**forgot to mention. While in Stover Creek one hiker mentioned that there was a big rain storm coming and it would be best to get to the first town. Heavy rains and semi high winds I was told.
About an hour after the first guy left and a group of three people left I headed out on my first fifteen mile hike. One reason I left early is cause when I got to Stover Creek shelter it was starting to get dark. So, I wanted to make sure I had enough daylight to get there plus I was lower on food than expected since I ate some the first night. I did rather well for a while. Got some good time on flat spots until I got to Blood Mountain.
Its the first hard mountain to conquer. I’m not sure if going up was harder than going down. Some of the angles going up we’re about 60-70° with stairs that some were as high as 1ft/30cm. Going down was a little different. Some spots the angle was the same
however the drops were much more. Some were from 1ft/30cm to 2ft/61cm. After getting over this monstrosity and I saw the first shop we came to I was excited. More or less because I could take my backpack off and give my shoulders and back a nice break. I heard there were some mountain rentals available and filling fast so someone let me use their phone so I could call and reserve before I lost out. Once I got the reservation, I decided to go down there so I could drop my things and rest.
When I walked up to where the office was at I noticed it was the basement of this mountain house and it looked a lot like an old country store. A lot like the country stores in the mountains of North Carolina. The people who ran the place lived above the office. I told the lady at the counter that I was there for two nights. Since that storm was coming I didn’t mind taking a zero day (zero day meaning no hiking) after all I was so sore from Blood Mountain. Got the keys, some pizza they made there and some eggs and bacon for breakfast the following day. Walking back to the cabin I was hurting. However I was excited. I had a whole pizza and cabin. The pain didn’t feel like it was there. The cabins were small.
When you walked in the stairs were close to the front door and to the left was a bedroom. A very small bedroom with barely enough room for a queen sized bed, night stand and dresser. In fact looking at it from the family room they just added the wall and roof to make the room. The upstairs had the same stuff but looked like it had a bit more room. The rest of the house had plenty of room to move around. It looks like a nice little get-away house.
I put the pizza down, took my shoes off and sat on the couch. I started devouring it. Two slices down and my body is still highly stressed out from the backpack so I decide to take a shower. There is something about taking a shower and afterwards feeling like a million dollars. Boy oh boy did I feel like a million dollars. I went and ate three more slices. I started to feel full and also realized I didn’t have anything to eat for my zero day other than breakfast so I saved the rest.
Last weekend I started my journey across the Appalachian Trail. First day I arrived later than I wanted. I got my pack weighted (35lbs/15.87kg). People seemed impressed how light my pack was. I was given a few rules and regulations which I knew them already but I let him say it anyways. We got a few pics and I started my ascent toward the Amicalola Falls. It was a lot of steps to climb up and I kept getting tired cause of all the weight on my back. I finally made it to the top and a lady asked me if I was thru hiking the AT. I told her I was and she wished me luck with her friend. She asked me to rub her necklace (I’m guessing for good luck) which was a small hat. She told me it was* necklace. So I rubbed it and said thank you and continued my journey. It started getting dark fast. As I struggled to get to Springer Mountain quickly. I wasn’t able to make it and found some people setting up for the night. I asked if I could stay with them and they didn’t mind. So I started to set up my tent and get things ready for the night. I still was not sure what I’m getting myself into but I was taking it all in. Made some dinner and talked with them about random things. They were in the woods hoping that the lord would talk to one of them. I’m guessing he had some issues he wasn’t sure what to do about the situation.
