Jesus Had Dreads
And 14.4 other things learned on a 14.4 mile shakedown.
14.4 Miles hiked
25 Hours on the trail
31.5 lbs pack weight (including food)
512 feet in altitude change
1.8 mph average hiking speed
4.49 hours slept in shelter
3 completely terrifying trail register entries
14,644 near death lightning strikes.
616 hailstones to the face
10 weeks between now and my 2016 SOBO start date.
So I took a hike. Solo. On my longest backpacking trip I’ve ever done. 7.2 miles from Route 20 in Lee, MA to the October Mountain shelter. And then back in the morning. It stormed. It hailed. It was cold. I didn’t break any bones. I didn’t stop walking (for long). I didn’t get abducted by Satanists. I learned stuff though.
1. Breathe out of your nose while drinking water
Call me stupid but this didn’t come naturally. Stopping to drink out of a camelback doesn’t make sense, does it? Nah. It doesn’t. Easy solution: Use the other breathing hole.
2. I walk slowly
When you’re walking for 2 hours and realized you’ve only gone a couple miles this one really sets in (See “fu·ry”). 1.8mph does not correlate with 20 mile days.
3. You know that bag that comes with your Sawyer water filter? Yeah, it sucks
I must have spent half of my entire hiking experience trying to fill that stupid bag. Here’s the trick: blow it up before you use it. Or buy a SmartWater bottle. #innovation
4. Hiking poles really are bae
I’m not explaining this. Click here. Or just believe me. Whatever.
5. Organization is key
I’m a mess. I drop things. I lose shit. I’ve gone through 14 Nalgene bottles in a week. I need to keep everything in a super specific stuff sack stash, or I’ll cut my pack weight in half before I get out of the 100-mile wilderness. Hey there’s an idea..
6. For the Photographers on the trail
Find a lens you like, and bring it. Don’t bring an extra one for those telephoto shots, don’t bring a fisheye, don’t bring a bag of silly filters. Find a lens you like, and stick with it, because changing lenses on the trail is super distressing (and bad for the lenses). Here’s what I use.
7. I suck at washing dishes
How the hell do you clean powdered cheese off a pot in the backcountry? Actually asking. Answer in the comments.
8. Cooking breakfast does not rule
I think I’m going to opt for on-trail breakfasts. See above.
9. That being said
Eating tuna with a cracker while walking uphill is hard. I do not recommend it.
10. Commit to the phone, or don’t
If you’re using it and plan on using it, bring an external battery that can hold something like 3 or 4 full charges. My phone has a 2,200 mAh battery, so I’m opting for a 10,000 mAh external battery (6oz!)
11. There’s no such thing as “light rainproofing”
If you’re going to prepare for rain (jacket, pack cover etc.), prepare for all of it. Opening up the pack mid storm for a snack during a long day of hiking will inevitably end with wet gear (See “fu·ry”). Rain is rain. We should acknowledge that.
12. John Wayne Syndrome is merciless
Body Glide. Gold Bond. A Blog post about ass chaffing. This walk on a trail can be worse than stepping on a lego.
13. Thunder and lightning are scary
Or I’m a 14 year old girl. Stay tuned for updates.
14.(+0.4) Don’t read the trail registers
“3/14/16 – I’ve forgotten how to sleep now. All I know is to prowl in the darkness and hunt my prey, 4 dead, women and children, laid to rot on my altar. I fed on them, oh flesh and the power it holds. The destruction of life and beauty is my only mission. There is no end to my madness. -*Satan*”
“3/16/16 – Well thats terrifying! Spending the night! Will update in the AM if *Satan* shows back up! -JM”
Or read them, add an entry, and perpetuate the terror. Happy Trails!
(I didn’t update that in the morning)
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