Monday, April 8, 2013

A public declaration





For now, this is the closest I can come to shouting from a mountain. In that case, I'll use this platform to publicly and irrevocably proclaim that I will be hiking the entire Appalachian Trail this summer. I'm so excited. I had originally post-dated this entry so no one would think I was making an April Fools joke. For those of you reading who don't know what it's all about, I'll try and fill you in! 

About the trail

The Appalachian Trail winds its way from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, or the other way around depending on your perspective. The last reference I read said the trail is 2182 miles long. The number changes every year as sections get re-routed, though it never seems to shorten. It takes a typical thru-hiker 4 to 5 months to complete the trail. The timing of my departure dictates that I head south; if I were to start walking Northbound, chances are I wouldn't reach Baxter State Park, Mount Katahdin's home, in time. The mountain will close for the winter no later than October 15. Since I'm waiting to leave until mid-June, after a friend's wedding, I'll start at Katahdin and walk towards home. Fewer thru-hikers go this way, so company will be more sparse, but shelters and other amenities will be in lower demand.

In general, I'll be walking with anywhere from 2 to 10 days worth of supplies in my pack. Most of my hiking gear will stay with me the whole way, so the big variable going into my pack weight will be FOOD. Rule of thumb: 2 pounds per day. The actual weight of food is different for every hiker and my number will change once I start hiking and developing my hiker appetite. But I'm going in to too much detail already. Typically, I'll be able to resupply every 2-5 days unless I'm going through a more desolate stretch. The A.T. isn't quite as insular as one might think.

Just last week, I did a small backpacking trip in nearby Henry Coe State Park for practice. I brought along almost all of what I'll be carrying on the A.T., and it went very well. I feel prepared psychologically, physically, and mentally.

Well that's all I should write for now, since anytime I start talking about the trail it turns to word vomit. I'm still getting this blog set up, but feel free to click around.