Monday, March 23, 2009

AT Link

Below is the link to my online trail journal that I'll be updating as I'm on the Appalachian Trail. I thought about just using this blog as my journal, but the site below is used by a large majority of the long-distance hiking community and by having a presence there it'll make it easier for other hikers to find me, if they need to for some reason. Plus it does cool things like automatically tracking my miles.

My Trail Journal:

I may pop in occasionally to put some updates here, but the plan right now is to keep the journal site as my active blog for the time that I'm in the woods.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Since it was such a beautiful afternoon a couple of co-workers and I decided to eat lunch outside today. We stopped at Jersey Mike's Subs and grabbed some food then headed to Beaver Lake in north Asheville. The area around the southern part of the lake is a Bird Sanctuary and has a trail with a boardwalk and benches set up for bird watching. So we got to have a nice peaceful lunch watching the lake and listening to the birds. I forgot to bring my camera but I was able to snap a few pics on the phone that didn't turn out too bad.

Beaver Lake

A pair of ducks swam up to our lookout spot and started quacking up a storm, begging for food.

Beaver Lake Ducks

We didn't fee them of course (I shouldn't even be eating bacon, no way it can be good for a duck), but they were persistent little things and followed us around the water's edge. They were paddling pretty quickly too. For ducks.

Beaver Lake Ducks

They reached the shore and waddle waddled right up to us, quacking and looking cute the entire way.

Beaver Lake Ducks

They stood there for a few minutes after we walked off looking confused and disappointed as to why they didn't get any food. I'm guessing the cute chase-you-down routine generally works for them and convinces people to feed them.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I've decided to attempt the Appalachian Trail this year instead of putting off til 2011 like I previously said. I was ok with waiting a couple more years to do it when I made that decision, but things kept pointing me in the Trail's direction this year and once I started seriously considering it, everything just sort of fell into place. So 2009 it is.

I have the majority of my gear together and only have a few small odds 'n ends to pick up then I'll be all set to start. I'm planning on beginning the adventure on the 26th of March, so two weeks from today I should be in the woods.

Check out this Wikipedia page to get some good, basic info on it and what it is.

I seem to be getting a lot of the same questions from everyone when I tell them about it, so here are a few of my responses:

Yeah, I'm planning on walking the entire thing...from Georgia to Maine (roughly 2,175 miles, or about 5 million footsteps)

Should take 4-6 months to do it.

I'll be eating mostly dried, just-add-water kind of foods (oatmeal, pasta, etc).

It passes through, or close to, enough towns that I'll only need to carry 3-5 days worth of food at a time. I'll restock food, do laundry, check my mail-drops (friends are mailing me some supplies via post offices) when I get to those towns.

Yup, that means 3-5 days or more between showers too.

There are about 200 shelters that were made for hikers to stay in, but I'll be taking my own setup (hammock, tarp, warm cozy sleeping bag) so I can avoid them for the most part.

When it rains, I'll just get wet. I'm carrying rain-gear, but there's not much that will keep you dry when you're walking in the rain for 4-6 hours at a time.

Nope, not afraid of getting lost at all. There are around 165,000 trail markers (called blazes) along the way to keep you on track. Plus it's extremely well-traveled so the trail is easy to follow.

Apart from a pocket knife and a spork I will not be carrying a weapon. The majority of the AT is on National Park land, where guns aren't allowed anyway.

I actually want to see a bear (hopefully lots of them), and I'm not really too concerned about it. Keep your head and stay calm and everything will be ok.

Same goes for snakes, moose, and other wildlife (including the serial killers and "crazy people just waiting to attack you" that my mother seems to think inhabit the woods).

Yup, had to quit my job. Moving out of the apartment too.

And yeah, it's the craziest thing I've ever done. The scariest too. But that just makes the adventure that much more exciting!

I'll be keeping a journal online so people can keep up with what's going on. I can email my entries using the new toy (the Blackberry) and keep everything updated. There will be places where I won't have a cell signal but overall I'll be able to post pretty regularly. I'll be putting up a link here to the journal and a few other cool things once I get started on the hike.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

12 of 12

I decided to skip 12 of 12 this month. I've just got too many other things going on right now getting ready for my adventure. I'm hoping I can do it from the Trail next month, but there's no way to know now if I'll have access then. We'll see.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I went out camping with a friend last night to test out our new hammocks. It's slightly different than a normal hammock setup in that it's made for camping (lightweight, attachs to tree trunks, is insulated, etc.) You tie the hammock between two trees and then hang a tarp over it to protect it from the weather and help keep the wind off of it also, which helps keep the setup warm.

It was rainy and the temps dipped into the 30s, but I was nice and dry inside my hammock. My feet got a bit chilled, but other than that I was decently warm all night long. And it was an extremely comfortable sleep too. Just a gentle swaying in the breeze; almost like being rocked to sleep.

I was kind of hoping to wake up to snow on the ground this morning but it looks like the storm waited til this afternoon to start sputtering. Couple inches on the ground now and it's still falling steadily. Fun fun.

The hammocks set up and ready for sleeping.

A view of the hammock from inside the tarp.