are gonna go thru a break-in period.
Another barrier is the 6 day rain, or even 7. OMG, you have to know how to rotate your socks and keep your feet from pruning. Man a 6/7 day rain is definitely a thruhike killer. Just keep in the back of your mind that it WILL pass, and you will have fun again, pretty soooon!
Another barrier is the party group. Stay outa that group. I saw more ppl dropping early on because their hike became the next party town. Eventually, why not just hitch around and wait til the group catches up.
Oh yeah, early on carry plenty of Ibuprofen, and don't be afraid to use it. Day 5 and 6 my knees started KILLING me! I got over the hump, but had to do a couple of peaks backwards. Oh man, I thawt I was done too. But they just healed up on their own, and I was moving on.
The only trick to a successful thruhike is overcoming a few barriers.”
“You may need "Vitamin I" the entire journey. At least, I do. First there's the break in period. Everything hurts the first few days. Sleeping is hard, so you take some advil to relax the stiff muscles. Then when your body is habituated, you increase the mileage - and the pain starts over again, just in different places. Shin splints, tendonitis, stress fractures begin to appear around Hot Springs. Get past that, and into the relatively easy country in Virginia and the miles go up again. I'm okay up to about 18 mpd. After that my feet hurt -- a lot. More than 22 miles and I can't sleep for the pain. More miles means more climbing and descending, which means additional knee stress. By the time we got to New England, my husband's knees were the size of cantaloups. So we go through a lot of Advil.”
“When backpacking I start real slow and gradually increase a little each day. I build myself up very slowly. This system works fine for me. Younger people without my handicaps can build themselves into good condition a lot faster.
It sounds to me like some of you folks are trying to get into good condition too fast and/or pushing yourselves too fast and exceeding your capabilities. If you have experienced these problems, I would suggest that you slow down a little. "Know yourself."”
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