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Sunday, April 19, 2015
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Crunch Time and Hiking List of Quotes

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Monday meant crunch time for me. My husband is booked to have dinner with the almighty Alabama football coach, Nick Saban (don’t ask..), and I am now leaving a day earlier. That one day rushed me into a whirlwind. This week has consisted of letting myself get to the point of starving Marvin status before shopping for mail drops so I can have the true hiker hunger cravings mentality while selecting trail food, saying goodbye to my family and friends, trying to put on as much weight as possible, and last minute gear changes. Preparing mail drops was an overwelming task for me. I can’t predict how much I am going to eat during the early days. I once made it a rule to never go to the grocery store hungry, but in this case, I made an exception. I figured a bunch of random things bought out if hunger ... Read More »

Adventures in Dehydrating

32 breakfasts packed and ready to go!

In the past I’ve mentioned the fact that I would be home-preparing most of our meals for our summer of thru hiking and, for the past two weeks, my food dehydrator has been running nonstop!  I’ve dehydrated more than 8 pounds of mixed frozen vegetables, countless cups of rice, black-eyed peas, and even my own mushrooms and eggplants for curry.  I’ve still got about 7 more days of dehydrating ahead of me, but I wanted to share what I was doing and explain the process for those looking to make their own meals. The first step in all of this is purchasing a GOOD dehydrator.  Yes, you could do this with a cheapie model, but I highly recommend getting a model with a fan.  I am a HUGE fan of my Excalibur dehydrator and purchased a 5-tray unit about a year ago.  It dries consistently and is kind of a ... Read More »

Muddy Buddies: On Dry Feet and Big Boots

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In the past couple days, I have ascended some fantastic balds such as Wayah, Wesser and Standing Indian, which offer incredible views of the southern Nantahala mountains in North Carolina. Of course, when I passed them, it was pissing down rain and the fog was as thick and sticky as a white shower curtain. But some information bulletins I passed assured me the views were spectacular, so I’ll be sure to image search that shit later. However, no rainy day can get me down! Not even one after another aftre another (though it is getting old)! Why?Because my feet stay dry. Common consensus, especially among those who rock trail runners, seems to say that good hikers are inured to wet feet. They are simply tougher and, instead of tip toeing around a massive mud puddle only to crash ass into it, stomp through it defiantly, committing themselves to wet and ... Read More »

Give Me A Pizza That

FOOD In my previous life of waitress/ professional time-waster I had a proper appetite. I even won an eating contest against my friend Tyler once. But living in the woods seems to have taken my talent and turned it into something monstrous. At night my dreams are wetted with pizza grease and runny egg yolks. During the day, even when I try to control my thoughts, any miniscule thing can bring food to the brain. An example: Ooh, that’s an interesting looking pinecone. Hmm reminds me of when I found those golden pinecones and thought they were really golden. Wasn’t that Easter? Ohh man, remember those massive peanut butter and chocolate eggs grandma used to get us for Easter? Mmmnn. And so it goes on. Everyone warned me of what a mental battle hiking the A.T. is, but it still came as a shock. I struggle to maintain my focus ... Read More »

Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Christopher Rodriguez

After: Christopher Rodriguez

Trail Name: Neckbone (I’m from Georgia) Home State: Georgia Occupation: Real estate Hike Timeline: March 31 – August 14, 2014 Why did you decide to hike? For the women, money and glory. But other than that, I’m from the north part of Georgia and everyone knows about the trail. I’ve hiked some sections of it before and just kind of grew up running on it. Hiking the whole way has always been on my mind. My uncle is real close to me and he’s always wanted to do it, but has never done the whole thing at once. I just quit selling mortgages. If I hiked the trail, I knew my uncle and the rest of my friends and family would think it was really cool, or at least cooler than becoming the best loan guy, and I didn’t have anything stopping me. All that being said, the night I made ... Read More »

Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Clayton & Lindsay Smith & Hunter (The Dog)

Trail Names: Hunter & The Fat Kids Occupation: Former U.S. Army captain (Clay), self-employed personal trainer and strength coach (Lindsay) Hike Timeline: April 24 – September 27, 2014 Why did you decide to hike? Clay: I grew up in a trail town. Andover is one of the resupply towns in Maine and I saw hikers coming through town my whole life growing up. It was something in the back of my mind, and then I read a few books about it while in Afghanistan and it became a bucket list item. My obligation to the Army ended and it worked out well as far as timing goes that we could take a significant chunk of time without worrying about work or school obligations. I also sustained some combat-related injuries and didn’t want to make this adventure “something we would do when we retired” or even “something we would do when ... Read More »

Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Ethan Zukas

After: Ethan Zukas

Trail Name: Blood Cookie Home State: Connecticut Occupation: Former pharmacy technician Hike Timeline: March 29 – September 18, 2014 Why did you decide to hike? My two sisters hiked the AT in 2013, which sparked the idea. I climbed Mt. Katahdin with them last August and seeing them and their fellow hiker friends, I was inspired to try the AT myself in the future … eventually. Little did I know, the future didn’t mean years from that day, but the next hiking season. I decided to hike the AT because I was at a point in my life where I knew I wasn’t happy. I was bored with my life (friends, hobbies, job) and I was unsatisfied with how I spent my time. After a lot of pondering (what you do during seasonal depression), I knew I had to do something. The AT seemed like the perfect way to escape. ... Read More »

Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Kasie Taylor

After: Kasie Taylor

Trail Name: Moxie Home State: Virginia Occupation: Recent college graduate Hike Timeline: February 17 – July 31, 2014 Why did you decide to hike? I actually didn’t know what the Appalachian Trail was until January 2, 2014, after talking with a nurse at the hospital I had taken my mother to for an emergency visit. I didn’t think much of it then, but a few days later I was researching the trail and decided that I was going to thru-hike. It was the perfect timing and the perfect opportunity to take control of my life and step back from “reality.” The last semester of college took a toll on me physically and mentally. Additionally, I did not have the healthiest coping mechanisms. I figured the trail would be an opportunity to detox my body and my mind – time to get in shape and to figure out my next step ... Read More »

Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Neha Khurana

After: Neha Khurana

Trail Name: Sprout Home State: Virginia Occupation: Outfitter Hike Timeline: April 1 – September 14, 2014 Why did you decide to hike? I decided to hike because I wanted to live life deliberately and authentically. I wanted to truly immerse myself in nature without the dull and distracting everyday existence, and return to a lifestyle of simple values. I knew that thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail was the change I needed to stay living. What was the most challenging part of the journey? The most challenging part of my journey was undoubtedly the mental aspect. The terrain is tough from time to time, but it is only temporary and the discomfort passes. However, walking in solitude and fully immersing myself in nature forced me to reconnect with myself and the person I want to be. What was the most memorable part of the journey? The most memorable part of my thru-hike ... Read More »

Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Erin Saver

After: Erin Saver

Trail Name: Wired Home State: Oregon Occupation: Substitute teacher & nanny Hike Timeline: April 17 – August 5, 2014 Why did you decide to hike? I had already completed the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011 and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013, so the Appalachian Trail would complete my Triple Crown. I felt like that was the next natural step for me to close this chapter in my life before I venture out onto other trails. What was the most challenging part of the journey? As a more solo and introverted hiker, it was finding that balance of the social trail while also maintaining my blog, [which] also gave me a lot of interaction with the outside world. I knew that I wanted to challenge myself and learn from the social experience the AT is so known for, so I tried to be more open to that aspect of the ... Read More »