Some people wonder why someone would want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Everybody has their reason’s why they do it or any great feat. Sometimes it’s personal and sometimes its to see if they can. Sometimes it might be facing demons they didn’t think they could face and when they do it’s doesn’t seem as bad as they made it out to be in their heads. Well here are some of my reason’s why I’m hiking the trail.
- I’ve never done anything like this before.
- Inspiration comes in many forms.
- I want to motivate people to do more out of life and get more value in their lives.
- Hiking is my therapy and I feel a connection with nature.
- It was the last adventure I was planning before my mom passed. In a way I’m doing it for her.
- I feel a connection with nature.
- I haven’t really lived my life the way I have been wanting to.
- I’ve never seen this country on foot.
- I have more freedom than I did before. I plan to keep it that way.
- Cause why not?
When hiking you need a great backpack. You can get lots of great information online but getting your hands on it and feeling the material is always a plus for me not to mention pictures can be tricky at times. Believe me I know. I do a lot of photography. Once you get something that fits you right here are a few tips you’ll need to know on your backpack plus a few other tips.
- The hip belt carries about 70-80% of the pack weight (wish this was on my backpack when I was going to school). Have this tighter than any belt on your backpack. If not then you’ll have more weight pulling down on your shoulders and back thus resulting in a painful hike. You might quit before you get a good start.
- The hip belt should be about three fingers below the belly button.
- If you notice on your backpack you have a check strap. It has a whistle on it. Three blows from this and it will indicate to nearby hikers that you need help.
- When you stop for the night be sure to do some leg stretching. This will help you prevent from getting leg cramps while you sleep.
- People have a few ways of cooking food along the trail. I’m going to be taking the pocket rocket and with that you’ll need some fuel. A medium gas canister (230g) will last you about 2-3 weeks. Depending on your usage.
- Some people will use denatured alcohol and a tuna can instead to cook their food. You can use alcohol rubbing strips as well. Here is more information on that here. Remember to know what your doing before you do it. You don’t want to burn yourself, others or the woods.
- When your hiking with your water reservoir, use a three liter bag but fill it only with two liters. This way it will evenly flatten out the water in the bag so you won’t have a huge bulge in your backpack.
- It the last list I mentioned hanging your food in a tree from bears. This video will show you how. This method can also be used on the AT as well as other hiking trails as long as there are trees around.
I hope both these lists help you in your future hiking adventure.
As I’ve been reading I’ve been learning lots of different tips before I hit the trails that will defiantly help out. I also am writing this down because I know later on I’ll come back because I can’t find my notes. I try to disconnect myself from technology when possible so I do things the old school way and write things down on paper vs the computer.
- When getting shoes/boots get a half to full size bigger than you normally get. This will help your toes from hitting the front of your shoes/boots when hiking (especially down hill)
- Trekking poles will help with your balance and stability. I have asked lots of hikers (past and present) on if they used trekking poles and they all said it helped them greatly from falling and/or eased the pressure on their knees.
- Before you cross a river make sure you unbuckle your waste strap and chest strap. If you happen to fall in the water you can easily take your pack off without going with your pack. Some water currents can get pretty brutal so watch out.
- Never get shoes that are stiff from the toe to heel. The trail isn’t fast and it will result in more foot injuries and issues which can slow your progress.
- Hang your food bag each night in a tree away from where you sleep incase bears come in your camp site. Keeping your food in a bag helps with looking for it and keeps it all together. Also remember to take your rope about twenty five feet should be enough.
- Using Permethrin helps repelling ticks and other critters up to forty two days and is for gear only. Use products with deet only on yourself to get the mosquito’s and other flies away from you.
- When washing your sleeping bag, down sleeping bags need to be washed in a front loader only. Top loaders with the center agitator can tear the baffles that hold the compartments that hold the feathers.
- Nikwax is used when washing to retain the oils in the feathers in any clothing/sleeping bag.
- When it comes to drying your down sleeping bag, use two tennis balls on delicate heat. The tennis balls prevent the feathers from clumping which can cause a loss in loft. I’m not sure if this is the same for down clothing. Please send comments if this is the same.
- If you feel the need to rest then rest. It’s not a race so enjoy your time with nature. It has much to teach you.
