Hello fellow trekkers. Yes the day has finally arrived. April 3, 2022 begins the journey to Maine. I am writing this from Neels Gap since I didn’t have internet at Amicalola Falls State Park.
This post will be about what I know, learned and experience since my last post.
What I know…
- Family: The people in our lives are the most important thing we can ever have. They’re there during the good and bad times offering support, encouragement, guidance and a good ass kicking when needed. I want to thank my personal, LSM and Festival families for everything they have and do give me. Thanks everyone.
- I’m not ready for the trail. Yes I’ve exercised, checked my gear a hundred times, mentally prepared and did years of research. But I know once on the trail, I won’t be physically or mentally prepared until I’m doing it.
- I know myself. Yes the good, bad and ugly ( no comment Annette). With age and experience, I know how far I can push my body and mind before I need to rest. Also, I know when I’m at the breaking point and need to alter my plans.
What I’ve Learned…
- Make sure to check your backpack wearing the clothes you’ll wear on the trail before leaving home. Two weeks before I left, the weather was nice so I wore my shorts and t-shirt that I intended to wear on the trail. I immediately found out that the hip belt on my backpack was to big and I couldn’t adjust it any smaller. Suddenly, I needed a new one. Luckily, I was able to get a Zpack 50 L in time (the Zpack has interchangeable hip belts if you need to go bigger or smaller).
- Trekking poles are a must. They have saved me many times from falling and slipping. Especially, when the trail is wet, muddy or rocky and rough. Not only that, if used properly, they help going up and down hills. I learned how to use them from watching a video by Follow Bigfoot.
- Slow, steady and carefully is the best way to hike for me. Going to fast, I risk injury, run out of breath and have to stop and rest many times. By following this method, I actually gain more ground and reach my destination faster.
- Small goals. When I’m on the trail, I set a destination for the day. Then, I break the day up into small goals such as climb this mountain, reach this gap, get to this spot, etc. This gives me small accomplishments throughout the day which makes the bigger goal achievable.
- Stop as much as is needed. You have all day and months to reach your daily and long term goals. I stop every time my back pack begins to rub or just needs to be taken off for a moment. This has helped release pressure points, give my back a rest, take a snack or lunch break and gives me a mental boost. You’ll reach your destination in a much better physical and mental condition.
- When the going gets tough, remember your family. They’re cheering for you and are there with you in spirit each step of the way.
- Don’t be afraid to take a day off early in your journey. Remember, most of us are not physically or mentally prepared for such an adventure. I took my first zero day at Neels Gap. My legs were tired and sore from climbing the mountains even though I trained for 8 months. I listened to my body and hopefully by taking a zero will prevent an over use injury. Plus the day off was mentally healing too.
What I have Experienced…
- Weather: sun, rain, wind and cold. That’s life on the trail. Suck it up, was the message I got from watching videos prior to my journey. I took it to heart every day. Life is about change and adaptation. Those who can are successful.
- People: I’ve met people from many parts of the US and other countries. All have the same goal… reach Katahdin. Many of them are in their 20’s to 40’s but yes the old folks are out there but in fewer numbers. Thanks to Dixie from Homemade Wonderlust videos, I try and get a short video of some of the people I meet so that I can remember them.
- The people in the towns and areas around the trail are extremely nice and helpful. They give you great advice on places to eat, resupply, stay and places to see on and off the trail. Also they are helpful in giving you rides to and from towns.
People, memories and small goals for me make the journey worth it and a reality. Until next time… hike on.
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