A Little Less Than 2 Weeks Ago, I Decided to Thru Hike the AT
It started with a thought
“If I wanted to hike the AT this year, I could probably get everything together and leave in a few weeks.” Followed by, “My friends are already here for the winter, I am sure they could watch my home, dog, and cat for a few months.” And here I am 10 days later writing a blog post about my planned northbound thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, which starts in about 12 days.
Getting the right gear for an ultralight hike
10 days is how long it has taken me to research, order, & receive all the “right” gear for this trip. I’m still waiting on my pack and a few small items, but those will arrive over the next 2 days. I’m absolutely done spending money in preparation for this long walk, having taken my last trip to REI today for a pair of socks and some hiking food. My gear was not cheap. Price did not figure into the equation since I was determined to get the gear I felt would serve me best on the trail, while being as light as possible. Let’s hope it all holds up on the trail. For the curious, here is my Lighterpack gear list. I’ll be making some minor tweaks over the next 12 days, likely going up in weight a bit as I optimize my items, but it is very close to final.
Deciding on which guide, in which format
I will be using Guthook’s AT Guide on my Nexus 5x instead of maps or books. I purchased the 2017 Data Book and reduced the weight to 2.5oz by cutting out the margins, but zero ounces is even better, and my 4.7oz phone gets another use. However, like everything ultralight, the cost was rather great – $59.99 for the entire AT. I’ve done some preliminary fooling around in the app, and I do believe it will serve me well on the trail with distances from your current location to all the important points of interest on the trail, including water, shelter, hostels, hotels, and resupplies, without the need for an internet connection.
Friends are important
By the way, my friends did agree to watch my dog and cat for a couple months. Further, when I announced on Facebook that I would be taking this journey but needed a house/animal sitter, within an hour I had another friend committed to helping out. Thanks Mike, Cory, & Meredith! Without you, my journey would not be possible. I am deeply grateful.
Additionally, my buddy Kurt and his family are going to help me start my journey by giving me a place to stay for the evening after I fly into ATL. And a ride to Springer on the afternoon of the 6th..unless Kurt decides to hit the trail with me for the first 30 miles, in which case we would be leaving on the afternoon of the 5th. Either way, it is going to be a late afternoon start.
I am very much looking forward to making friends along the way. Not to mention meeting up with my current friends who live along the trail. I’ve already made plans with a few existing friends who have offered to open their homes, as well as friends-of-friends who have graciously done the same. Very humbling.
So I’m all but ready, just waiting for next Sunday to roll around. 10 days after I decided this was the year. In all honesty, this is how I like to roll. Make a decision, devise a plan, and move on it.
Next time I’ll talk a little more about my gear and hiking schedule. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions. Take care!
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