Week One On the Trail
Week One on the Trail: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Truly Incredible
One of my main concerns with my thru hike was starting in March with the potential for cold weather. However, by pushing out much further, I knew that I risked not getting to Katahdin before they close Baxter State Park. Based on some trail journals I read and a tip from a friend who had to postpone her hike this year, we decided to stay at the Blood Mountain Cabins and shuttle to and from the trail to get started
#1 – The week of March 23, the weather was all over the place. We had lots of sun and (almost too) warm weather, followed by nasty, cold rain. We didn’t really slack pack, but carried about two-thirds of our full pack weight to get us acclimated. The cabins were wonderful to come home to. We still ate our trail food, but enjoyed a hot shower and warm bed each night. Oh, and wine. Lots of Three-Buck Chuck!
#2 – I am so very grateful that the instructors at the MVP gym got me squatting. In addition to improving strength it has made PITW so much easier.
#1 – Because we needed a pickup at the end of the day, we always felt like we were under a deadline. It was really hard to know just how far we could go in how much time. Like many folks I found the downs as hard or harder than the ups in many ways. I thought I left the corporate world to get away from pressure and deadlines, but I found I was also having them on the trail, largely of my own making.
# 2 – I am also a shoe-in for the slowest hiker that ever lived. Because it is taking so long to get where I am going, I haven’t had many opportunities to blog or meditate.
#1 – Blisters! I am definitely blister prone. Pretty much always have been. However, I had found some boots a couple of years back that gave me no troubles at all. I wore them doing the Approach Trail about a year and a half ago and had no blisters whatsoever. The last time I wore them before the AT was for a shakedown hike in January. They felt smaller an I wondered if working out with a weight vest had already made my feet a little bit bigger. So I was concerned that these boots might now be a bit too small. I ordered a new pair of the same type just half a size larger and I brought both pair with me. I had really hoped that the old boots would be fine, and I could mail the new ones home for when they inevitably wore out but that was not to be the case. Changing to the new boots and properly taping my feet really helped eliminate all of the blisters and they healed pretty quickly.
#2 – Wet!!!!! On Sunday we hiked from Tesnatee Gap to Low Gap. Being the slowest hiker on the planet, there was no room at the inn, e.g. shelter. We filtered water, made dinner and set up our tents. I didn’t do such a great job of staking mine and some rain got in. We broke camp in the rain and started hiking toward Unicoi. The weather was supposed to clear, but it stayed misty until mid afternoon. I was concerned about a damp bag, wet tent and damp sleep shirt drying in time. I decided to grab a shuttle into Hiawassee and dry out.
The Truly Incredible
#1 – The unbelievable majesty and awe of the AT. The views that go on for miles and miles on a clear day, the eerie mist on a foggy morning, the colors of the sunsets, the flowers beginning to bloom… It is truly humbling to think of all that went into making this wonderful trail.
#2 – My hiking partner BonBon. When I had blisters she helped me with laundry and getting me cups of tea. When I got wet she let me warm up in her bag and tent and made me a hot breakfast. Plus she made me totally laugh out loud more times than I can count.
The first week has been amazing! Onward!
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.