Top 10 Things to Look Forward to on the AT!
Top 10 on the AT
The Appalachian Trail is full of ups and downs, magnificent views, friendship and shelter mice… probs mostly mice, lets be honest. I plan to sift through the ups and downs on my quest for good ‘ol Mount Katahdin. Here’s my top ten list of things that tickle my bloomers, look for them in your own hike!
10. Being Outside ALWAYS
It’s no secret that I can’t wait to live in the great outdoors. Currently, I spend 87% percent of my time in a big black box. Bonding with nature seems like a great way to clear my head. With the walls of the typical way of living nonexistent, I feel this is a great time to explore the importance of being a good neighbor, which leads me to ear plugs. Past trips have taught me that ear plugs are worth their weight in gold… so not that much, because they’re just foam? No, they’re important. Get them, they’re like .0000001 ounces.
9. Talking to Animals
As many people are well aware, once you pass Fontana Dam, you’re powers allowing you to talk to animals kick in. Possible advantages I’m looking out for are as follows.
- “Yogi Bearing” people with actual bears. That’s talking bears into stealing pik-ah-nik baskets from unsuspecting day hikers, or other bears, which ever comes first.
- Re-enacting the scene from Emperor’s New Groove with real squirrels.
- Commanding sparrows to do my laundry like Snow Freaking White.
Please ensure to use these powers for good, not evil.
8. Living a Real Life Head and the Heart Song
Hoping to live out “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart for obvious reasons I suppose. This song means a lot to me as it sums up my over all philosophy and wanderlust. “A year from now we’ll all be gone, All our friends will move away, And they’re going to better places, But our friends will be gone away”. <— Those few phrases speak to me on some level I’m not sure about yet, but I like it. I have a love hate relationship with the feeling of meeting new people, befriending them, knowing them, helping them, and then saying goodbyes, knowing you and those people are off to greater things. It puts things in perspective for me. All things good must end, but that simply means you have to find more, different good things.
7. Limited Contactability
So the AT leaves us high and dry when it comes to technology? Perhaps. I’m sure I’ll be able to find some cell reception along the trail, but I won’t really be looking for it most days. I want this experience to be as close to nature and the cool ass new people I’m going to meet as possible. Work emails will be slim to none and I won’t have to deal with the constant nagging of wishing people a happy birthday on Facebook, because ain’t nobody got time for that on the trail. That being said, Facebook and Tinder at my finger tips will likely cheapen the outdoor experience anyway. I will however, keep up my Appalachian Trials blog and Instagram profile. Maybe I’ll answer the occasional phone call and text to make sure my family knows I’m not dead. But, that means, sorry ladies, big Kev’s goin’ off the grid, out of the tinder game for his duration of the trail. I hope I can make that permanent actually…
6. Zero Gluttony Guilt
Being a thru hiker means we have an excuse to over eat, if you could ever call it that. Requiring about 4500 calories per day, we HAVE to eat everything and anything we can get our hands on. This takes us off the hook of breaking one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Remember, a 20 ounce steak is next to godliness, that’s what I always say.
Worried about that tummy? Tough toenails, odds are it’ll be a washboard of steel by the time you’re done. People will need your rock hard abs to sharpen knives or use as an anvil by the time you’re done. Losing all the weight is easy, just be careful not to gain it all back when you’re off in the real world. Zach Davis has a great article on it right over —-> HERE
5. Snipe Hunting
The long talked about Snipe hunt. Let me take you back to summer camp amid the smells of camp fires, crisp Pine Trees and absent showers. You’re along side a scummy pond reminiscent Crystal Lake from the movie, “Friday the Thirteenth”, maybe doing some fishing, then you head to your bunk. You and other campers go out in the middle of the night upon the suggestion of an older friend to find a Snipe by mimicking it’s call which sounds like a chainsaw and blue jay call jumbled together and clapping your hands three times. Sometimes, wearing butter and maple syrup in your hair can tend to attract it as well. I CAN NOT wait to get out on the trail and LOOK for a snipe. “Wait, Kevin, what’s that word in all caps you just typed, LOOK, about”? Well loyal reader, I’m glad you asked. Looking for a snipe opposed to hunting one is key to life on the trail and on most wilderness adventures. As Leave No Trace “LNT” principle No. 6 dictates, RESPECT THE FUCKING WILDLIFE. Hunting while on the trail, with resupply towns a short hitch away is not LNT, not to mention pretty dangerous with hikers around all the time. Fishing might fall into this category too, but most areas of the AT allow fishing and hunting anywhere near the trail is bad news bro a thousand times over.
Anyway, Snipe hunting. It exists, do it guys. Take pics, send them to me.
4. ‘Dem Mountain Views
Arguably a major portion of the reason I’m embarking on this adventure is for the views. Mountain views will never cease to get my blood flowing. Looking out from a mountain peak has to be my very most favorite thing. I like anyone else am just in pursuit of my passions. Are my passions simple? Yes, but who needs complicated passions when they’re 22 years old. Maybe when I’m 40, I can be a CEO, but for now, I’m hiker trash.
3. Hiking Challenges
Aside from the obvious challenge of making it 2100 plus miles to one end of the country or the other, there, in the darkness lie different kinds of challenges that test the very fiber of human being to the end. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with many, so here are a few of my favorites.
- 12 Packing– A simple challenge involving you and anyone who will participate. Start this game as you’re leaving town in the early morning. Each participant buys a 12 pack of beer of his or her choice and has to carry it with them. Determine a starting point. From then on, every mile hiked, a beer has to be downed. KEEP ALL EMPTIES WITH YOU. last one to finish a beer at mile 12 has to do a hiker dare. Get creative, however, my favorite is to carry the rest of the players empties to the recycle bin, where ever it may be in the next town. Disclaimer- In no way to I advocated heavy drinking on the trail, this one is just for fun, I wouldn’t actually try this. Think of others before any partying on the trail.
- Trash Pickup– The best challenge to play on the trail. I mean, we all should be constantly participating in this one :). TP works by you and who ever else participating picking up trash along the trail. The one with the most trash before the first trashcan you come across, wins. Winners traditionally win a round of drinks, giving a loser any item in their pack to carry that day, or trail karma!
- Music Man/Woman– Also a simple game. Each player can only speak in song lyrics or song titles for a set amount of time. Guaranteed to keep you thinking. Conversations get interesting when you limit the game to one specific genre. Start out easy with Classic Rock, the work you’re way up to Heavy Metal Death Screamo.
2. Meeting New Friends
No matter where you are on the trail, new friends and in some cases, family will be about, ready for the picking. To maximize new friend interactions ensure you have shareable snacks on hand and introduce yourself with a smile. Smell will have almost zero impact on new relationships… at least with other thruhikers. The AT is like one huge family always looking out for one another. Everyone will fit in and everyone will have a great time, you just have to have a positive mindset and good things will follow. If you’re an introvert, I think you’ll find solace in the trail and a nice balance of people.
1. LIVING OFF OF COOKIE BUTTER
Saving the best for last ya’ll. Living off of cookie butter. What is cookie butter you may ask? Thanks to an addiction brought on by Julie Huster I can not stop eating cookie butter. Cookie butter is a beautiful substance composed of Biscoff Cookies in butter form. Think peanut butter consistency, but cookies. Trigger warnings should have been posted. Sorry. But I mean, with 90 Calories per Table Spoon, I think this stuff is great. Banana chips and other dried fruits are great when dipped in said god nectar, others have tried beef jerky and loved it… kidding about the jerky, though I am curious now… Cookie butter is available at most major stores, including Walmart.
I hope you enjoyed my top ten kids. See you out there!
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