Let the Countdown Commence!

It is 6 months (ish) until I set foot on the Appalachian Trail to attempt a NOBO thru hike!  As I write this from my apartment, 7500 miles away from the trail, in the second largest city in the world,* I try to picture how different the trail will be from what I’ve known for the past year.  How am I preparing for this drastic change, you ask? Great question.

Some of my friends and family, and possibly you too, dear reader, have expressed concern that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.  I am, after all, a long distance hiking noob.  I have minimal camping experience, and basically no experience backpacking.  Heck, I’m not even sure what I’m gonna do about food yet.  But here is how my time in China has prepared me for the trail:

  1.  I’m used to everything being dirty.  Though, instead of it being a fine layer of pollution, it’ll be real dirt.
  2. Speaking of pollution, breathing the Beijing air for a year and a half is basically like training at altitude, right? So I’m pretty much in the best shape of my life already.
  3. Squatty potties ain’t got nothing on me.  And in the woods, there’s no risk of falling in the abyss (otherwise know as the squatty potty toilet bowl)
  4. But what about norovirus? Um, have you ever eaten Chinese street food? Spoiler alert: It tastes like deliciousness mixed with instant regret. (I’ll spare you the details)
  5. Expect the unexpected. When living China, or even just abroad in general, you are existing outside of your comfort zone.  You come to learn to be prepared for something to not go exactly to plan.  Now, that doesn’t mean you believe things will always go wrong.  It just means that when things do, you handle it the best you can and move on. “Cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it” — Confucius, probably.
In all seriousness, China actually has lots of great hikes.  Whether on the Great Wall, through rice paddies, around karsts, or up any of the hundreds of mountains, there are plenty of opportunities to get ready for the Appalachian Trail. I’m pumped to get out there and start my prep for the trail!

See, pretty rad, right?

*Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. “What even is a city? Do you mean Metropolitan area? Municipality?” Look Beijing is big, alright?

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Comments 2

  • Jack : Oct 16th

    Good luck! have fun and just enjoy being out in nature!

    • Caitlin Williams : Oct 19th

      Thanks Jack!


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