Starting SOBO, sort of.
Hello! My name is Shuping but most on the trail call me Mr. Clean (I’ll get to that later). I applied to be a blogger a week before my start date and neglected to check my email until recently – but I’m here! I started SOBO from Katahdin on July 8th and so far this has been the biggest adventure of my life. I’ve cowboy camped on a beach under the Milky Way, squeezed into a lean-to of strangers to weather Elsa, and met people with incredible life stories to tell. In short, thru hiking the AT is as amazing as people say it is.
I have plenty of blog catching up to do, Maine was a gorgeous trail and I’m
halfway all the way through New Hampshire. But first, I’ll answer some of the basic questions nearly every thru-hiker asks each other when they meet.
Thru-hiker? Yes. SOBO or NOBO? SOBO.
When did you start? July 8th.
What’s your trail name? Mr. Clean.
How did you get that name? I’m always going into ponds, rivers, lakes, waterfalls to swim and be clean. I like to tell people to never miss an opportunity to swim.
Where are you from? I live in Brooklyn, but I was born in Syracuse, NY. I’ve lived in New Hampshire briefly, spent most of my childhood in Taipei, Taiwan, and went to college in Ithaca, NY. It’s complicated.
Where are you really from? I’m a proud Taiwanese-American.
What were you doing before this? I was an architect in NYC working on office buildings and the occasional skyscraper. I enjoyed the work, but ultimately it’s a job that I needed a break from.
What kind of backpacking experience do you have? Last big trip was the Pemi Loop in The Whites. But nothing longer than 6 days.
Why are you doing the AT? Short answer: I turned 30 and decided I needed to finally do it.
Why did you decide to go SOBO? I decided I wanted to do the AT in January so a NOBO start in March was too soon. Going SOBO also felt like an underdog story so that appealed to me.
When do you plan on finishing? Hopefully Thanksgiving Day.
How were The Whites? Tough but incredible. We had views almost everyday and when we didn’t it was an adventure.
Where did you stay last night? Moose Mountain shelter. Great lean-to. No mice and good water. Bonus points for cell service, a sweet bench, and dry firewood.
Where are you headed tonight? I’m staying at Hanover Adventure Tours tonight and planned on neroing it tomorrow. However, my friend Sloth passed me in town today so I’m changing plans and hiking out of here first thing tomorrow morning.
It’s nearing hiker’s midnight (9pm) so I best be going to sleep in the crowded bunk room. Looking forward to bringing some real blog content in the next few days when I get service.
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