Tag Archives: hiking tips

The First Hundred Miles (Part 2)

Photo 04.03.18, 09 17 36 (2)

I continued to hike through Georgia I thought I would never make it to the boarder. I was slowly making head way. I could feel my legs had gain some strength from when I started out. I wouldn’t tire as easily as before. I was really curious as to how different the woods were going to change. I couldn’t wait to see the trees in full bloom too. Many hours later I finally made it across the boarder. I finally made it further than the 20% of the people who try this. In my opinion this is one of the many great accomplishments along the AT. Hiking this far with all the difficulties I had to deal with and encounter. It definitely changed the way I tackle things and my approach to challenges the trail gives you.

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Photo 04.03.18, 12 58 53 (1)

I continued on hiking as the evening started to come near. I few hikers that were hiking along with me ended up staying at Muskrat Creek Shelter. I decided to goto the next shelter up. I got about halfway there when I passed some hikers coming the opposite way. I asked them if they knew how much further the shelter was. They said it was up a ways but it was going to be crowded. I thought nothing of it. I have my tent after all. I proceeded forward. About an hour later I was almost to the shelter but I was getting tired not to mention the sun was starting to setting. So, I found a camp site a mile outside of the shelter I was figured on staying at. I heard people talking about solo camping and I was about to get a taste of it. 

I set my tent up on the flattest spot I could find. While I was setting up my tent I noticed a chipmunk on a dead tree about 15ft/4.5m checking me out as to what I was doing. I paid no attention to the little guy. I got everything set up and I crawled in the tent and sat there, thinking. What do I do now? Normally there are people to talk to but there is no one. I quickly got in my sleeping bag before my mind started playing tricks on me which I was already too late. I laid there waiting to goto sleep. Knowing I couldn’t goto sleep because my guard was up and I was getting stressed out. I smoked some weed hoping that would help me relax. One thing I have learned in my meditation is that deep breathing can relax you very quickly. I guess that’s why they tell people with high anxiety to breath deep so they can calm down. So I started deep breathing. I slowly started to feel by body relax. I heard the wind outside blowing and the leaves rustling. I tried to block it from my mind but I couldn’t seem to. I was getting more relaxed yet I kept hearing noises outside the tent. Paranoia starting to toy with me. Thinking that there was a large animal outside my tent. I kept hearing the leaves move around quickly then stop then go again then stop. I didn’t know what was out there but I kept my eyes closed and tried to focus on my breathing. I had the childlike mentality, out of site out of mind. The leaves got louder and louder. I knew something was coming up to my tent and fast. I just laid there frozen not knowing what I should do. Then all of a sudden something hit the tent behind my head. I quickly hit the tent wall behind my head and stayed there. Frozen with paranoia. My blood started pumping and my heart started racing. I started to try and rationalize what happened and what the hell hit the tent wall. Was my mind making it all up?  As I laid there thinking as to what it could have been I started doing some deep breathing to calm me down and get me to think clearer. In my amazement I ended up thinking it was that chipmunk that was checking me out. Not sure what to make of the tent he was probably cautiously coming to the tent. When he his the tent I scared him by hitting the wall back. I didn’t hear any more noises other than what the wind was doing to the leaves. 

I woke up with the shining of a somewhat full moon. I wasn’t sure what time it was since it was cold and my phone wasn’t working right. Lithium batteries hate cold wether. I laid there for a few minutes mentally preparing myself for the day. I was going to get my first 100m/160km and there was going to be a really steep incline I would have to overcome too, Mt. Albert. I got out of my sleeping bag and made some oatmeal. I quickly ate that and started packing everything up. I got out of the tent and the woods looked tremendous. The moon was bright enough to cast a shadow over the trees. I heard an owl hooting as I started getting my tent all packed away. I got back on the path and then a funny thought came to my mind. What if I only slept a few hours and because of the situation the few hours prior to sleeping, I woke up because of nerves or if it was a few hours before sunrise. I stood there thinking. Was my mind making that all up or is the sun really about to come up? I said they hell with it. If it is 22:00 and only got a few hours sleep then I guess this is going to be one long day. I started hiking again and trying to figure out the time cause it was really messing with my mind. After about an hour of hiking I started seeing some light in the distance. I was glad to see the sun. I was looking forward to warmer weather. 

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The more I hiked the more it seemed like I kept going up. When would this madness stop? I spoke to soon. Blood Mountain was the first difficult obstacle on the AT. Mt. Albert (5,250ft/1,600m) was the steepest incline the trail has thrown me. Forget using trekking poles. This is more hands on but a bit more difficult seeing my backpack has my balance off. Nevertheless I conquered it took a much needed break afterwards. 

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Photo 05.03.18, 12 43 44

I ended up hiking 17.2m/27.6km that day and stopped at Long Branch Shelter. I started a fire and slowly hikers started walking in. They all could smell the smoke of the fire. There was some rain coming in that didn’t hit until later that night. I didn’t care. I was dry and warm in my sleeping bag. Some hikers and I saw that the rain was going to stop around noon so we just stayed there waiting it out. When the rain stopped we were the only ones that were not wet. Everybody else had hiked in the rain. We were almost to Wallace Gap where there was a shuttle that would take us to Franklin NC. We were very much looking forward to a buffet. 

Back at it with more thru hiking tips

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.

  1. 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.
  2. The hip belt should be about three fingers below the belly button.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

A few Appalachian Trail hiking tips

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Nikwax is used when washing to retain the oils in the feathers in any clothing/sleeping bag.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.