Appalachian Trail – Final Preparations!

The time has finally arrived!

Over the past several weeks we have left our jobs, increased our resupply boxes, hiked and backpacked, made gear adjustments and enjoyed beautiful moments with loved ones.

We are as ready as we will ever be!

We left our jobs.

Paul had been planning to retire from his computer-based employment for the past several years. The pandemic made it more difficult for him to leave since working from home was extremely convenient. Time once spent commuting was replaced with neighborhood walks and practicing yoga. As mentioned in a previous post, we have worked hard eliminating debt and pairing down our expenses. This has been largely in part to live a simpler life where we can spend most of our time doing the things we love rather than earning money.

Paul isn’t sure what his next employment will be but there is no time-crunch. We both know he will find exactly what he needs in his next chapter.

The pandemic encouraged me to build my own virtual and in-person yoga, qigong and tai chi classes. I have spent the past several years learning, enjoying trainings and growing in my own practice while developing positive relationships with students. This has spoken to my passion and purpose and was difficult to put on hold. However, the next six-months will expand my perception and encourage integration of all I have learned. When I return to teaching I have no doubt the quality of what I have to offer will be improved.

Original 7 resupply boxes has increased to 22. 

After more consideration and review of resupply options we decided to compile a total of 22 food resupply boxes. This was an interesting learning experience and are excited to see how it translates to the reality of the trail.

We’ve compiled approximately half of our trail food in the form of dehydrated veggies, beans, fruits and grains (including Paul’s whole wheat sourdough tortillas that freeze and defrost well). These are mixed with whole food powders, nutritional yeast and various seasonings. Also available are nut butters, olive oils and beloved snacks. If anything these boxes are a gift to our future selves.

Shakedown hikes, backpacking adventures.

Winter found us embarking on one or two weekly day hikes (9-11miles). There were also regular neighborhood walks and little hikes through Frick Park. We had been anxiously awaiting our opportunity to go for at least one short backpacking trip before our.

Last year we hiked the Allegheny Front Trail and the Black Forest Trail as big adventures on their own. Returning to them in March as shakedown hikes increased our confidence. We experienced rain, sleet, high winds, snow, a frozen tent, quickly ripped Frogg Togg pants, and nighttime temps in the low 20s.

The Black Forest Trail has the most similar elevation profile to the AT of the hikes we have experienced close to home. We understand the AT will feel different, but we had no problem with our stamina on the ups or our joints on the downs. We take care of ourselves through regular stretching, hydration and eating. Part of the Budde System is that we also encourage one another to meet goals and to rest. Take a little journey on the Black Forest Trail with me:)

Gear adjustments.

Mostly we had gear confirmations. We are both 100% on team umbrella now. Our pack attachments for the umbrella allowed us to move through tunnels of rhododendron and worked as a great windbreak during cold breaks.

After ripping my Frogg Togg Rain pants immediately when traversing through some brush I decided to purchase a slightly more durable model. Some people don’t ascribe to rain gear at all, but through windy, rainy and cold conditions I felt it kept my spirits up to have a bit of protection. I also slept with my rain pants over my clothes on a 20 degree night. How often will that happen? I’m not sure. This summer I might send them ahead NH.

I am 100% Altra Lone Peak 6. They dried super fast and are extremely comfortable.

Beautiful moments with loved ones.

We are very supported by my students, our friends, my daughter, my mom and Paul’s family! I want to thank each one of you for every kind word, hug, well wishes, blessings and general love.

Over the past month we have enjoyed evenings over delicious dinners and lively conversations. I have met friends for coffee, walks and conversation.

We feel absolutely loved and we will carry that love and each of you along with us on this journey.

It is my plan to post every couple of weeks while on the Appalachian Trail.

We will see how this plays out and I assure you I will do my best as I enjoy communicating and wish to share our experience with you.

You can also follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel for Qigong on the Trail and possibly short AT updates, but nothing vlog-worthy.

I’ll leave you with a poem we compiled while staying warm in our tent on the Allegheny Front Trail a few weeks ago.

It’s too early for ticks!

There is snow in the mountains,

and it is very cold at night.

Now is not the time to get a tick bite


The sun was shining,

it made us warm.

We did see some gnats

hanging out in a swarm.

The Rhododendron

had not yet bloomed.

There were no leaves on the trees.

It’s much too soon.

The trail was free

of spiderwebs.

Water cold with

its flows and ebbs.

Settling into camp

as the sun slowly sets.

Daylight savings time meant

it wasn’t dark  yet.

What is this on my pant?

Well it isn’t an ant!

Not one tick but two!

Into the tent.

You check me and I’ll check you.


It can be difficult to want to rest with low temperatures, but rest induces renewed vigor.
Nighttime temps in the low 20s along with wind and snow.
Missy will be missed.
Paul’s whole wheat sourdough bread will be missed.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?