Searching High and Low, This Intrepid Thru-Hiker Is Unable to Locate Her Physical Conditioning

March 28 is looming on the horizon.

Only a short few days until I start my NOBO thru-hike of the AT and the excitement is mounting. As with any long trip, it is of the utmost importance to go through one’s checklist and make sure everything has been checked off and the readiness green light is a bright and shining beacon for mission success!


I own a lovely little A-frame in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Nothing likes to be left alone for four months. Care must be taken to make sure my little baby is ready to withstand the loneliness of not being occupied. This meant bringing in the big guns (my mother), battening down the hatches, cleaning every nook and cranny, and making sure the shack is left in tip-top shape.

–Laundry done.

–Floors polished.

–Rooms cleaned.

–Mail transferred.

–House locked and key hidden, so I can get back in at some point.

–Aimlessly wandering room to room muttering platitudes like, “I love you too,” “Please don’t burst a water main,” “If there is another flood, please lift your skirt,” and  “Yes, I promise I’m coming back, so if you could hold off on any mold production, super appreciated.”

New Tattoos 

Yes, two new travel ready tats for the trail-minded NOBO hiker.


This is actually rather difficult when you have two or more of everything. The problem is, even when I find a better option, I never get rid of the old. It’s a gear geek thing!

There are a multitude of inflatable and noninflatable sleep pads to choose from,  I have collapsible poles and tri-fold poles, a lightweight tent that needs to be staked or the one-person freestanding, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit how many sleeping bags I own (three). Ah, the humanity! But in the end, here is what made the cut, with a base weight of 14 pounds. Drumroll, please.

–HyperLite Mountain Gear Windrider 2400 backpack.

–REI Quarter Dome 1 tent with titanium stakes.

–Western Mountaineering AlpineLite 20-degree bag.

–Therm-a-Rest Z Pad.

–Paria tri-fold trekking poles.

–Etekcity Ultralight Stove w/ GSI Minimalist pot.

–Patagonia Rainshadow Jacket.

–REI rain pants whose name I do not recall and cannot be bothered to look up, but worked wonderfully on the PCT, so they are back on duty

–World’s smallest Swiss Army Knife. Looks so much larger online.

–Ursack Bear Bag that I am slightly resentful at having to bring. It’s important to be honest with yourself, or you’ll never move on.


  • Lightweight stuff sacks.
  • Bug cream.
  • Camp pillow.
  • Electrolyte drops.
  • Auquamira water purification drops.
  • Sea to Summit titanium spork, with a Swiss Army Knife attached, because it will get lost otherwise.
  • Three months worth of Aleve and turmeric because I am going to assume some part of my body will be swelling at any given time,
  • Powdered toothpaste. Yeah, that’s a thing

— Clothes

  • Two extra pairs of Injinji Toe socks. Love, love, love toe socks. An integral part of the no-blister campaign.
  • Two extra pair of underwear that have quick-release snaps on the sides so you can change easily without tripping over your feet or even without having to get out of  your sleeping bag! And no, they were not bought at an adult shop; these are for everyday practicality.
  • Glove liners.
  • Hat.
  • Smartwool pants.
  • Smartwool zip top.
  • A variety of light-colored clothing or dark-colored clothing bathed in Permethrin.

Physical Conditioning  

Last but not least, it is important to look back on all the hard work you put into making your body a lean, mean conditioned machine.

Wait. Where did I put my physical conditioning? It was here just a minute ago. I swear I remember seeing it. Hold on, let me look behind the bed, in the shed, maybe down in the crawl space. Oh yeah, behind the couch. No. Damn it, I know it’s around here somewhere.  Crap, now that I think of it, the last time I saw anything resembling physical conditioning was on the Colorado Trail back in September of 2017. My bad.

Luckily for me, I’ve been here before, as has my body. Back in 2015 I wasn’t in hiking shape before my 2015 PCT hike either, but I still made it to Canada in 3 1/2 months.  My body has a great sense of muscle memory when it comes to hiking. So now, as then, I will let the trail sort it all out. This will be a different kind of hike, with more rocks, roots and elevation, but I have faith my body will bounce back into shape. Well, perhaps not bounce, maybe amble on up to, saunter, or even mosey.


But, as an added incentive, here is your community service announcement.

Don’t let this be you.

The adventure begins March 28!


Featured image obtained through

Kung Fu Panda obtained through


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Comments 8

  • Kevin : Mar 24th

    Best wishes for you on your hike. I grew up on where the AT intersects PA/NJ. I’ve met many thru hikers and there all wonderful people from my experience. I hope you enjoy the Delaware Water Gap, small mountains but strikingly beautiful. Lots of history there dating back to the 1600s. Sunfish Pond (pretty big damn pond) is on top of the NJ side of the Gap. Great swimming in summer just ignore the “no swimming” signs. Anyway good luck and sorry about all the damn rocks ?

    • Kimberly Huber : Mar 24th

      Thanks Kevin! I appreciate the support as well as intel on PA. As for rocks, well, I’m from New England and rocks are just something you deal with. Lol

  • Jennifer : Mar 25th

    Good luck with the hike! I live in North Adams, MA right at the Route 7, Phelps Road crossing. You will likely walk from there up to the Papa Johns to get your passport stamped. There is a nice shady hill to take a short break before the bridge of hand prints that you will walk across to continue your journey. From that point your only about 300 or so miles from the finish! Tons of luck, see you in June-ish and remember…”you’re going to be ok”.

    • Kimberly "Ronin" Huber : Mar 25th

      Thx Jennifer!

  • Christeen Glass : Mar 25th

    Hang in there Kim. You got this! Just take it slow and be kind to your body. Most Important Advise I Can Give! Be Kind to your Body!!! It has to endure a lot so Listen to it! And remind yourself that adventures are gifts. I know you know this. Easier said than done. Talk out loud as well. I hear voices. LOL. <3 Christeen

    • Kimberly "Ronin" Huber : Mar 25th

      Thanks Christeen. Still wish you could be with me!

  • Catherine Guy : Mar 26th

    I have a dream to hike the AT. I live in VT and have hiked in the white and green mountains. My goal this year is to complete the 48 4000 footers. My family lives in TN very close to the trail between Hampton TN and Damascus VA ….,yeah trail days!!!! I wondered why the turmeric and does it help? Good luck with your hike and Godspeed.

    • Kimberly Huber : Mar 26th

      Turmeric is a natural herbal anti-inflammatory , and yes it works!
      Good luck with you quest for the 48!


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