*I’m thinking it was some famous hiker
The next morning it was raining. I knew it was going to rain and started to figure out what I needed to do to get my day started. Once I got down where I was planning to go for the day I started getting ready. Got everything packed in my backpack and came out of the tent to get it all packed. It wasn’t bad the first night with everything despite it raining. I left early in the morning around 7:00ish. The hike to Springer was way more intense that I thought it was going to be. The more I struggled and made my assent the more I didn’t feel like
I was making much ground and then finally I made it. I put my backpack down and grabbed my camera and took a few pics. I had finally made it to the top of Springer Mountain and the journey began. As I was putting my camera away another hiker came up. She took a
few pics and we chatted a little bit then she left. The rain was light but was off and on. I looked at the clock and my thru-hikers’ guide and figured I could make it to Stover shelter. I had a few hours of sunlight so I figured why not. When I arrived the sun was just setting. I was greeting but a few more thur hikers. Got some names (I’m horrible with remembering names) and got my stuff set up in the shelter. The shelter was pretty nice. Water was a little bit of a walk but the privy(bathroom) wasn’t far. This shelter was a double decker.
Meaning hikers could sleep on top and bottom. I’m not sure how many this one could hold but we had about ten people in there. There was also a few empty flat spots so people could set their tents up if the shelter was full. That night I didn’t sleep well. A rain storm was coming in people started getting ready for bed. I quickly got something to eat and I went to bed. I laid there a while trying to sleep but my shoulders and back were sore from all the hiking and high steps I had to take cause of the size of some of the rocks. I then remembered my meditative breathing and started doing that and then passed out.
I woke up off and on during the night because of the rain storm and also trying to get use to my sleeping gear. It’s nothing like a bed.
Early the next morning I was up at my normal time and tried to go back to sleep. I woke up again only an hour later noticing a fellow hiker packing his stuff up to get his day ready. I laid there a while and though why not. So I got up and started packing my stuff up. It was going to be my first full day on the AT and I was fully charged. My back and shoulders were not hurting nearly as bad as I thought they were going to. Planned out where I would head to next. Originally, I had planned to hike 15 miles/24 km a day but they first day kinda messed that up so since I was fresh I might as well try that first long stretch. I pulled out my trusty hikers’ companion and calculated where that would put me which was at Gooch mountain shelter.
That’s all I have for now. Going to tend to some things but plan on posting more later today.
Some people wonder why someone would want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Everybody has their reason’s why they do it or any great feat. Sometimes it’s personal and sometimes its to see if they can. Sometimes it might be facing demons they didn’t think they could face and when they do it’s doesn’t seem as bad as they made it out to be in their heads. Well here are some of my reason’s why I’m hiking the trail.
- I’ve never done anything like this before.
- Inspiration comes in many forms.
- I want to motivate people to do more out of life and get more value in their lives.
- Hiking is my therapy and I feel a connection with nature.
- It was the last adventure I was planning before my mom passed. In a way I’m doing it for her.
- I feel a connection with nature.
- I haven’t really lived my life the way I have been wanting to.
- I’ve never seen this country on foot.
- I have more freedom than I did before. I plan to keep it that way.
- Cause why not?
When hiking you need a great backpack. You can get lots of great information online but getting your hands on it and feeling the material is always a plus for me not to mention pictures can be tricky at times. Believe me I know. I do a lot of photography. Once you get something that fits you right here are a few tips you’ll need to know on your backpack plus a few other tips.
- The hip belt carries about 70-80% of the pack weight (wish this was on my backpack when I was going to school). Have this tighter than any belt on your backpack. If not then you’ll have more weight pulling down on your shoulders and back thus resulting in a painful hike. You might quit before you get a good start.
- The hip belt should be about three fingers below the belly button.
- If you notice on your backpack you have a check strap. It has a whistle on it. Three blows from this and it will indicate to nearby hikers that you need help.
- When you stop for the night be sure to do some leg stretching. This will help you prevent from getting leg cramps while you sleep.
- People have a few ways of cooking food along the trail. I’m going to be taking the pocket rocket and with that you’ll need some fuel. A medium gas canister (230g) will last you about 2-3 weeks. Depending on your usage.
- Some people will use denatured alcohol and a tuna can instead to cook their food. You can use alcohol rubbing strips as well. Here is more information on that here. Remember to know what your doing before you do it. You don’t want to burn yourself, others or the woods.