- Don’t multi task while hiking. You can easily stub your toe on a rock or walk off the ledge if your fiddling with your phone or trying to get something out of one of your side pockets in your backpack.
- It will rain on you, a lot so prepare for the rain. It’s best to keep things in separate bags. Food bag, Sleeping bag bag (last thing you want to do is sleep in a wet sleeping bag), tent bag, ect..
As I continue to read I’ll make and post more tips to help future hikers.
For the sponsors that responded I greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps plus I get to try different things that I never heard of before. Which will aid me in future backpacking adventures. I do plan to have many, many more.
So this week I started emailing fifteen outdoor companies each day to see about getting a sponsorship. I have looked at some of the emails I got back and most of them are either, “Sorry were out of the office until __ date. We will get back with you after the holiday’s” or “Sorry we are not looking for any sponsors at this moment” or something along those lines. Which doesn’t really bother me since I know this is just a numbers game. Out of the 105 companies I am going to email I am hoping to get at least two sponsors out of this. So please keep sending me your “No’s” cause I know that “Yes” is just around the corner. I also went down to the American Heart Association to see if they could sponsor me as well in memory of my parents who both passed away from heart failure. I will start looking at all the emails later this weekend and sort them all out. If this is what I want to do this is what I have to do. For most successful people the large majority of people don’t see this line of work. All the stuff that needs to be done before the bigger things start unfolding.
It has finally started to get cold in my area. FINALLY! I can test out some of the other gear I have before I immerse myself in the wilderness. See how well it holds up to some of the conditions I get into outside. I have also been reading the book, “The Thru Hikers Secret” and so far its been interesting read. I’ll give a review when I get finished.
Two weeks ago I went to a annual Christmas family reunion party. I always enjoy going to these the older I get. It’s funny how I know all, if not most, of the older people yet, the younger crowd I’m completely clueless as to who is who. While I was there I was talking with one of my older cousins about my upcoming journey. He told me he has hiked the trail in several spots over the past thirty years but hasn’t gone the whole thing from beginning to end. He seemed awfully surprised when I told him my sleeping bag is rated to 40°F. I’m figuring that when I start hiking in mid Feb that with my layers and the sleeping bag I should be fine plus, I’ll have the tent too which would help block some of the wind. *mental note- I should email them about this to see if I am correct*. He told me he has a book he wants me to read that is about the trail. A few days later I get the book in the mail. I haven’t had time to read it yet but I’m looking forward to getting some of it read next week. Seems like it would be a fast read since the font is bigger than most the fonts in books I read.
The following week my siblings and I had an estate sale. Naturally, I didn’t want to be anywhere near that. Its bad enough my mom pasted last Oct. but now we are at the point that we can’t keep the house, let alone fix it up. Almost forty years in this house that I have always called home. So I went up to Charlotte to hang out with a friend and have some much needed therapy by doing some hiking in the mountains. The mountains ended up getting about 6-8″ of snow. It was nice seeing that white stuff again. I do miss seeing snow since I moved back to SC. The Blue Ridge Parkway was closed and some other spots she had in mind to hike were closed as well. Alas we found a spot and hiked about a half mile before we were on the top. Up there was when I started getting really nervous. Having to watch every little step I took. Snow and ice is unforgiving and if I slipped then I’m sure I would be done for cause there was nothing really to grab on to. When we were on the way back to her place she mentioned she had a book for me to have. That book is called “Walking with Spring” by Earl Shaffer, the first person to complete the trail in it’s entirety. I got some reading to do. I hope to get some really great tips from both books.
Sorry for not posting in a while. I have been going through a lot of personal stuff lately and it has been causing a lot of stress mentally as well as emotionally. I do plan to keep up with this and I hope things will look better in two weeks. As for now I won’t post until then. Just wanted to give people the heads up. I haven’t forgotten. Just dealing with a lot of family related stuff I never have had to deal with.
So, I have a few people who have asked me if I have started a gofundme page cause they said they would like to donate. I think it is a bit silly but if that is their way of showing me support the by all means. Please donate
I have been doing a lot of research on the best materials to bring along the trail. Which is very important seeing how materials are easier to breath vs other hold in sweat. I hope to get that post up this weekend.