Thru-Hike To-Dos

This week doesn’t just mean Christmas for me (but I absolutely LOVE Christmas and everything about it), it also means only 3 months until I head out on the Appalachian Trail. And in those three months, I have a good number of things left to do before stepping under the arch at Amicalola.

#1. Commit to my 6-month wardrobe

Deciding on what clothes I want to carry has been the area of my gear list that fills me with the most dread. I hate making decisions. I also hate clothes shopping. Finding the right sizes and cuts to fit me is already difficult enough, as my torso is tiny and my lower half is just all kinds of disproportionate, but now I have to decide what clothes are going to be the lightest, most durable, and (at least for the first few months) the warmest. So yeah, as the queen of procrastination, I’ve put off the thing I dread the most for as long as I can. But now that my start date is quickly approaching, I really need to figure this out, cause clothes are kinda necessary.

#2. Plan or not plan my food (make the decision, and act accordingly)

Another dreaded aspect that has been significantly procrastinated. I’m pretty positive that I’m not going to send mail drops and just rely on what I can find in towns, but I’m going do some research to make sure that isn’t a stupid decision. I don’t have any dietary restrictions, so I’m hoping to be able to just wing it as I go. Winging it is my specialty.

#3. Attempt to get into better shape

Real quick note: I am not a personal trainer, or any kind of certified anything.  Another note: some people don’t train at all. They just step on the trail straight off the couch. Some don’t make it the whole way, but some do. Which is also true for people that train. I’m choosing to train as much as I can because I believe it will increase my chances of making it to Katahdin, but there’s obviously no one right way to do it.

There are many different things I am doing to train. Ab workouts. Yoga (thanks to the quarantine back in the spring for giving me time to finally learn about/explore this type of exercise). Running (which makes me question how I ever survived cross country in high school). Walking with my weighted backpack through the neighborhoods near our house. Trail hiking with my weighted pack. Multi-day backpacking trips. So all kinds of everything. I’m hoping to get at least one more backpacking trip in before I start, but we’ll see if that happens.

#4. Enjoy Christmas/time with my family

Like I said earlier, I LOVE Christmas. Easily my favorite holiday. It’s not even a close contest. I love the lights, the decorations, the music, giving presents, everything. I’m home for a few weeks right now, and so is the rest of my family, which is nice because come March I won’t see them for about half a year.

And that’s my to-do list for the next few months. I’ll share my gear list once I finally buckle down and decide on clothes. It definitely won’t be the lightest base weight on the trail, but I don’t think it’ll be the heaviest either. That’s the goal anyway. For now, Merry Christmas 🙂

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 8

  • pearwood : Dec 22nd

    Ann Marie,
    Thank you. These are good starting points for getting me thinking.
    I really, really don’t want to have to deal with the logistics of getting food resupplied, so that part is easily decided.
    Getting in shape I’m working on. With yoga, pilates, and walking increasing miles with an increasingly weighted pack. Thankfully I have lots of beautiful places close by for walking.
    My wardrobe is coming along pretty well. I’ve accumulated stuff along the way. I know what I have will keep me warm on the trail. If it can deal with upstate New York weather it can deal with anything the AT will hand me.
    Shelter and sleeping is what I haven’t figured out yet. I love my Lawson Hammock for sleeping, but it’s not light. And, by their nature, hammocks don’t have room for much other stuff in them. In inclement weather it’s nice to have a bit more room and maneuverability inside. Or I could tarp camp. I have a good UL tarp that will go with me in any case. I may well end up buying a warmer sleeping bag, too.
    I bought an REI Flash55 which I like a lot, but I’m not sure it will hold all the cold-weather bulk. Or is my perfectly fine external frame pack. It weighs more but it rides like a dream and will carry all I need and then some. I like having places to strap things on securely.
    I’m sure this will all come into better focus as the I get close enough to start counting down days, but I have not figured that out, either.
    It’s going to happen, but there is an awful lot of unknowns.

    • Ann Marie White : Dec 23rd

      I’m from South Carolina, where our winter is non-existent compared to what New York and other states get, but even our winter makes me freeze! So I’m super jealous of you for already having your clothes figured out! I’m carrying a REI 15º sleeping bag that will hopefully be warm enough in conjunction with my sleeping pad (research showed the vast majority of thru-hikers starting around the same time as I will be starting used a 15º bag). But also I think I saw that you are considering starting in June? You might could get away with a warmer bag, I’m not sure.

      Good luck getting everything figured out! If you want it bad enough (which, from your comments, it sounds like you definitely do) it’ll all come together eventually. Can’t wait to follow along when it does.

  • Stephen : Dec 22nd

    Squats. Do squats for the next three months (and also some hamstring exercises). I find leg work to be way more helpful than running. Good luck!

    • Ann Marie White : Dec 23rd

      Thanks for the advice, will definitely add those in!

  • Bruce Hall : Dec 23rd

    Use poles. They will keep your arms in shape.

    • Ann Marie White : Dec 23rd

      YES! I tried hiking poles for the first time earlier this year and they are game changers. Easily the MVP of my Foothills Trail hike (in upstate SC). They save your legs from dying and your arms from disappearing. Will definitely not be leaving them behind!


What Do You Think?