Uphill Both Ways- Preparation for the Appalachian Trail
Preparation for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) takes serious planning and organization. Both of those concepts I have yet to grasp. I am typically a very “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of gal so this has been taking a lot of getting used to.
The Packing Process
Packing for what is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest adventure I have taken on so far in life is nothing less than stressful. My husband is more on the ultralight side, whereas I am definitely considered an over packer. With every (more frivolous) piece of gear I mention adding, he reminds me of the ounces. I retort: “It’s a morale booster! Happy wife, happy life.” He’s usually semi-amused with this response but without fail vows not to carry my extra weight.
Getting in Shape
I am lucky to live right by multiple places to hike on the AT. My main goal is usually a hike with a steep incline but sometimes it’s also helpful to get a good number of miles in. Hiking in all weather really helps to test outerwear and your shoes as well. Those nasty rainy days when you want to be at home watching Netflix are the perfect time to be working on your trail legs. On days when I don’t have enough time to snag a hike I will walk on the treadmill (on the steepest incline) and the stair machine at the gym. I have yet to be the person who wears their pack in the gym, though.
I’ve heard some people don’t train at all prior to their departure. Those people attempt to find their trail legs while on the trail. If I attempted this I would feel like I was LITERALLY dying so I am a firm believer in at least some light training. If you’ve spent any time on the trail then you know those inclines are no joke.
Lucky for my husband and me, we or our family have almost all of the gear that we will need. We were also recently married and put quite a few backpacking items on our registry so that helped us out a bunch. We still have a few things to buy as far as outerwear and some electronics. Slowly but surely everything is coming together! Trying out different ways to spice up backpacker meals for lunch has been one of my favorite parts of this experience. Although I am not sure how many ramen bombs I will actually be able to attempt to digest while actually on the trail.
Make sure to have fun when you’re testing out your gear! A former thru-hiker told me those are some of her most cherished memories from her trip. For example, we set our tent up on top of our bed on a rainy day to drink wine and watch Netflix. Yes, this method is not actually testing the integrity of our new tent but it will definitely be a memory I will not forget. We are still two months and five days away from our start date but the trail is creeping up on us fast.
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