Hi There, Sports Fans!

Welcome to Blog #1, in which I will be letting you get to know me and learn about my attempt at a successful thru attempt this year.

About Me

Welcome to this blog!  I am Peter, and I am a happily married 62-year-old Father of four.  I will be attempting a NOBO thru-hike of the AT starting this March.  Originally from Connecticut, I have lived mainly in the Baltimore area since 1978.  I am retiring from the corporate world to pursue the idyllic dream of getting blisters and butt chafe in freezing rain and windless heat and humidity, all in the pursuit of getting from Point A to Point B on trails muddy or rocky or rooty, or any combination thereof.  I look forward to the Glory to be earned battling mice and skeeters, hoping not to step actually ON a rattler/copperhead.  I hope to bear witness to views that are fogged in, and for every ascent to a clouded-in view, to subsequently enjoy an equal but exponentially more difficult descent.

My father took each of us out to camp overnight when we were four, and I clearly remember being soooo jealous when my older brother went with Dad (which ended early, turns out it was not a good idea for my brother to draw his finger along the inside of the canvas tent in a huge thunderstorm – the tent washed out, and they were home before breakfast).  A year later, it was my turn, and we camped at a little swimming club in Granby, CT (a pond with a sand beach).  I stayed up as long as I could, just listening to the sound of the night. In the morning, we made a little fire and made some breakfast, and Dad showed me how to do some of this camping stuff – it was really neat!  Years later I got to take my daughters out for weekends or week-long vacations, in the woods and camping at the beach, and this time I was the one who (usually) knew what to do and was able to teach them a little about being outside.

One daughter got the hiking bug and did a solo Sobo LASH from Katahdin to the NY state line while in college.  I drove her to Baxter and tagged along to the summit for her start!  Despite training for this, the descent absolutely wrecked my legs, but she headed happily southbound.  The training I did for this kind of got me back into the woods, first day hikes near home and then nights/weekends, usually on the AT in the VA-WV-MD-PA area.  Since then, she and my son-in-law have done several thru’s.  And I got the bug, too!


About This Attempt

Part I:  Who Y’all Hiking With

The full thru will be with a college friend.  Dave is an experienced backpacker, and we have done a number of multi-day hikes.  Dave has done more multi-day hikes than I have in the last couple of years, but we’ve both completed all sections between the Roller Coaster in Northern Virginia, thru West Virginia and Maryland and up to Boiling Springs, PA.

Joining us for the first two weeks is Mark, aka Wayster (unless a better name comes along), also a strong outdoorsman with the unusual ability to sleep well under a tent when necessary, as demonstrated in college.  So, three of us starting – but from where?


Part II:  Where Y’all Going?

I described the structure of this hike in my bio as “…a kinda frankenflop NOBO AT thru-hike….”  Other than the obviously cool use of “franken,” what we are doing is this:

  1. Starting in Harpers Ferry, we (Strags, Wayster and me) head north, beginning sometime in March. Colder weather gear.  Mark has backpacked some with us in this area, and Strags and I are very familiar with this entire are.
  2. Around Day 14, get to Duncannon and celebrate with a burger at the Doyle. Someone (TBD) will pick us up, Mark heads home, and Strags goes off to see Rick Wakeman play a concert (big Yes fan), and I head back to my place for the night.
  3. Next day, Strags and I will take the Amtrak overnight from Bawlmer to Gainesville, GA.
  4. Shuttle to Fire Road trail head, head south 1-Mile, tag the terminus and begin walking back to Harpers Ferry.

When we get back to Harpers Ferry, we are planning to take a week off for R&R at home, then return to trail where we left off in Duncannon, point our feet northward, and get going.  Our feet should be healthy when we return, and ready to get chewed up on the rocks to come!


Part III:  What-Fer Are Y’all Doing This?

I can speak only for myself on this.  I loved camping with my Dad, at summer camp, as a camp Counselor, with my kids and with friends.  But there’s a huge difference between weekends car camping, or multi-day hikes where weather and gear and food are pretty much cherry picked, and this longer, continuous journey intrigues me.  Instead of weekends, I feel ready to dive into a more consequential hike, with higher stakes and also higher rewards.  On a weekend, getting wet is not really a big deal, you’re within 5-10 miles of safety.  Likely we will run the gamut of weather, and the testing of ourselves fascinates me.  Blah, blah, blah, the question is: Why are you doing this?  The answer, for me, is: It is a substantial personal challenge, and I’m looking forward to the journey, the daily movement towards this goal.  Bring on the cold and the wet (hopefully not beyond my gear’s capabilities), bring on the ice and trail rivers, bring on the mud.  Time to go play in nature!


Part IV:  Think Y’all’ll Make It?

Thank you all for your forbearance.  I never imagined I would be using a silly word like “Y’all’ll”.  Heh!  I need to get the hell outside!

A March starts mean colder weather, and while I have dealt with these conditions on short weekend outings, we have not done so for weeks on end.  Without doubt, it will be different.  As we head north, we will swap out for warm weather gear, and swap back around Hanover.  We have a broad plan and have done research to assist in shuttles, resupplies, etc.  Our gear is tested and works, I will have another post going over my gear.  While definitely not Ultralight, nor is that a goal, I should start with a base weight in the 14–17-pound range.   I have used my gear in multiple weather situations, understand the limitations, and am open to a switch if anything critical is not working as needed.

I also know how lucky I am to be able to take this challenge on, and when a day is bad (and that will happen), I can reach back for some reasons to keep going, knowing a good day is coming soon.  Wet stuff gets dry, even if you need to pivot on the fly.  It’s better than working, right?

Bottom Line:  The full thru is my intention, but who the heck knows?  Let’s go find out!

Next post, I will go over some gear I will be taking, a pretty standard overview of what I am starting with (subject to change), and also a few items I will likely swap for when the weather on trail warms up.

Thank you for joining along on the journey!

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