You’ve Got Questions, I’ve Got Answers
Today marks one month until I start my thru-hike. The closer it gets the more I find myself talking about it, and I have noticed a pattern of questions most people ask. I’ve decided to address the most common ones in a blog post so everyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to talk to me can know a little more about the Appalachian Trail and my plan.
Are You Going Alone?
Technically, yes. I am considered a solo hiker because I am starting without a partner but, have no fear, I will never be alone. I am starting at the most popular time so I should make plenty of friends and establish a tramily (trail family).
How Long Will It Take You?
It should take me roughly six months. The Appalachian Trail is 2,190.9 miles and runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. In order to finish in six months I must hike an average of 12 miles a day. Some people finish quicker and some slower; only time can tell how long it will actually take me. I start March 22 in Georgia and must finish by Oct. 15 due to park closings so those are my time constraints.
What Will You Eat and Where Will You Get Food?
Packets of tuna fish, ramen noodles, Honey Buns, and instant mashed potatoes are all very popular on the trail. I will be eating anything that doesn’t spoil easily, is relatively light, and high in calories. In order to not be malnourished I need to eat as many calories as possible because I will be burning about 5,000 calories a day. I will hitchhike into town every three to five days so I will resupply when I am there. These towns are accustomed to thru-hikers and will have what I need.
How Much Will Your Backpack Weigh?
With a full food supply and two liters of water my pack will probably weigh 30 to 35 pounds. I have a great backpack and it distributes the weight really well. I have gone on a couple walks with my pack and, knock on wood, no discomfort.
What Will You Wear; How Many Outfits Are You Bringing?
Since I am conscious of weight, and no matter what I do I will smell, I will only be bringing two outfits. I have one hiking outfit and one camping outfit. I am also bringing a puffy jacket, a fleece jacket, and rain gear.
Where Will You Shower?
Hygiene is a huge worry for a lot of people but it is the part I am most prepared for. For me showering is a necessary evil and I already don’t shave or wear deodorant, which is normal for the trail. Don’t worry, I will shower when I am in town. Plus, in the warmer months there are a lot of swimming opportunities where I can rinse my sweat off.
Are You Bringing a Gun?
No, I am not bringing a gun. The AT is a very safe environment and I choose not to live in fear. Plus, logistically speaking it is too heavy and it would be a nightmare to figure out all the laws for the 14 states I will hike in. I will have a pocket knife on me, which in the case of an emergency I could use for protection.
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