T Minus 4 Days Till Mile 1
First off, let’s hope this works…I’ve been having some trouble sharing this blog with people.
Let’s start at the beginning and maybe I can eliminate a few questions people ask me every single day. My name is Tim Sundquist and I am going to hike the Appalachian Trail beginning on 29, April 2016. I leave MN on the 27th (oddly the day after my golden birthday as my mum continuously reminds me) and will attempt to hike the entire 2200 miles/14 states/five months of the trail. This is commonly referred to as a, “thru-hike,” and, naturally, if I complete it I will forever be a thru-hiker. Wish me luck, SERIOUSLY, wish me luck.
There are a lot of questions people ask me concerning my hike, though generally they think I’ll be eaten by a bear or told, “You’ve got a perdy mouth,” while hearing distant banjo music (no, I haven’t seen Deliverance and don’t plan to until my return). Let’s all hope and probably pray that doesn’t happen, though it would make for interesting blog material, I’m sure… Anyways, on to the more serious questions. The number one question, and it’s always phrased this way, “So, are you going with a group or…?” No, I am going alone. At this point I sound like a broken record saying that I would probably lose my mind if I had to deal with another person for five months, I’m a fairly solitary person by nature and have never enjoyed hiking in a group as much as I do by myself. That being said, it is important for me to say that nearly 2000 people attempt the A.T. every year so there are a fair amount of other hikers around. I won’t be lonely, don’t worry about me. “Where will you be sleeping?” Generally in three-walled shelters peppered along the trail every 10-20 miles or so with an overhanging roof and a wooden platform to sleep on. I’ll be telling all about the mice encounters if everything I’ve read is half-true. Besides that, I will reach a town every three-five days though sometimes that means hitching a ride and returning to the trail after resupplying and occasionally staying in a hotel/hostel/work-for-stay household/etc. I do also have an ultra-light tent weighing in at about two and a half pounds complete with homemade ground tarp which I can use as a lean-to in inclement weather if necessary. “How do you get your food? How often?” First, my mother is my, “trail-buddy,” so she will be sending me packages containing everything from our homemade beef jerky to all of the wonderful books so many of you have donated to me (thank you all so much!!!). She will not, however, be able to completely supply me with food, even considering the $400 we just spent at Costco so I will be purchasing a fair amount on the trail. There are lots of places along the trail that will hold mail for hikers, mostly post offices and outfitters. I should say here if anyone would like to write me, send me anything, or for whatever reason want something to reach me please contact my mum – [email protected] and she will be more than happy to include them in my next mail drop.
Side note: It is estimated to cost around $5000 for the entire trip and I have done everything to save as much as possible. This is the reason I set up a GoFundMe (thank you again to all of you who have so generously donated to my hike) and if push comes to shove I will be carrying my trusty plastic high-interest backup plan aka credit card…
“Are you bringing a gun?” No. I do not own one and although I feel it would probably be prudent to have one, I also have weight to consider. By the way, THAT is the number one concern in most of my decisions of what to bring and what not to — WEIGHT RULES. I do, thanks again to my wonderful mother, have a device called Spot which can be used as an emergency beacon and send my current location via satellite to anyone who would like to follow my progress (links to follow in the future). I do have a very sharp, fairly large knife to ward off any would-be hillbilly bandits. Cross your fingers and I’ll cross mine.
One thing I should address is my trail name. By tradition, every (more or less) hiker has a name they go by on the trail, some chosen by other hikers and some decided ahead of time. I am going with, “Library,” because I read so damn much. I can frequently be found reading at a coffee shop or my local pub if I’m not sitting on my own front porch. I do have to give credit to Charles French, a good friend of mine, for that one. Thanks Charles! I will be signing all of my posts as, “Library,” so please don’t be confused!
I’ve exhausted my list of basic questions I’m sick of answering so I suppose this is the end of my first blog, I’ve never done this before so bare with me. Any and all questions please send to my Facebook (I created it yesterday so I apologize if we aren’t friends yet. Search, “Tim Sundquist,” and I’ll accept your request). I will be posting pictures there only and primarily blogging only here, though I may post of FB from time to time.
Thank you to everyone for reading! You have all been so supportive and encouraging and, quite frankly, without all the support it would be much harder for me to do this.
Till next time,
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