“Girl, Have You Lost Your Mind?!” And Other Questions
“Girl, have you lost your mind?!” is the exact response I’ve been met with not once, but twice, when relaying the news about my upcoming AT thru-hike. Some days, honestly, I don’t even know what to say. “No!” “Maybe?” “I don’t know yet.”
What’s with the Third Degree?
Many people have many questions about what I’m doing and how, exactly, I’ll be doing it for six months while I’m out on the trail. So, for fun, and to ease some worries, here are answers to some of the most frequent questions I’ve been hearing for the past month since I broke the news.
Where are you starting/ending and how long will it take you? I’m hiking northbound (NOBO) so I’ll be starting in Georgia in early spring and ending, about six months later, in Maine in the fall.
How will you carry all your stuff? Well, my backpack is pretty big so… in there, on my back.
Where will you sleep? Mostly in my tent, maybe in some shelters, sometimes in a hostel or hotel and, hopefully, for a week or two at the beginning of June, in my own bed.
How will you carry all your food? First of all, let’s clear this up: I will not be carrying six months worth of food with me. I will be carrying three to five days worth at a time and then, when I get to town, will be stopping to resupply or pick up my package of dehydrated goodness at the post office.
Are you going alone? Yes, I’ll be hiking solo. But I feel very confident that I’ll meet loads of lovely people and, rarely, actually be alone.
What about bears? What about them! I plan on leaving them alone and, I think, they’ll grant me the same courtesy. If one doesn’t, though, I’ll just stand up really tall and make a lot of noise. Maybe wield my trekking poles against it.
What if you get lost? I will use my map/compass skills to get myself found. Or, if that fails, I will use the SOS button on my satellite communicator and ideally some nice people will come find me.
Aren’t you scared of being murdered? Well, I mean, aren’t we all? Are there a lot of murderers who trek miles into the wilderness to find their victims when they can just take an Uber into town? (Obviously, I don’t know a whole lot about orchestrating a murder.) In all seriousness, though, I’ve been in some situations, in public places, when I’ve felt scared for my safety. But that has never happened to me while I’ve been hiking. So, no, I’m not.
Hygiene – Everyone’s Biggest Worry
Just to be clear: everyone but me.
How will you take a shower? The same way I always do. Just much less frequently!
Girl-specific question: what about your period? Well, what about it? As much as I wish, it doesn’t just stop because I’m doing something fun. I carry a Diva Cup—easy to clean, reusable, and no waste to pack out (no thanks on carrying that trash bag around for any length of time).
Where will you go to the bathroom? Preferably in a toilet or a privy but mostly in a cat hole. <– that’s a little hole I’ll dig. No big deal.
How will you carry your wardrobe? Uhh, I won’t. I’ve got a set of clothes for hiking and a set of clothes for sleeping. Plus some rain gear and a few other accessories. That’s it. No rolling suitcases required.
A lot of people have questions. And I’m looking for any reason to talk about my trip so ask away. Full disclosure: I might not have answers to some questions until I get out there. But even so, I can always make something up.
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