15 Things I Learned on a 4 Day Shakedown

Summit on Cowrock Mountain

Summit on Cowrock Mountain

Over 4 days, I went 45 miles. I was pushed to my limits, my body hurt, but my spirits were still high! My gear held up AMAZINGLY. I had all types of weather to endure- snow, rain, sunshine. Here is a list of just a few things I learned:

  1. I’m faster going uphill than down. After miles and miles of downhill, my knees really ache.
  2. The Sawyer Mini flow rate SUCKS.
  3. I need a camp seat. Sitting on the wet, muddy ground is no fun.
  4. Muddy trails are more slippery than they appear. (I fell on my butt twice).

    Embracing the suck of cold, wet feet

    Embracing the suck of cold, wet feet

  5. You can indeed get sunburnt even if it’s 30 degrees out.
  6. Listening to music helps me get into a good hiking speed.
  7. After about 5 miles in the morning, I get in the zone and don’t want to stop at all. Just gotta get over the hump in the mornings.
  8. Eat snacks while hiking. It’s like a little reward to keep walking.
  9. Don’t stop for a break while walking uphill- you’ll notice everything that hurts.
  10. Take breaks at a pretty view because many others will stop too, and you’ll meet amazing people!
  11. I dislike shelters solely because of mice. Ew ew ew.
  12. Apparently having a 50+ pound pack is not that uncommon. (I met at least 4 people with 50+).

    My 18 lbs (with food + water) pack next to 65 lbs!!!

    My 18 lbs (with food + water) pack next to 65 lbs!!!

  13. I’m glad I’m thru hiking SOBO because the NOBO “bubble” hasn’t even come through and there’s already SOOOOO many people on the trail.
  14. Hiking while it’s snowing is probably the worst thing ever. You literally lose sight of White Blazes (mainly the ones on rocks).

    Snowy, muddy, wet trail on Blood Mountain

    Snowy, muddy, wet trail on Blood Mountain

  15. Post trail depression is a REAL thing. I have it after only being on trail for 4 days. I cannot wait to start my thru hike in June!!

Good luck to everyone I met on my section hike! You all are incredible, and I’m cheering you on! See you somewhere up north!!

These 2 made it 40+ miles in 2 days. They're already CRUSHING miles

These 2 made it 40+ miles in 2 days. They’re already CRUSHING miles

My friend David is headed north to Harper's Ferry!

My friend David is headed north to Harper’s Ferry!

I met fellow App Trials bloggers, Sheena and Tracy!!

I met fellow App Trials bloggers, Sheena and Tracy!!

As always, let’s chat!

Facebook: Ashley Schellhase

Instagram: @ashschellhase

E-mail: [email protected]


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Comments 11

  • Clark Van Orden : Mar 11th

    I too am considering a camp stool. I’ll be interested to see yout choice.

  • Greg Ward : Mar 11th

    Thank you! Probably the best post I’ve read to date. Hope I get to meet you somewhere on the trail.

  • Michael Goldman : Mar 11th

    I just bought a knee sleeve yesterday because my practice hikes last year ended up almost debilitating at times. You might want to look into one. They’re only about $10 for ones that are for athletics and not for medical rehabilitation.

    • Kait2333 : Mar 16th

      Becareful worth knee sleeves. Mine started chafing badly after about 7 miles. I switched it out for a cho pat brace and have yet to try that one out.

  • Jonathan : Mar 12th

    My wife and I are hiking southbound in June also too as well!!

  • Christopher Klemetson : Mar 15th

    I’m Chris Aka HiddenWolf .I’ll be NOBO Apr 1. I have sle lupus and sjogrens syndrome. We will eventually pass each other. I’m really pumped with just 2 more weeks to start! Happy Hiking!

  • Danite : Mar 16th

    Try walking backwards downhill some of the time. It’s so much easier on the knees.

  • Dave : Mar 16th

    I took a small square of a blue closed foam sleeping pad, about as big as my butt, and I carry it around in my pack, and it’s like perfect to sit on logs or picnic table benches and it weighs almost nothing. I keep it in the very tippy top of my pack so I can get it out easily anytime I want to sit down.

    Two years ago I used the regular Sawyer filter and last year I switched to the mini to save weight. But I was so disgusted with the flow rate…that I Think next year I’m going to switch back.

  • Hiker Smith : Mar 16th

    This was an awesome story. After a year long illness and kidney transplant, I am eager to get outside. I leave from Harper’s Ferry towards PA this month.

    I can’t wait for the weather, the dirt, the joy of nature.


  • Wander : Mar 16th

    As you begin a downhill descent, loosen the shoulder straps on your pack so that the pack is pulling back on your shoulders a bit. This will put the majority of the weight behind your midline so that the weight is carried more by your glutes than being cushioned by your knees. When the weight crosses your midline, that’s when knees start to hurt.

  • Patrick : Mar 20th

    As to the sawyer mini, you might try a length of tubing and hang the dirty bag to create a gravity filter set up. It’s much faster and you don’t have to sit there squeezing and noticing every second that goes by.


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