To Answer Your Questions…
This post is more for my friends and family as opposed to the hiker world. Every time I call my mom, she has a question about how I do this or how I do that. I answered a lot of these questions for the curious ones before my departure, but now that I’m actually thru-hiking, I can show pictures!
First off, everything I need to survive fits into a 62 liter pack. Seems small, right? But the whole point of this hike is getting back to the basics of surviving. I call my pack my home at the moment. It carries my food, water, shelter, clothes, bed, and a few unnecessary items. At first, it usually weighed between 25 and 30lbs…. then hiker hunger kicked in… sheesh..
Where do I sleep every night? Drew (Hooter) and I share a tent. We get to split the weight, so we only carry a pound and a half of shelter a piece. We have our own sides and doors so we don’t have to crawl over eachother. It is waterproof, comfortable, and quite roomy.
Cooking? I get a lot of hell for being in town often. We average every 3 to 4 days. This isn’t cheating, this is necessary for sanity purposes. So, yes…. I get to eat pizza, tacos, and burgers at least twice a week. Now, while we are surviving in the woods, I can whip up some of the best meals ever! Mashed potatoes with summer sausage and cheese, pastas with bacon and cheese, and even Ramen can become fancy when I cook it. I have a MSR pocket rocket that does the cooking for me. For lunch I eat sandwiches and for breakfast I eat English muffins with cream cheese. In between meals, I constantly snack on granola bars, trail mix, doritos, beef jerky, and various candy bars. Right now, it’s all about calories, fat, protein, fiber, carbs, and sodium. I eat like a 15 year old boy going through a growth spurt. Of course, I take a multi-vitamin.
Do I sleep on the hard ground? Nope! I sleep on Neo Air inflatable pad that is super comfy. I use a Marmot 20° sleeping bag that makes me sweat because it’s so warm. So no, mom… I won’t freeze to death.
What about water? I don’t buy a case of bottled water from gas stations. I rely on streams and springs. I have a Sawyer filter that takes care of any yuckie that may have gotten into a stream. I filter water about 3 to 4 times a day. Better safe than sorry!
What if it rains? This is just something I deal with. It doesn’t keep me from hiking, it just makes me hike faster. Everything in my pack is in a dry sack. I wear a tarp poncho that covers my body and my pack. It does a damn good job!
Do I see any wildlife? No bears! I probably just hike right past them. I have seen plenty of snakes and bunnies!
Are we ever alone? No, we haven’t camped alone yet… and sometimes we wake up to about 20 tents surrounding us!
I hope this post answers a few questions for everyone. I am having a blast. I am beyond thrilled to know that with the exception of going to town every now and then, I am able to survive with everything that will fit on my back. I can also build a mean fire these days!
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