Picking up the pace…and settling into a rhythm


I have now entered the fourth state of my Appalachian Trail journey: Massachusetts. Home to one of my lifetime goals (run the Boston Marathon), one of my favourite films (The Departed) and my good friend Tasha, who climbed Katahdin with me to start off this journey.

As the mountains get smaller, it’s getting easier to go further each day. 2 days ago I did my furthest distance in a day (30km). The next day I beat that again (almost 32km). I’m trying not to go too crazy too quickly though, and am taking a “down” day today (18km) to help my muscles rest and recover from the bigger days.

Trail routine

Now that I’ve been on trail for almost 8 weeks, I’ve settled into a good routine for my hiking days. Set out below is a typical trail day.

5:30am: alarm goes off. Get up, retrieve bear bag, back into tent.

5:30-6:30am: prepare for day. Eat breakfast (currently on rotation are chocolate Breakfast Essentials (similar to a powdered Up and Go for the Aussies) and poptarts). Put hiking clothes on. Pack up tent. Review map on FarOut app for proposed finish point for the day, possible spots for breaks and other highlights, and location of water sources. With summer mostly over, this is done with my headlamp on.

6:30am: quick stretching, turn on my Garmin Inreach (locator beacon), start hiking.

After 1 hour: brief stop, drink some water, check map.

After 2 hours: more substantial stop. Take off pack, eat some food, drink some water, check map. Currently on rotation for snacks (I have many snacks throughout the day, rather than lunch and small snacks): Clif bars, Luna bars, Metrx bars, Pro bars, cashews, peanut butter m&ms, biscuits with peanut butter.

Sometimes I move the timing of my breaks around to take advantage of a nice view, or to have a break at a shelter. Otherwise, I alternate the above breaks all day while hiking.

Occasionally I listen to music or a podcast, especially if I am having a tough day. Otherwise, I just let my mind wander in nature.

Between 5:00pm and 6:00pm: reach campsite/shelter. I like to be done by 6pm so I have a couple of hours of downtime to let my muscles relax before bed.

At camp: have a protein bar and an electrolyte drink. Set up tent if tenting or set up air mattress if sleeping in a shelter. Change into camp clothes after a wet wipes “wash”. Make and eat dinner (currently on rotation: freeze-dried meals, Mac and cheese, ramen, instant mashed potatoes, flavoured rice and salami). Hang bear bag an appropriate distance from my tent or put in bear box, if available. Do daily journal entry, read a bit and then sleep time (usually around 8-8:30pm).

It is definitely a simple life on trail. I guess for a lot of people the above day sounds pretty boring but I am enjoying the simplicity and beauty of trail life.

Onwards to more adventures!


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Comments 2

  • Russ1663 : Sep 13th

    Looking good Bec, solid routine. Cool thing about SOBO, it’s down hill ? Best of trail luck to you. Im not far from Rockfish Gap on the south end of Shanandoah NP. If it works out timing wise I will wave at you as you pass through.

    • Bec on the AT : Sep 15th

      Thanks Russ!


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