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Friday, July 31, 2015
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5 Benefits of Training Before the Trail

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Thru hiking the Appalachian Trail is kind of like menopause...Both trials are, in some way, physiological equalizers among men and women. No matter what your starting shape is, after a while, (almost) everyone is doing similar mileage and is in shape. Here's why you should consider training as important as psychological preparation. Read More »

How to Talk Your Mom Off the Ledge Before Your AT Thru-Hike

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It’s common sense that living in the woods for 4-6 months isn’t exactly deemed safe by a majority of moms, and if your mom is anything like my mom then she is absolutely freaking out about the dangers of the trail. So, to help calm the nerves of all the trail mothers out there, I have compiled a little list of things to say (and not say) to your mom before you head out: Rattle snakes only live on SOME parts of the trail. (I didn’t say anything about copper heads…) I’m always close to a town! (Four days of hiking and a short hitch hiking experience from a stranger that is.) I will call every chance I get. (Once a week at 1AM when I miraculously find phone reception.) I will be hiking with trail friends. (You mean those people who look and smell homeless?) Black bears are harmless. (Famous last words before they steal ... Read More »

Pamola’s Wrath: Hiker Safety During Summer Storms

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Summertime along the Appalachian Trail means frequent thunderstorms, an occasion to experience terrifying beauty, but especially, to engage in safe practices. Every year, according to the National Weather Service, tens of millions of lightning strikes occur in the United States and hundreds of people are struck, often fatally. If you die while hiking the Appalachian Trail, it’s probably from hypothermia (too cold). If the cold doesn’t get you, heat will. Falls are a leading cause of injury and fatality too. Fatal heart attacks are not uncommon in at-risk populations, namely old farts, which I am quickly becoming! Fatality or injury from lightning strike is not as common as injury or fatality from hypothermia or falls, but thunderstorms do bring high winds and ripping rain and these can cause tree falls, which have been known to crush sleeping tenters to death. Summer storms are serious business, and if the aspiring long ... Read More »

The Appalachian Q&A with Tom and Shannon

I just ran out of deodorant and I have have 4 days before leaving for Baxter State park to start my southbound hike. My mind has been a mess of anxiety, stress and excitement for weeks now, but today all I’m thinking is, “is it worth it to go buy deodorant?” Is it worth it to go buy deodorant when I’ll be leaving so soon? I’m gonna smell anyway. I’m gonna reek, actually, and no amount of deodorant can solve that problem even if I brought it. Though maybe I’ll waste the money just to fend off the stink up till the last minute before leaving, I don’t know… I do know that it’s a waste of space and weight to bring it on the trail, though, and I’ve had to explain this very reason many times of the past few weeks. Between my girlfriend, Shannon, and I we’ve had ... Read More »

New York to Almost Maine: This is Hard But I Love It

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From taking a zero at my parents’ house, getting back on trail was hard and easy at the same time. I was clean, as was all my gear, but starting after the first few miles from the Appalachian market all the way to central Connecticut, the heat did me in. I woke up nauseous every day, hiked lethargically, and went to sleep nauseous. After hiking to RPH shelter, I met back up with the rest of the gang, and we hiked to Pawling, NY, where we’d heard that the Natural Landscapes Garden Center allowed hikers to tent. Well, they do, but the tent sites are between a highway and the train tracks, and the train runs every 20 minutes most times. To top it all off, a car pulled off the highway right next to our tents late at night with its brights on and just hung out there for ... Read More »

I’m finally here, but I’m not sure where that is.

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Welcome to me, Bookie, a bit of a late bloomer here on Appalachian Trials. Just a quick idea of who I am and then let’s talk about the good stuff.  I have been blogging on my own page for the past six months and you’re welcome to go check out some of my older stuff.  I am currently hiking the Appalachian Trail with my best friend and cohort, No Shame (AKA Star), who happens to have four legs, lots of fur, and has been bringing numerous ‘friends’ to bed with her each night (ticks are becoming a serious problem).  We are enjoying ourselves immensely and hope to share some of our journey through stories and photos. Top 10 reasons I might be forced to leave the AT: 1) Running into a tree 2) Attempting to dance while walking along a trail cut into a steep mountainside 3) Tripping: – over my ... Read More »

Why you should always test your gear

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Having had to do more than one overhaul on both all of my gear and then also some individual pieces here and there, I have learned very quickly the importance of thoroughly testing every piece of gear that goes in to your pack. There is nothing worse than hitting the trail with a stove you can’t figure out how to use, a sleeping bag that isn’t warm enough or a pack that fits incorrectly. These are all mistakes that I have made. On my first big backpacking trip (read that as the first time I’d done anything other than car camping) I hiked for 2 weeks with a pack that was most likely meant for a six foot tall linebacker. I’m 5’9 and while I’m not the thinnest thing in the world, I’m most definitely NOT a linebacker. But I soldiered on for those two weeks, despite injury and discomfort, ... Read More »

Singin’ The Blues: Surviving Pennsylvania

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I was taught that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. By following that rule, however, this would be a very short post about our time in Pennsylvania, which can basically be lumped into three categories: flat and boring; rocky and ridiculous; swampy and swarmy. But first, let me back up to where I last left off. From Shenandoah to Harpers Ferry, we had a great time, despite daily downpours. Because, in order to meet up with my friend Allison, we only had a relatively short distance to cover in several days, we were able to take it slow and easy, which was a change of pace for us–a pace that Rico is quick to accredit to yours truly, the overachiever half of this relationship. We enjoyed long, leisurely lunches while waiting out storms and were treated to showers and a dinner at the ... Read More »

Vermud…

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Vermud lives up to it’s name. I suppose it doesn’t help that I hiked it during the rainiest month on record. The first two days were glorious, the trail conditions wonderful. The trail actually felt like a trail, there were no big climbs, and I got to go through fields (I’d been looking forward to fields). After those two days, though, it deteriorated quickly. The afternoon storms started, and then the day long rains started. It got cold and windy, and the trail became one giant creek/mud pit/pond. I thought Maine was bad as far as mud, but it had nothing on Vermont. The mud would seep in over the top of my shoes and soak my socks as I trudged through. It actually ate my shoe at one point. It was so bad, the only thing you could do was laugh at it. One day, it was all I ... Read More »