PREPPING (But Not for the End of the World)

Hi there, folks!  I wanted to go through some things I am doing to prep for the mid-March take-off on the AT.  Do I know how to use my gear?  Are logistics (at least tentatively) worked out?  Since I am hiking with a friend, how do we plan to maintain progress and harmony?  Quien dispara contra JR? (Google translate it from Spanish to English) If you’re reading this, then apparently People want to know.  And I therefore have a real purpose in life.


The Mind

A lifelong YMCA member, I am a big believer in their Mind-Body-Spirit mission, and for fun thought this might be a way to go structure my prep, starting with Mind.  Mind can include attitude, anticipation, research, all the things that spreadsheeters love to catalog (perhaps excluding food.  Or gear.  Or trailheads, towns, etc.  Never mind, just go with it.)

So for prep – I have FarOut and have been using it for several years, comfort level is high.  Navigation should be pretty easy, as the trail is mainly obvious and at least fairly well-marked.  I can also just follow the Conga-line at this time of year.  All of which is to say, I will definitely document each time I go the wrong way, ‘cause laughing at me should be a community event.  I also am very familiar with my tent, sleep-, water- and cook setups.  I may swap a few things around, but I have confidence in using my gear.  Let’s see what blows up in this category, it should be interesting!


The Body

How do you prepare your Meat Suit for a thru-hike?  Lots of research on this, but basically make sure your body is ready and accustomed to daily use, that your gear is complete and has been used, and that the clothes you have will work.  For the body, I’m working out daily at the Y for an hour or two – treadmill, stairstepper, legpress, bike.  Additionally, I have taken three or four recent shakedown hikes with Dave and Mark.  Shakedowns let me play with my gear, and I will have the opportunity to do a couple of three to four day hikes in crappy weather, intentionally.  Both body and gear can be tested in a more realistic scenario than normal.  Likewise, I will be able to better dial in clothes, which is kind of a pain for me (for me, this is the category I like to call “blah-blah-blah”).  But I need to trim to the bare essentials, and pushing towards a more minimal load is part of what I am looking to get out of this hike.  My one fear is cold, and while going through this, being close to home as a bail-out is pretty nice if I get into a truly miserable situation.  This may not be available on trail, so better to find out now.


The Spirit

I mean this in terms of the human spirit, the dreams and desires we all have, the fears, the unknown.  I love adventure, I love being in nature, and I really look forward not so much to being a thru-hiker, but to have done it long enough that I feel like I am “One of us thru-hikers.”  The hiking every day will be hard, but perhaps the mental aspects will be the true deal-breakers.  Other than injury or family emergency, I don’t have any real fears.  I do have a very healthy respect for Ma Nature, and while there will not be Lions and Tigers and Bears, there will be Poison Ivy and Rattlers and Ticks.  Awareness is an asset!

I suppose it would be trite to say my motivation is that I really like backpacking and want to do it continuously with a goal in mind.  I do look forward to being tested and seeing if I can avoid injury, and if I can make it.

For fun and to increase knowledge, reading hiker blogs (I hear they are the best!) and watching vlogs (The Trek is clutch) whet the appetite for passing slowly through new terrain.  Meeting new people, sharing good times and bad, conquering difficult terrain – I look forward to all of these!

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Comments 1

  • Harry Poppins : Mar 26th

    I find the Mind-Body-Spirit metaphor incredibly appropriate. I am a family physician AKA Country Doctor and came to the same conclusion concerning health, both for myself, and my patients. All three interact with each other and are inseparable. Neglect your physical health and your spiritual health suffers. Neglect your spiritual health and your mental health suffers, etc. This is not modern medical orthodoxy and I have always felt that I was a bit off for promoting this triumvirate. A thru-hike is not just a physical and mental journey/challenge, but a spiritual one as well.


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