2015 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Introduction – Marcus

Hello Everyone,

I am stoked that Zach Davis is allowing me to post about my pre-AT preparations.  If you haven’t yet read his book, it is a definite worthwhile read for those going on the trail.

Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking The Appalachian Trail

My name is Marcus and I don’t have a trail name so will just go with Marcus for now.  For those who don’t know, a trail name is your moniker or nickname that you use on the AT to help remove yourself from the “real” world while on the trail.

I am originally from Washington State but grew up in different States and in Germany.  My parents are both from Germany and so I had a quasi-immigrant experience growing up although it was always in a suburban setting.  My Dad was always very involved with work and my stay-at-home mother did her own thing so I my siblings and I grew up to be very independent.  I did join Civil Air Patrol in high school which was my first real exposure to being outdoors.  I remember going to a one week survival camp where we slept in wooden shelter on top of hay in sleeping bags, baked bread using a campfire and using natures bathroom.

My only other hiking experience was when I went hiking solo for three days in the Olympic mountains in western Washington.  I got lucky as I made some rookie mistakes that could have been costly.  I didn’t let anyone really know my plans and didn’t register at the trailhead.  I used sterno to boil water and quickly ran out of sterno so had to get water from a fast moving stream but still caught something that really messed me up.

Fast forward several years and I am listening to Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” with the family.  I really enjoyed the book but wanted to learn more about the Appalachian Trail (AT).  So I read several books from the library and started to go online and read some very interesting blogs about people that were making the journey.  It just so happens that I will be leaving my work in a few months and it is the perfect opportunity to take on this experience.  At first my wife was, “good luck,” see you in six months but then started to investigate more and more and decided to join me.  Whenever we speak with couples, it generally is the guy who is all excited and wants to go but the woman is less enthusiastic.  Although thru-hikers are predominantly male, it does seem like there are also several women that are taking on the challenge.

So right now the plan is to do a NOBO northbound hike starting at Mount Springer, GA between mid-March and April 1st, 2015.  I am reading several gear lists and created a spreadsheet to track all the equipment by item, weight (oz) and cost.  My goal is to get decent equipment but make a costs/value/weight tradeoff when appropriate.  I plan to do a lot of online cost comparison shopping.

My next post will cover some of the gear selections we made so far.

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