One Month and Counting: 5 Ways to Prepare for My A.T. Thru-Hike


In one month, I will embark upon the journey of a lifetime and traverse 2,193.1 miles from Georgia to Maine. I will carry only necessities on my back and enjoy the experience one step at a time. I look forward to the freedom, connection, and joy that it will bring me. And, I want to ensure that I am prepared to embark on this journey efficiently and optimally. So, what have I been doing to prepare? 

1. Walk Everywhere

I live in a small city without a vehicle and walk everywhere daily. I have walked between eight and twelve miles almost daily since October. This lifestyle has prepared me for what is to become my new lifestyle for the next six months. I will enhance the elevation gains and mileage on weekends as we are now allowed to leave the city perimeter. Yesterday, I went on a proper hike in the countryside and brought extra water for conditioning.

2. Carry 5 Liters of Water in My Backpack Daily

When I walk around the city, I carry a backpack. At the start of March, I started carrying 5 liters, or 11 pounds, of water with me everywhere I go. Carrying this hopeful base weight provides good conditioning for my back and joints in what is to come. And, it provides pre-filtered water for me to stay hydrated throughout the day. Hydration allows my cells to undergo all of the necessary chemical processes for optimal health.

3. Weekly Massages

Ensuring adequate health before I start this journey will allow for a vibrant experience. Since I am carrying extra weight on my back, I have been receiving a weekly massage to work out the knots. The massages help eradicate back tension while soothing my legs. And, this body tune-up will relax my muscles as they strengthen for what is to come. This gives me the self-care that I need for optimal performance on the trail. And I appreciate the luxury afforded to me by my talented masseuse while this opportunity is available to me.

4. Enjoying the Comforts of a Home

Talking about appreciation, I appreciate the comforts of my home. Every morning I wake up, I am grateful for my comfortable bed in the spacious room that I have. Being protected from the elements includes another thing that I enjoy while available to me. I appreciate showering daily and the cleansing power of hot, running water. And, I am grateful for, maybe one of modern technology’s greatest inventions, the hot water heater. I appreciate the diversity of clothes that I have for both function and fashion available to me in my closet.

5. Cooking and Eating All of the Things

One particular comfort I am appreciating is my kitchen. I am enjoying my kitchen as if I have never cooked before. Each day I am inspired to prepare and enjoy a different meal providing my body with various nutrients that will no longer be available to me on trail. Fermenting sauerkraut and making a seitan Reuben provides plenty of probiotics that will enhance my intestinal flora before embarking on this journey. Another way to improve my gut bacteria includes lots of creamy and delicious kefir. I enjoy homemade popcorn with melted butter and nutritional yeast as this epitomizes the taste of comfort food for me. I enjoy fruits and vegetables packed with water and nutrients knowing that I want to be able to eat a natural rainbow on the trail regularly.

What about gear?

I have ordered my gear and it will ship to New York. That is where I have my backpack and most gear that I will bring. So, I will wait to sort out and pack once I am in New York in two short weeks. And, my long-ass section hike of almost six hundred miles prepared me greatly for this experience. Furthermore, I will be sharing a separate gear list in a future post.

Summing it Up

This prepping experience is already making me a better person. It is helping me to not only intellectualize, but feel my appreciation, for all of the comforts that are afforded to me. And this increase in value is already enhancing my life. I continue to walk everywhere and love this lifestyle. The weather and the pandemic restrictions are cooperating with my desire to train in the countryside and I eagerly anticipate more hikes away from the city. Carrying water prepares my body for some of the weight that I will be carrying. And, drinking more water, and receiving weekly massages include self-care that improves my overall health. Additionally, I continue to enjoy a healthy diet and appreciate the comforts of my home knowing that things are about to change. I will continue to savor life here in Spain by the sea before I embark upon this journey of a lifetime.

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Comments 2

  • Martin Smith : Mar 12th

    You are obviously eating right for your microbiome. How are you planning on continuing “good” foods on the trail. Kimchi and Kefir are hard to carry. I am grappling with this in my planning.

    For your back, I recommend finding a person who does myofascial release – better than massage

    • Heather : Mar 16th

      I plan on drinking kombucha or eating yogurt when I resupply in town and It is available.


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