May 17, 2023 : Dakota Churchill Bloggers
Websites and Actions I Took to Prepare for Hiking the Appalachian Trail
- Pre-Trail Research
- In addition to reaching out to anyone and everyone who I knew who had thru-hiked before, I studied up on what my type of hike, a Flip Flop, would look like
- Studied how I would get food on the hike and what food I would eat
- Read up on different health issues I may face while on the trail (i.e., ticks, poisonous plants, snakes…)
- Studied Leave No Trace
- Read up on different tips for Solo Female Thru-Hikers from websites such as AppalachianTrail.com, Hike&Cycle, SectionHiker which led to me taking the following precautions that you can read about in my last post Precautions I took as a solo-woman hiking the AT
- I compiled a list of emergency contacts of friends and family located on or near the AT so if anything went wrong on the trail I could know if have someone nearby
- Gear/Shakedown Hikes
- Shakedown hikes turned out to be one of the most valuable things I did in order to prep for my hike (see my posts on my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shakedown hike). A lot of gear sounds nice in theory, but in reality can be a pain in the butt!
- Learned to spray my tent and clothes with Permethrin for bug protection (with the help of my mom who has supported me in this whole trip)
- Modified my water bladder so that I can fill it up without removing it from my backpack using a sawyer attachment kit (I recommend just making sure this kit fits your bladder or you may end up like some of the angry reviewers who cut their hose only to have the kit not fit).
- Gathered some First Aid/Emergency essentials, including but not limited to:
- First Aid: zinc-oxide for butt chafing, a menstrual cup (I began using one in 2018 and I have never looked back), a Kulu pee rag and a CuloClean trail bidet, anti-itch cream for bug bites and poisonous plant rashes, tick tweezers, a small bag of corn-starch for jock itch, basic over the counter drugs such as Motrin, Benadryl , and an EpiPen for a worst case scenario
- Emergency: I created for myself a “mini sewing kit” which really was just a needle+long thread, duck tape that I wrapped around my hiking poles
- Online tools
- Appalachian Trail Database
- PostHoler A website with many helpful tools, howeverI mainly used it to create a rough estimate of my timeline on the trail. I copied and pasted this into an google sheet that I shared with family and friends so they know where I should be as time passes
- Created a LighterPack to know how much my pack would weigh.
- Websites worth bookmarking (for use both before and on the trail)
- Appalachian Trail Weather
- AT Conservancy Report an Incident
- I subscribed to Appalachian Conservancy Trail Updates
- Post Offices along the Appalachian Trail
- Utilized social media to ask questions and read others experiences
- AT Thru-Hiker Facebook Groups
- Right to Hike
- Bearfoots Appalachian Trail
- AT Women
- You can find more on my last post
- AT Thru-Hiker Facebook Groups
- Made sure my Garmin Account/GPS was ready
- I tested out my Garmin during my shakedown hikes to ensure I knew how to use it.
- Set up my emergency contacts.
- Upgraded my Garmin subscription to the Recreation plan that way I have 40+ texts/month and unlimited location requests.
- Download GPX files of the trail to upload to my Garmin.
- This was the site where I downloaded the highest resolution GPX files (39 files)
- Here is website link for GPX files that break down the trail into 19 sections (lower resolution than the link above but better if you’re tight on storage on your GPS)
- And I gave my friends/family the ability to track my location.
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