Spring Break, New Adventures, and Now Less than 60 Days to Hike

Nigel (Chilli — because he’s always cold and loves the food — and yes, it’s spelled that way) and I have just 60 days left before our feet hit the trail.  I spent spring break week in Las Vegas, Nev., with a day at the Grand Canyon. This was a totally new adventure for me as I had never been to either place before.

Urban Hiking

I did a ton of urban hiking pushing my mom in her wheelchair,  and on a couple of those days I registered over 10,000 steps.  We had an amazing time not only “hiking” around Las Vegas, but also at the canyon.  One day I will go back and do a rim-to-rim hike, but with having my 78-year-old mom, it just couldn’t be done on this trip.  It is hard to describe the majesty of the Grand Canyon and the photos just do not do it justice.  We went to the South Rim and enjoyed a hike for three miles along the top of the rim; and just like many times on the Appalachian Trail, we finished the hike off with ice cream.  I know when I hike that is the one thing I crave when I get into town.  The one thing that really got to me was all of the people.  It was difficult to even take a photo without someone photobombing the shot.  I realize that I’m not the only one on the planet that wanted to take pictures, but at times it was claustrophobic because there were so many people.

Woods Hiking

I cannot wait to get into the woods of the AT.  I am choosing to start at Harpers Ferry in order to miss all of the huge bubbles.  When I registered there were less than 10 people starting at Harpers on that date, so Chilli and I shouldn’t run into huge crowds.  I know that we will run into people and will probably have people at the shelters where we camp; it will not be thousands all in one spot with cameras out.   About the only time we will run into crowds like that will be when we run into a group of some sort someplace like McAfee Knob or Annapolis Rock. The weather was absolutely perfect and the skies were so clear everything was visible, so I don’t blame everyone for wanting to be out.  I just long for the solitude of hiking on the AT.

Final Stretch on Mail Drop

I am in the final stretch of getting all of the mail drops together and am running into issues with snacks that are going to still be good in November.  I may end up just sending our dinners and breakfasts, then just scrounge for snacks when we are in town.  There may be some foods we get tired of, but with my diet being what it is, I may have to just suck it up and eat the same things even if I’m buying them on the trail.  I know I will definitely get fresh fruits and vegetables when I’m in town; as well as yogurt and cheese.  Being on a low carbohydrate and high protein diet doesn’t make it very easy to eat sometimes.  I spoke with my nutritionist last week and if I begin losing too much weight she doesn’t want me to increase calories by eating junk, but maybe adding a teaspoon of olive oil to my dinner or some nuts in the afternoon.  We discussed all those hikers who say calories are calories as they shove a Frosted Honey Bun with Nutella on it into their mouths.  Additionally, how those types of calories will leave the hiker very sluggish and drained while adding more protein and long-acting carbs, like rice, or food with fats, like nuts, will give me the energy I need without the crash after the sugar buzz wears off.  She also told me how to help Chilli with staying full and having enough calories to keep him moving.

On the Whole

I feel really good about all of my gear, the food I’ve got ready to go, and the schedule.  We had a great family time last week and the time of urban hiking was phenomenal and pushing my mom in her wheelchair gave my legs a great workout — especially on the uphills.  It was nice to have some really good weather to get out and do some serious walking; here at home right now, it’s raining, 35 degrees, and not good for walking.  I will hike in the rain and cold on the AT, if I have to, but here at home I don’t get out and do my training on the BowFlex Max Trainer.  The interval training on the BowFlex is wonderful because I get a really awesome workout without having to be on the thing all day.  I am praying that when I finally make it to the trail I will be ready to go and to go at it hard.

That’s all for now.

58 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes… 10, 9, 8 (I am definitely counting down the time!).


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Comments 3

  • Andy : Mar 31st

    You’re getting close. Ready(ish)?

    • Stripper : Apr 1st


      I think I have dialed in the gear. I have gone back to a hammock. I spent 6 weeks in a hammock last summer on the AT and loved it; I went with the tent right after my decision to do the thru-hike because it was a full pound lighter. However, after sleeping on my air mattress at my son’s house on several different occasions, I went back to the hammock. It didn’t help that REI had the PERFECT hammock for $149 and I spent almost 3 times that on the tent. So, I ordered the hammock and took back the tent. I have osteoarthritis and getting off the ground wasn’t a huge problem, but it wasn’t ideal. Plus, on the nights when we are camping and it’s pouring, we have a place that we can cook under cover and not get drenched. I have looked into many options and have finally stopped looking. I cannot keep changing things! I am ready, for the most part, to hit the trail! We have our plane tickets in hand and I will get to spend a week with my grand babies in Pennsylvania before Chilli flies in. My sister-in-law has graciously agreed to meet us at the airport and take us to Harpers Ferry on May 16th to begin our hike. I spoke with Chilli this morning and he is so excited, but being careful not to overtake his thoughts as he is in his final 6 weeks of college. He said Senioritis has not gotten him yet, but he is having to fight it off!

  • AndyB : Apr 16th

    never tried a hammock, except the one in the backyard! You have to quit shopping at some point! I bought 2-3 tents and as many packs a few years ago before I settled on ones I liked. I hadn’t been backpacking in 15 years and a lot had changed.
    The weather should be (somewhat) normal in a few weeks, been a wild spring on the AT this year.


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