Its finally going to happen

So Ready

I started planning over a year ago to hike the Appalachian Trail. Initially I was going to leave Springer Mountain on April 10, 2016 and do 4 months worth of hiking. Then family illnesses changed all this.

I postponed til June and do 2 months. Then another postponement to august. So now all is good and I am doing 30 days as a shakedown hike starting September 10, 2016. Hopefully this 30 days hike will show that my body can do a long haul and that my equipment is right for the job.

All my time off work has been allotted and approved so I don’t have to worry about that.


Last year I went to REI in Jacksonville and spent several hours with a very knowledgeable person who showed me a lot about equipment. Very thankful to this person. Since then most of my equipment has been ordered online from REI. They have such good sales and give rebates and sometimes just a cash offer to use toward things.

The last piece I needed was a camera which I just purchased from Best Buy. Do you know this camera has Wi-Fi  and GPS? So cool . Take pics and it will be logged by GPS to make it easier to put in order. Also something else I was amazed by is the memory stick. It will hold around 5,000 pics. This may be all mundane to most of you but I am amazed. I guess I just don’t get out very often…lol

The Hike

Anyway back to my 30 day hike. If I started at Springer I would end up mid ways in the Smokies which I didn’t want to do so I am driving up to Erwin, Tn. and going north from there. September 10 I spend the night at Uncle Johnnies Hostel in Erwin. Have talked to Uncle Johnnie who seems very nice and accomidating. I can leave my car there and hopefully get to Atkins, Va. then get a rental car back to Erwin.

My training has consisted to trips to Planet Fitness and working out mainly to strengthen my legs and knees. Also at Wakhulla Springs state park here in Tallahassee there is a 9 mile trail thru the woods. This is the closest thing in Tallahassee to what I think part of the trail might be like. So I have been doing this trail with and without my pack.

Next Year

If all goes well with this hike I am planning leaving Springer mid March 2017 and doing a thru hike to Maine. Several potential 2017 thru hikers have contacted me thru a site called Travel Buddies about leaving at the same time. that would be nice to already know somebody sort of. I will be leaving my job, don’t have to work anyway, and just see what life has to offer after the thru hike. I know I will be a changed person after all this. I have watched a lot of videos on line and if some of these yahoos can do it I know I can.

Any words of encouragement out there?

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.

Comments 2

  • Avatar
    Mr Mepps : Aug 23rd

    Hi Phil,
    I’m leaving from Springer in mid-late March 2017 so hopefully we will cross paths next year.
    Your picked a great section to hike this fall…..I did a 5 day shakedown hike in May heading north out of Erwin and it was an amazing section……the Roan Highlands are incredible!
    Good luck!
    Mr Mepps

  • Avatar
    Ashley : Sep 11th

    Safe travels! I look forward to following your journey.

    P.S. Stay away from bears. 😉



What Do You Think?