How much money I’m saving, preparation and gear, and NIGHTMARES! Oh my.

Hello all! I’m Sammi, I’m setting off on a 2190+ mile long trip, The Appalachian Trail! Starting at Harpers Ferry and doing a flip flop. And I’m very ready for it, so I think? Who can be ready for something like this until you actually get out there and walk everyday? So my plan is just to go with the flow. I’m pretty good with just flying by the seat of my pants lol. That’s how I did the Foothills Trail in September. Everything went hmm pretty well, I finished in the 6 days I wanted to, so that was good!

How much money I’m Saving

Ill be getting town food, staying at hostels if I need to let stuff dry out. Sometimes hotels, not sure. I have been saving more then half of my paychecks bi weekly at my Vet assistant job! I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband, who is supportive of this and is holding down the fort for me when I’m gone. So the ATC (Appalachian trail conservancy) recommends 1000 a month. Well with inflation and prices going up in food, hostels and hotels, that might be a little outdated in my opinion. I will have 1200-1400 a month and that is what I’m saving for 6 months. I’m a fast hiker and I want to be done within 5 months, but I just wont know until I’m out there.

Preparation and Gear

AHHH, prepping for a long thru hike… I did the foothills trail in September. I figured this trail will let me see if I really want to walk the Appalachian Trail. And I do! Prep consists of a lot of day hikes, about 2 times a week. Backpacking in the smokies about once a month.  Yoga has helped me mentally. I also entered myself in a trail race a couple weeks ago, and I came in 4th! Trail running has been really fun actually. All my gear, I am happy with! There is still some little things I need to purchase but nothing too big. Still debating on how I’m going to hang my food. Think I’m going to go with an ursack bag. If anyone has any information about the ursack, please commit. Base layers are still up for debate also. Trying to find a merino wool, that wont break the bank. I’m not an Ultra lighter, but my stuff is pretty light! Not sure the base weight yet, stay tuned.


So is anyone else having stress dreams about hiking the Appalachian trail?? I am! So the other night, I had a horrible dream. It was night time and I was by myself road walking through a park. There were people playing basketball, and one of the guys tried to stop me. I chatted for a while, and said I had to get going, and walked on. Then out of the corner of my eye I see a shadow figure following me. It was the basketball player… with num-chuks, yes he was swinging num-chuks at me. “Where you going girl? come with me and I wont hurt you,” he said. At that point I just started screaming, luckily there where other hikers coming along, and helped me. Then I woke up! I have been having crazy dreams like this about once a week. Cant wait to share the others!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to walk this trail. Hiking has helped me heal a lot of trauma that I have been thru. I just cant wait to see where this all takes me! Stay tuned! There is lots to come!

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Comments 8

  • Judy Huffstetler : Nov 15th

    You have got this Sammi! Proud of you girl!

    • Samantha Zabawa : Nov 16th

      Thank you Judy!

  • Auz : Nov 18th

    Love my ursack use it for multi-day trips with my girlfriend when we get chances to go hike.

    • Samantha Zabawa : Nov 19th

      Think I might just bite the bullet, and get one! Thank you.

  • Rob : Nov 28th

    Happy Trails!

    I love the flip flop route you’re taking on.

    I go back and forth on the hilltops bear bag and the bear canister I use.

    REI has some decent merino wool base layers. We are in PA and hike a lot of the AT here.

    Maybe we will run into you! I’m going to try some trail angel participation in the Swatara State Park next year.

  • Samantha Zabawa : Nov 28th

    I’ve heard good things about hilltops gear. Maybe we will run into each other! Thank you for your trail magic! Happy Trails.

  • Steven Brindle : Nov 29th

    I hiked the AT via Flip Flop out of Harpers Ferry in 2021. I met many others doing the same. It’s a good choice.
    I used an Ursack with an Opsack inside. I didn’t have any bear problems. Whether it’s a bear hang or Ursack, you need to build some skill of use. Bear canisters are almost foolproof. But I’m sure there’s some people that screw that up too.

  • Joanne Gigliotti : Dec 31st

    Hi Sammie! I’m flip flopping headed NOBO from Fox Creek in March. I hope I run into you! I love my Ursack lined with opsack. I’ve only section hiked with it, but no critter issues.

    Yes on the stress dreams…and I think it was because I was scrolling through a very heated bear bag discussion on the FB group right before I fell asleep. I dreamt I was wondering from town to town with my pack on- like I was in a scene from the walking dead. Bears were traveling in packs with squirrels that looked they were on steroids trying to get in houses! lol The funny thing is, I only have a healthy fear of bears – I don’t over obsess or worry about them.
    Happy Hiking!!


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