Lessons from Miles 0-100

Don’t Jump the Gun

Well folks, here we are! The calendar year Triple Crown is officially underway and of course there have been a few hiccups here and there but that’s what I’m here to talk about!

Let’s start with the beginning. Upon registering for my AT thru-hike, Bob informed me that my starting plan may have been a bit too aggressive. At the time, I scoffed at him. I had been training heavily for this; surely I could handle 25 mile days to begin with, right? Well, it looks like he may have been right.

After two very solid 25-mile days with good weather, my knee decided it would no longer take any abuse I gave. At first, downhills became painful, then uphills, and today, everything. So naturally I took a rest day and cut back on mileage, which helped an immense amount. That is until I decided to push again today. With impending doom of a freeze coming tonight after three days of rain, I decided it would be in my best interest to put in a decent day and get out of the backcountry. Well, that about toasted me. After some quick research, I think it is just standard ITBS that plagues most overzealous athletes from time to time, with the added component of some visible swelling. If that doesn’t sound like fun, you’re right! The good news is that I’m looking at it from this angle: with each painful step I take it’s only preparing me for a more painful step later on. If I can manage this injury at the literal beginning of the hike, I can handle the harder miles later.

Be Social, Remember Names

The beginning of a trail is full of all sorts of characters. Early on, I made it a personal mission to make sure that I interact with EVERYONE to some capacity. I didn’t want to be that man that just blows by you on the uphill without saying a word.

Already, I’ve encountered a fair bit of early birds out here trying to thru-hike the AT, most of whom also have packed too much food. This is to my advantage and theirs. Befriend these folks, eat their food to lighten their pack for them, mutualism. My favorite food I’ve encountered was last night. I was ALMOST asleep when Chopstick yelled from outside in the pouring rain, “Ya’ll want some barbecue?!??” The man had packed out a pork tenderloin and had somehow managed to cook it in the pouring, freezing rain. Of course I wanted some.

It Might not be the Start You Expect, but Attitude Is Key

I didn’t come here expecting sunshine and rainbows. I was blessed with two days of decent weather, then reality struck with three days of rain and descending temperatures into the teens.

Having an open mindset and not attempting to mold the trail to your vision of what it should be like will make your experience infinitely better.

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Comments 3

  • Julie : Feb 21st

    Wow! I’m looking forward to following your updates this year! Take care, have fun, enjoy the views, the walk and the people.

    • Brian : Feb 21st

      This is interesting and I too am looking forward to the AT Trail experience. Just retired. Not a young man but I will follow you along from here and pickup pointers. Enjoy and be safe. All the best, Brian.

  • Dean : Feb 24th

    That last bit about having an open mindset is the best advice for any hiker, especially on a long trail.


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