Our SOBO Hike Starts in a Place We Love

In three weeks from yesterday we will be packing up our truck, Jose, and driving the road back to New Hampshire.  We have been burning the candle at both ends for months in preparation for this trip between fixing up our house, selling our stuff, acquiring new gear, and spending way too much time on WhiteBlaze.  We have finally quit our jobs and are looking for someone to rent our home.  Shit is getting real.

Why We Are Hiking

We both grew up in New England valuing the outdoors and hiking, so naturally we both have had aspirations of hiking the AT since childhood.  When we sat down a few years ago to compile a bucket list, hiking the trail was the third item on it.  There are currently 141 items on said list.  As we reviewed the list a couple of summers ago we came to the realization that if we want to accomplish the trail before we have kids, we needed to get on it,  We made the decision then and there that the summer of 2018 was AT or bust.

 

Why SOBO?

We have decided to attempt the trail SOBO for a few reasons.  First, during a wilderness ethics class Angie took at the local community college she wrote her final paper about conversation on the AT.  In her research she found that the popularity of the trail has been exploding in recent years.  While awareness and excitement for the trail is fantastic, the increased usage is taking a serious toll on it.  The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) suggests that hiking SOBO or as a flip flop is one of the easiest ways to lessen your impact.  By doing a better job of dispersing hikers along the trail we can prevent larger groups from all reaching the same stretches of trail and campsites at the same time, which gives the areas around the trail time to recover.  Additionally, we figure going in the opposite direction will afford us some extra alone time and allow us to avoid the party scene a bit.  It is kind of cool to think that we will encounter the vast majority of this year’s NOBO hikers too.  While taking the 100-Mile Wilderness and the Whites first will be a huge challenge we feel confident as this is our home turf.  Living and playing in the heart of the Rocky Mountains also gives us the opportunity to go on longer and more challenging hikes with relative frequency.  Choosing to hike SOBO does mean that we will be finishing our hike at a less dramatic terminus, but as with any adventure it is the journey, not destination, that matters most.  Plus, we are hoping to catch a  Widespread Panic show somewhere in Georgia when we finish.

 

Concerns and Anxieties

There is something about quitting our jobs to sleep in a tent that has us wondering if we have made the right decision.  Of course we have.  Naturally, though, there are plenty of concerns and anxieties that we are faced with and trying to deal with and mitigate as best we can.  There are the obvious hardships that everyone encounters.  Being away from home, family and friends, ticks, and a lack of income.  But we also have some unique hurdles to worry about as well.  Angie has Celiac disease, so we have to take access to gluten free food into account as we plan our mail drops.  To minimize Angie’s risk of being glutened we are doing a lot more meal planning and prep than your average hiker.  Angie has also recently been working through some Achilles tendinitis that we need to watch.  Out of everything, though, our biggest concern is the humidity.  During our typical summer we see average temps in the mid 70s with 10 to 20 percent humidity, tops.  We’re now talking 90s with 90 percent humidity.  Are you kidding me?  We might as well be at the gates of hell.  JD sweats just from breathing when we visit family in New Hampshire in the summer.  He is going to have the backne of a 17 year old. And poor Angie.  Poor, poor Angie has to share a tent with that.  There are definitely going to be days so muggy that JD will make it rain inside the tent.  Trench foot is a real concern.

Send It

All of this, though, is not enough to detour us from accomplishing our goal of thru-hiking the AT.  There are still countless reasons that keep us moving forward everyday.  For starters, we said we were going to do it.  Anyone who knows us will tell you that when we commit to something we attack it full send.  This is seriously the opportunity of a lifetime.  This is going to be six months of daily physical and mental challenges.  Six months of no housework!

We typically judge the success of a summer by whether or not we can get 30 nights in a tent.  That number is going to be blown out of the water, so by that measure we are already winning.  In addition to that we are going to get to spend a significant amount of time in the Whites, one of our favorite places.  We get to start in Maine.  Maine is the shit!  We are going to meet up with family and old friends we don’t get to see much and we are going to make hundreds of new friends.  To be quite frank, we think this is an extremely good use of time.

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Comments 22

  • Ruth morley : May 17th

    Good luck to you! It sounds like you two have plenty of experience to be able to handle this. I also need to eat gluten free, although not because of celiac. I ended up spending many months dehyrafting my meals. But during my month on the AT in Virginia last year, I saw lots of good food opportunities in stores. I hope to see you out there, when a hip thing I’m battling right now let’s me get out there again. I look forward to following your adventure.

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 17th

      Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for your comment, we are so excited to be on the Trek and starting our hike so soon. I am so relieved to hear you found a lot of Gluten Free options on the trail. I have been dehydrating as much as I can but have found it to be very time consuming. I hope to see you on the trail when your hip is better! -Angie

      Reply
  • Tish and Cal : May 17th

    You guys are going to rock it! We’re excited to follow along!

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thank you! Hoping to connect with you in VT.

      Reply
  • Lynn Fritz : May 17th

    I’ll be following your adventure and looking forward to seeing you a few days before you begin. I’ll keep the prayers going every step of the way!

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thanks Lynn! We are looking forward to spending some time with you in Ohio on our trip back home. We will keep you posted on when to expect us 🙂 – Angie

      Reply
  • Leigh and Scott : May 17th

    Excited for this venture! You two got this! Love ya!

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thank you for all of your support! and for shipping us packages!! -Angie

      Reply
  • Nanook : May 17th

    Hey Guys,
    While I’m not starting my SOBO hike till July 19, hope to read some of your hiker log entries along the way.
    Take care and have a great trip!
    Nanook

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thanks Nanook! We probably won’t cross paths, so best of luck on your hike. Happy Trails! – Angie

      Reply
  • Marty Wilcox : May 17th

    JD and Angie, I cannot wait to follow along with you on this adventure! I admire and envy your plans.. Thank you for taking us along! Be safe; eat well; stay healthy.

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thanks for the well wishes Marty! We hope our writing is something you want to continue to read 🙂 – Angie

      Reply
  • Lau : May 17th

    Way to go Robinson’s! Can’t wait to follow the journey! Make sure to pack the Old Bay 🙂

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      POPCORN ALL DAY

      Reply
  • Bob Beiswenger : May 18th

    Good luck you two! Can’t wait to read about your progress.

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thanks Bob! We are excited you are following along! – Angie

      Reply
  • Scott & Jessica Miller : May 18th

    Sounds like an epic adventure! Wishing y’all a successful trip. You are bound to make lifelong memories. Can’t wait to follow your progress! XOXO

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thanks Jess and Scott! We are SO excited to get this going after many months of planning. Miss you! – Angie

      Reply
  • Jacqui : May 18th

    So rad !!!!! Stoked for you both. Have a blast and be safe.

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thank you! Congrats on the upcoming nuptials, hope to see you when we are home. – Angie

      Reply
  • Norm Conolly : May 18th

    Angie & JD you have nerves of steel and with the name of Robinson don’t get stranded. A book of adventure must be forthcoming, what a life we who have dreamed of and you lovely couple who did it all. Love and prayers for a safe healthy journey. Norm

    Reply
    • Jangie : May 18th

      Thank you for the kind words, Norm. It is a bit risky but we are confident we will land on our feet again. We are excited you will be following along with our journey. -Angie

      Reply

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