- When your hiking with your water reservoir, use a three liter bag but fill it only with two liters. This way it will evenly flatten out the water in the bag so you won’t have a huge bulge in your backpack.
- It the last list I mentioned hanging your food in a tree from bears. This video will show you how. This method can also be used on the AT as well as other hiking trails as long as there are trees around.
I hope both these lists help you in your future hiking adventure.
As I’ve been reading I’ve been learning lots of different tips before I hit the trails that will defiantly help out. I also am writing this down because I know later on I’ll come back because I can’t find my notes. I try to disconnect myself from technology when possible so I do things the old school way and write things down on paper vs the computer.
- When getting shoes/boots get a half to full size bigger than you normally get. This will help your toes from hitting the front of your shoes/boots when hiking (especially down hill)
- Trekking poles will help with your balance and stability. I have asked lots of hikers (past and present) on if they used trekking poles and they all said it helped them greatly from falling and/or eased the pressure on their knees.
- Before you cross a river make sure you unbuckle your waste strap and chest strap. If you happen to fall in the water you can easily take your pack off without going with your pack. Some water currents can get pretty brutal so watch out.
- Never get shoes that are stiff from the toe to heel. The trail isn’t fast and it will result in more foot injuries and issues which can slow your progress.
- Hang your food bag each night in a tree away from where you sleep incase bears come in your camp site. Keeping your food in a bag helps with looking for it and keeps it all together. Also remember to take your rope about twenty five feet should be enough.
- Using Permethrin helps repelling ticks and other critters up to forty two days and is for gear only. Use products with deet only on yourself to get the mosquito’s and other flies away from you.
- When washing your sleeping bag, down sleeping bags need to be washed in a front loader only. Top loaders with the center agitator can tear the baffles that hold the compartments that hold the feathers.
- Nikwax is used when washing to retain the oils in the feathers in any clothing/sleeping bag.
- When it comes to drying your down sleeping bag, use two tennis balls on delicate heat. The tennis balls prevent the feathers from clumping which can cause a loss in loft. I’m not sure if this is the same for down clothing. Please send comments if this is the same.
- If you feel the need to rest then rest. It’s not a race so enjoy your time with nature. It has much to teach you.
- Don’t multi task while hiking. You can easily stub your toe on a rock or walk off the ledge if your fiddling with your phone or trying to get something out of one of your side pockets in your backpack.
- It will rain on you, a lot so prepare for the rain. It’s best to keep things in separate bags. Food bag, Sleeping bag bag (last thing you want to do is sleep in a wet sleeping bag), tent bag, ect..
As I continue to read I’ll make and post more tips to help future hikers.
For the sponsors that responded I greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps plus I get to try different things that I never heard of before. Which will aid me in future backpacking adventures. I do plan to have many, many more.
So this week I started emailing fifteen outdoor companies each day to see about getting a sponsorship. I have looked at some of the emails I got back and most of them are either, “Sorry were out of the office until __ date. We will get back with you after the holiday’s” or “Sorry we are not looking for any sponsors at this moment” or something along those lines. Which doesn’t really bother me since I know this is just a numbers game. Out of the 105 companies I am going to email I am hoping to get at least two sponsors out of this. So please keep sending me your “No’s” cause I know that “Yes” is just around the corner. I also went down to the American Heart Association to see if they could sponsor me as well in memory of my parents who both passed away from heart failure. I will start looking at all the emails later this weekend and sort them all out. If this is what I want to do this is what I have to do. For most successful people the large majority of people don’t see this line of work. All the stuff that needs to be done before the bigger things start unfolding.
It has finally started to get cold in my area. FINALLY! I can test out some of the other gear I have before I immerse myself in the wilderness. See how well it holds up to some of the conditions I get into outside. I have also been reading the book, “The Thru Hikers Secret” and so far its been interesting read. I’ll give a review when I get finished.