MIA on the AT
It’s been about 400 miles since my last blog post… Yikes. Maybe I should change my name to MIA. I’ve made it to Woods Hole Hostel in Virginia which is mile 623!
I hiked out of Hot Springs, NC on the morning of the fire that closed the trail for at least a week. Fortunately, I didn’t see the fire and had decided to hike 20 miles so I wasn’t close by that night. I caught up with MoLa (another app trials blogger) and hiked with her to Erwin, TN. I had a great time hiking with her even though we got rained on pretty hard. In Erwin, I took 4 zeros and drove to Georgia to see my boyfriend. It was funny driving past all the places I hiked through. In 4 hours I drove the same distance it took me 4 weeks to hike! Since hiking with Erwin, I have bounced between hiking groups. I stayed at Mountain Harbor Hostel (Roan Mtn, TN), Black Bear Resort (Hampton, TN), and Woodchuck Hostel (Damascus, VA). They were all very nice and I enjoyed my time at each immensely. I was so happy to reach the TN/VA border that I literally hopped over the state line. Virginia is one of my favorite states and I’m so excited to spend the next few weeks here basking in the beauty of the blue ridge.
Here are a few things I have learned in my first 600 trail miles:
Blueberry’s Hiking Lessons
- Blisters are most prominent in the rain. Be careful with your feet when they are soggy, otherwise, things will not go well.
- At about Mile 500 your hiker hunger will likely reach a new level. Prepare for this by buying extra snacks in VA or hope you get some epic trail magic like I did from a Methodist church in Bland, VA.
- Avoid gear envy at all costs! I’ve seen too many hikers spend way too much money on upgrades they probably didn’t need. Your fellow hiker may have a very nice Jetboil but trust me your pocket rocket works just as well. Save that cash for food and towns further north.
- Be courteous to other hikers! This should go without saying but treat others the way you want to be treated. I now understand why some people/towns are not hiker friendly. If you don’t treat your fellow hikers with respect, why would you treat complete strangers that way? Don’t be that hiker. Being on the trail is a privilege that you are lucky to have.
- Treat yourself! (This may seem counterintuitive after #3). But what I mean is the little things. If you like coffee in the morning. Seriously. Make coffee. If you like to hike slow or fast, hike that speed. Don’t feel like you have to hike like everyone else. Treat yourself to what makes you smile and you will be much happier along the way. For example, I like to drink tea in the morning. This may mean I take longer to pack up and leave in the morning but it’s 100% worth it to me.
- Write weird things in the shelter logs. I always read the logs at lunch/dinner and my favorite entries are the craziest ones. Please provide me with more entertainment and write all the nonsense you think about while hiking all day.
- Don’t be afraid to hike alone. I stuck with Culture Club for a long time even though I felt like I could be hiking longer days. I mostly stayed because I loved my trail family but I also was somewhat hesitant to hike alone. I always end up seeing people I know though even when I’m sure I will be 100% by myself. The trail provides.
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