It’s safe to say that most hikers like to count. They count days, miles, pounds, liters, ounces, calories, States, and more. Hikers like to make lists too, some even do elaborate spreadsheets and graphs. Some hikers are more obsessive about the numbers than others.  I will admit to counting ounces and keeping track of certain numbers too. For example, how long until March 24, 2018? As of today, it is 3 months, or 13 weeks… or 93 days.

Time enough to make some significant adjustments

The first adjustment is to lose a few pounds, not pack weight but *me* because Winter and the holidays inevitably lead to less outdoor activity and more festive indoor activities, if you know what I mean. The second adjustment is to switch packs from the Osprey Exos 48 to the ZPacks Arc Haul because the Arc Haul offers more cargo space and a slight weight advantage.

Cowrock Mountain

Long shadows late in the day at Cowrock Mountain

What’s in my pack

Having logged several hundred miles in recent months doing shakedown hikes on the AT has helped refine my gear selection. Using the online tool at I created my current gear list which includes both warm-weather and cold-weather gear, so the total weight will be less depending on what gets sent home. My 2018 AT Gear List

bear encounters, hysterical antics, near disaster, epic weather

I have lived in Georgia for more than 45 years and hiked up and down the GA section of the AT many, many times. Nearly every campsite along the way stirs fond memories of camping with my wife, children, brothers, nephews, friends, and dogs. So, if I walk past a site and bust out laughing or shed a tear, it’s because of the real-life experiences that have happened to me there. Whether it was bear encounters, hysterical antics, near disaster, epic weather, all the things the trail throws at you makes for amazing stories and memories. I anticipate the same holds true for the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Yes, I’m counting down the days until my trek begins.


Bly Gap

The bent tree at Bly Gap


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Comments 8

  • John B. Waugaman, Jr. : Dec 22nd

    Have an awesome thru hike and keep the counting up. It all adds up to incredible experiences and memories.

    • Dan Coy : Dec 23rd

      Thank you, John I appreciate the encouraging words.

  • Craig : Dec 23rd

    I live not far from the trail between Wind Gap and Delaware Water Gap in PA. I just “followed” you on Instagram……my first thru-hiker for 2018! Happy trails to you, Dan…..looking forward to following your hike!

    • Dan Coy : Dec 23rd

      Hey Craig, thanks for the “follow”. I went to high school in West Chester, PA but haven’t been back there in a long time. Looking forward to hiking through the Keystone state, probably around June or July. Stay tuned!

  • Kelsey Jo : Dec 27th

    I’m starting the same weekend! Happy Trails!

    • Dan Coy : Dec 28th

      Kelsey Jo, it’s going to be awesome. I hope we get to meet along the way.

  • Lori : Dec 31st

    I’ll be starting that weekend also!
    Happy Trails…

    • Dan Coy : Jan 2nd

      Howdy Lori, hope we get to meet out there. According to the ATC registration numbers, it looks like we will have 10-12 thru-hikers a day staring that weekend. Last October/November I did Springer to NOC in about 10 days but skipped the Approach Trail. Haven’t decided yet where I want to start this time.


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