[at-l] hike prep

rockdancer97 at comcast.net rockdancer97 at comcast.net
Thu Dec 10 08:18:10 CST 2009

I haven't followed the whole discussion so I don't know details. When I started my hike in '97 I was "going on vacation" so I could adopt the attitude of taking my time, smell the roses. (see www.trailjournals.com for RockDancer in 1997 for the day by day stuff).

I just wanted to say "start slow" and let the others you start with get ahead of you. If they stay on the trail then you will see them further along and perhaps settle into a rhythm with them. It's more important in the early days to hike your own pace in order to toughen up properly for the long run. Think of your short days as an investment. There are plenty of things to work out in the first couple of weeks so you won't be bored stopping early each day.

I just checked my mileage log and found it took me 5 days to reach Neels gap, a hike I did this past June in 3 days. In '97 it was on day 15 when I finally broke the rule and went for a double digit day & did 12.9 from Standing Indian Mtn to Big Spring Shelter (mostly downhill). I averaged about 6 miles per day for the first 2 weeks.

I'm still hiking the AT, just passed 6000 miles this summer. I still don't treat or filter my water. I fix things that are just starting to go bad rather than wait for things to get worse. My most upsetting day was finding my boots gone from a hostel one morning - so "sleep with your boots".

You can be in it for the long haul if you are patient & build up to it. My only other advice is along the line of Rhymin' Worm about cell phones and towns. I found the rhythm of being in the woods enjoyable and it was interrupted by town stops. Even now I find them a necessity rather than a luxury. True, each town stop is a bit of an adventure & some of my best stories are town stories rather than stuff about hikers, or about the people that gave me rides in/out.

Arthur Gaudet
Lowell, MA
Rockdancer97 at comcast.net
"The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true."

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