Appalachian Trail FAQs

14 Mar

My thoughts one week out.

1. What’s going on again?

I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail, hereon out referred to it as the “AT” — a 2,200 mile footpath from Georgia to Maine.  And it’s not all flat; the Appalachians are, after all, a mountain range: the amount of elevation gain and loss on the AT is equivalent to climbing up and down Mt. Everest 16 times.

Thousands set out on a thru-hike every year, in which they attempt to walk the entire length of the trail in one season — which usually takes somewhere between 5-7 months.  Less than 20% make it.


2. Why?

It just feels right.  I became captivated by the idea while I was traveling abroad in the fall, and now I’m just making it happen.  When backpacking in faraway lands, I did the inch-deep, mile-wide examination of the world.  Now I want to experience the mile-deep, inch-wide side of the house.

3. How far are you going to hike?

Until I’m done hiking.  One thing I realized at the meditation cult was that I’ve set enough expectations and penned enough goals to last a lifetime.

4. Are you going alone?

Yes.  My Dad and Velcro will make regular resupply trips to stock me up on food, equipment, and gear.  In between those resupply visits, I’ll hitchhike into towns (when the AT crosses roads) to stock up on food and supplies.

5. Is this safe?

I think so.  Though the former AT thru-hiker at the REI talk on the matter said “no way he’d send his daughter alone.”  I don’t want to sound tough (having not set a single foot on the trail yet), but hazards do include black bears, various rodent and bug-borne viruses, violent crime, and hypothermia.  [Address for where you can send your care package coming soon…]

6. Wow, I was really impressed by your gear list.  What didn’t make the cut?

Notables include underwear and deodorant.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

7. What about GPS/compass?

Supposedly navigation on the AT is as easy as connect the dots: you just follow the white blazes painted on the trees (and, in spots where trees are sparse, follow the rock piles).  That being said, I can get lost going to the grocery store (not a joke) so we’ll see.

White blaze marking the AT.

White blaze marking the AT.

White Blaze 2

Another white blaze.

8. Do you know what you’re doing?

Yes, I took a class on wilderness survival and built a survival shelter:

2 Responses to “Appalachian Trail FAQs”


  1. Vote Now! | Lucie on the Lam - March 15, 2013

    […] honor of the imminent start of the my AT hike, I have two fun polls for y’all.  Voting will close on March 21 at noon (when I start my […]

  2. Notes on My Way out the Door | Lucie on the Lam - March 20, 2013

    […] the midnight train to Georgia tonight!  I’ve spent the entire day packing.  And — even leaving the undies and deodorant out – I’m having some real issues. […]

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