Lessons Learned: Early Days on Trail

How it’s been going so far: It’s only been a couple weeks and I’ve learned so much already. It’s been a process of hiking, camping and fine tuning all the things…like putting away a wet tent without getting all my other stuff muddy and wet, moving a wet tent in the middle of a rain storm, and how to get the most miles, sleep and food as possible without wrecking my body. Like I said, it’s been a process, one that I am sure will continually be refined all the way to Mama K.

Learning Curve:
There have been large bends in the learning curve
 and lots of little ‘a-ha’ moments. The most humbling moment to date, was a couple weeks ago when I got to camp after a long day and set up my tent under a rhododendron patch-the thought being that the leaves would protect me from the ‘light rain’ we were anticipating that evening. Well, the ‘light-rain’ started just as I was finishing my dinner. Within thirty minutes I was sat in my tent, and my tent was sat on top of almost three inches of water. It was pouring out. I wasn’t sure if I should just ‘ride the rain out’ or get up and move the tent in the middle of the rain storm. Not knowing when the rain would stop, I chose the latter. I loaded all the heavy items into my pack and went over to Mike’s tent. Oh by the way, Mike is now known as ‘Snacks’. That’s his trail name. Appropriately deemed as he packs alllllll the snacks out and you can typically find him lingering at a gap, snacking.

Anywho, I stood outside of his tent and proceeded to yell, ‘Michaaeeelll if you get out here and help me move my tent, I’ll buy you twelve beers at the next town!’ He was out of his tent in full rain gear in less than two minutes-haha. He helped me pick up my entire set up tent and move to higher ground.

Lesson learned:  Impending rain = set up tent on the highest ground at camp.

The other lesson came more slowly. It ate at me for a few days after I asked Snacks for help. I beat myself up a little about not just doing the task myself. As my Aunt would say, BGSD-Bitches Get Shit Done. My feminist soul had a tough time with the cry for help.  Here is the thing: Snacks not only jumped out of his dry tent in the rain to help, he knew I was struggling and after helping move my tent, he came over and shared his hot cocoa with me and gave me a well-needed hug. We are a team out here, and sometimes you have to ask for help and let others help pull you up.

Here are some other ‘things learned’ that come to mind:

-The ups are kinder to the knees than the downs.

-Chase the sunrise/sunset, you never know what ya’ gonna get.

-The rain may be a pain to hike in/put up & down camp in, but it makes the sunshine that much sweeter.

-The rain also makes the woods even more mystical.

-Tramily is bond. We are a team out here.

-The trail really does provide. We are on the tail of the thru-hiking season, but trail magic is still present and we have been blessed with hot meals, extra snacks and free shuttles.

-Embrace the suck. It’s a mental game in the woods. Many times, it’s a reconditioning of things we have learned are ‘normal’.

-Everyday presents a new challenge and I am stronger than I think I am. We all are.

-Take care of your feet. The second I feel a hot spot on trail, I stop and take care of it with KT blister prevention tape.

-Rest. I am so in-tune with my body at the moment. Taking care of it so it gets me to Mama K is a balancing feat. 

-The heat is coming. On that note, time is flying.

-Nature is the best.

-Thru-hiking is the best.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

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Comments 4

  • thetentman : May 20th

    Nice post. Good luck.

  • JhonYermo : May 21st

    I truly enjoyed reading.
    And I must say, could not agree with this statement of yours more:
    “-The rain also makes the woods even more mystical. ”
    Oh YES

  • Karen : May 23rd

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am so enjoying your posts.

  • G Evans : Jul 12th

    Hi, I am enjoying your posts! Hoping to start the AT in March 2023.
    Do you happen to have a list of what you took with you or better yet, what you ended up actually carrying in your pack?
    Brands are great.

    Thanks for any help you can give! I am an older woman going solo.


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