Top Ten Funniest Things People Said as I Prepared to Hike the AT

From the Practical

10. “Your pack’s too back-heavy. Maybe you should carry some stuff on your front with one of our Baby Björns?” – Brother Joe

Me with the pre-shakedown pack.

9. “Wait’ll you start stealing condiments.” – Mary Stewart Murphey, AT mentor, at the fast food place near Springer. Not stealing, per se— just taking a few extra ketchups/mustards to season the camp food.

Mary Stewart and me at Victory burger place in Dawsonville GA.

8. “Make sure you can always self-extract, before someone has to extract you.” (“Self-extract?” I ask, thinking only of vanilla extract and extractions from the facial aesthetician). “As in, capably remove yourself from the trail if you get in trouble, before we have to remove you.” – AT ridge runner Nick

ATC ridge runner Nick at Amicalola base camp.

To the Tactical

7. “Can you get one of those surrogates to carry your pack? Or, what are they called—Sherpas?” – Dad

6. “Make sure not to wear any makeup.” – Mom, when I tell her women my age are not likely to be targets for stalkers on the trail.

Mom and Dad and me on my last morning.

5. “I brought you my sleeping bag! It’s 50 years old but it’s been through a lot out there.” – Man at my church, handing me his sleeping bag that looks like it did at least one tour in Vietnam

To the Personal

4. “Wait, don’t tell me you’re a smoker. Wearing that pack and Patagonia? You’re shattering every image I had of you as a healthy outdoorswoman!” – Delta airlines counter check-in guy, when I asked if I could bring a lighter in my carry-on. (As a fire-starter.)

3. “I heard you were having a midlife crisis.” – One of my 8th grade students at church.

2. “Not that we judge people by what they have, but it’s seldom we have to move a single person in a truck so big. What are you gonna do on the Appalachian Trail?” – Man who supervised my move, when I put all my stuff in storage.

(Ahem) The moving truck.

1. “I’m great! I’m through hiking the Appalachian Trail.” – Cell phone voice-to-text function on my first day on the AT. I tried to say “thru-hiking,” but my iPhone autocorrect decided to call it quits for me ?

Day 2, I think?

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Comments 8

  • Travis Willett : Mar 20th

    I wanna do trail to. When did you start. I wanna still go this year even if later

    • Cari Pattison : Sep 23rd

      Hi Travis- belated thanks for commenting on my blog! I hope you were able to do at least part of the AT this year! I started on March 17th, and ended up getting off trail on July 22 due to a broken ankle accident while hiking in NJ. Back to finish next year! Hope you’re well.

  • jb : Mar 24th

    hey cari, may the trail rise to meet you! good decision to hike this year, as you won’t be missing much not being able to see the royals play.

    • Cari Pattison : Sep 23rd

      Belated thanks for this, JB. Can you believe, I actually did go see the Royals play this year after all? In KC last week. Since I fell and broke my ankle on trail in July, I’ve had some unexpected down time to hang with my family in Kansas City. Hope you’re well, Cari

  • Draggin’ Tail : Mar 24th

    Got a kick outta your number 7. For you see, I Thru-Hiked in 2010 at age 56 with my 18 yr old son…….. when I lived up to my trail name (Draggin’ Tail), he lived up to his (Sherpa). LOL. Hike on, embrace and enjoy!

    • Cari Pattison : Sep 23rd

      Thanks, Draggin’ Tail! Love that name 🙂 So cool that you thru-hiked with your son!! Best, Cari

  • Josh Johnson : Mar 26th

    hahahaha, The Delta employee and 8th grader win the show. That’s awesome; thx for sharing

    • Cari Pattison : Sep 23rd

      Thanks for following, Josh! – Cari


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