Two months in: What works, what doesn’t

Hot mess @ ATC HQ

Currently reporting in from AT HQ here in Harper’s Ferry.  So far things have been going pretty well and there’s not a lot of things I’ve needed to shake up.  So I’ll just report on some tweaks in the last 500ish miles.

What works:

Everything from before

Not a lot of changes so far.  I had a pair of Darn Tough socks partially wear out, but haven’t been able to replace them yet.  I replaced my Altra Lone Peaks and my merino dress due to holes but they were understandable after a couple hundred miles of walking.

Oatmeal + PB (or nut-B)

I had to do two resupplies on trail and decided to try oatmeal for breakfast since I had a tendency to have low energy at times.  Before this I was eating just snacks and bars. In real life I don’t really eat breakfast foods for breakfast- I don’t really like them.  2-3 packets of oatmeal plus a spoon of almond butter is pretty much the jam.  I have much better energy.  The only thing is that I have to buy the oatmeal when I get to town.  It’s been nice to not have to think about grocery shopping in town, just picking up my box, so it’s a touch annoying to have to arrange this.  I am not doing oatmeal this week though so we’ll see what it’s like to go back to the old ways.

Mashed ‘taters

The meals I dehydrated have rocked out.  I don’t mean to sound egotistical, but my meals are the best ones on trail.  Fact 🙂

Unfortunately I miscalculated a little on my appetitite so I’ve had to supplement them with something for extra calories.  The easiest has been to add some mashed potato flakes.  They’re easy to find on trail and still grain-free (potentially paleo depending on who you ask).  At any rate they are super yummy.  I will continue to use these.

PS!  For a little inspiration, here are my dinners: Buckwheat “spaghetti” arrabiata soup (I end up adding too much water), Tom Yummy soup (dehydrated veg, dehydrated coconut milk, dehydrated green curry paste, ginger powder, lime juice powder, SeaBear salmon packet), Modern German mashed potatoes (potato flakes, dehydrated kale and chard with za’atar seasoning, dehydrated sauerkraut, dehydrated chickpeas), I-don’t-know-what-to-call-it (dehydrated grass-fed beef, dehydrated coconut milk, almond butter, tomato powder, garlic powder, dehydrated mashed cauliflower), Turkey Mole Chili (dehydrated refried beans, tomato powder, ancho chili powder, dried garlic and onion, dehydrated pastured turkey)


Luckily I acquired the trail name Haiku and not Epic Norse Saga.  I can manage seventeen syllables per day; this stresses me out much less than the idea of writing a series of blog posts.  I may go back and do that in the future, but for now you can check out my writing at Haiku Hikes.

What doesn’t work:


I’ve gotten a bit bored with taking pictures.  I don’t really like taking pictures and am basically doing it because of a sponsorship agreement I have.  It’s actually been cool and I’m glad I have that motivation, but I’ve gotten lazy about it.

Comparing myself to others

My version of Virginia Blues was comparing myself to the other hikers in my little bubble (which actually I think is either between or ahead of some main bubbles).  The other hikers hike a lot faster than me with more ease; I am a solid 2mph hiker who really has to go all day to do similar miles.  I got separated from this group and after a while I got into a better headspace.  I also did an aquablaze one day to switch things up, and doing 27 miles in 8 hours on the river really gave me some confidence.  I took some time a couple days to go into town for a few hours and I still managed to get a good number of miles in.  I will continue to do this and not freak out so much about getting finished on time (I’ve got to be done mid-August)- I’ve done the math and I’m actually right on schedule.  Also I hiked the 20 miles from Bear’s Den hostel to the ATC center in Harper’s Ferry in 9 hours, which for me was really good.  All in all, I’m in a much better headspace than a couple weeks ago and really looking forward to the next few weeks on trail.


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Comments 6

  • Grit : Jun 9th

    Great update! Where did you buy the merino wool dress?

    • Dawn : Jun 9th

      I bought it on Ebay.

  • Grit : Jun 9th

    Forgot to ask, how many liters us your backpack and base weight? Thx!

    • Dawn : Jun 9th

      My backpack is the medium-sized Zpacks zero (36L) and i think it also has 9L in the back mesh pocket.

    • Dawn : Jun 9th

      Sorry forgot baseweight. Should be under 9lbs still- it was 8.6 i believe at the start, my diy sandals broke and my new ones are heavier but not sure by how much. I got rid of one or two 1-2 oz things also.

  • Brandon Chase : Aug 20th

    Did you ever do your write-up about sponsorships? Would love to hear more about that!


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