Monday, November 30, 2015
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Fear of Failure


It started almost immediately after I began to tell people that I was going to thru hike the AT. I had actually held off on telling anyone for a while, I decided to take on the Trail on September 15th, but went about two months before anyone other than a very small handful of friends knew that I had a concrete plan. A few others knew it was something I was talking and thinking about, but considered it something that was amorphously in my distant future. A “someday.” But then I got the email letting me know that I was accepted as an Appalachian Trials blogger for 2016 (which, if you’re planning on hiking the AT next year, I highly recommend you sign up for here) Now I had to tell people, I couldn’t put it off any longer. And the reaction was, I should say, positive. My friends and ... Read More »

Surviving A Year With The Itch


One year of serious planning, doubts, & fears. One year of reading gear reviews until I thought my eyes might bleed & a year of buying gear until I though my bank account was actively weeping. October of 2013 I watched countless people finish their hikes. I felt their joy as they stood so proud with the Katahdin sign, their weightlessness at the feat they had accomplished despite their tired faces and worn bodies. The first summer & fall, they were just pictures of people. But still, my itch grew. This January I was so green with envy as I watched through social media. People were registering their thru hikes, displaying their AT backpack tags with such hope and gusto, spreading their gear out piece by piece, packing their backpacks one final time, displaying their drop boxes & menus. March rolled around and the pictures from Amicalola and from the ... Read More »

Gear Review: Hoka One One Speedgoat and Tor Ultra Hi

hoka one one speedgoat ultra hi review

The Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi is part of their debut lineup of shoes that transition the brand from running into the world of hiking and backpacking. They offer a full-grain leather upper for durability, and an e-vent bootie for full waterproof protection. Specs and First Impressions The Tor Ultra Hi boots lace all the way up to the toes, which Hoka says, and I definitely agree, “Offers control and comfort”. They also feature a rubber toe cap and Vibram sole. All of this is built around that classic Hoka look- the thick midsole. A pair of these weigh in around 17 ounces, which is incredibly light. The heel sits up at 32mm while the forefoot drops down to 28mm for a total drop of 4mm. Unboxing them, the first thing that hit me was how light they were. It’s a lot of boot, so it’s funny how quick they fly up. It’s ... Read More »

Everything You Can Do with Oven Bags – Except Cook A Turkey


Hikers are a resourceful bunch. We use trash compactor bags as pack liners and ladies trouser socks as liner socks. Hikers are always looking at everyday items to incorporate into their packs. So, as you pick up your Turducken (or Tofurkey), prepare to slice the cranberry sauce, and wonder if Ramen Noodles are acceptable to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, I urge you to take a look into Grandma’s pantry and discover the most inexpensive, versatile, ultralight, top of the line piece of hiking gear that is worth its half ounce weight in your pack. This Thanksgiving forget about the turkey and discover the real benefits of the oven bag. Specifications Price: $2.00 for a pack of two Material: Food Grade Heat Resistant Nylon (BPA Free) Weight: .5 ounce per bag Size: 19in x 23.5in or about 7 Liters 1. VBL Sock Hikers love acronyms. AT, PCT, CDT, you get the drift. ... Read More »

Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart: A Book Review

thru hiking will break your heart

Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart: A Book Review I first stumbled upon Carrot Quinn’s book while I was attempting my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. I must’ve been in town, somewhere with internet, flipping through facebook. In one of the hiking groups I’m in, someone posted a link to a temporarily free kindle book about a Pacific Crest Trail thru hiker. Reading was something people did on thru hikes, right? I hadn’t read a book in ages. Downloaded pronto. I didn’t think I’d read it right away, but that night I had the worst time trying to sleep in that Hot Springs’ motel. Someone was snoring. So I turned the brightness all the way down on my phone, switched kindle into black screen mode, and opened up Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart. Is that what thru hiking did to you? Break your heart? I wasn’t a thru ... Read More »



In the matter of hiking, I am a rookie, a newbie of sorts. Like most people who are introduced to something new and exciting, I have been doing tons of research. From the best sleeping bags to the most effective chaffing cream, the information is plastered on various sites. However, I have found very little information on the various hiking forums that mention safety preparedness. Many hikers have a notion of invincibility, and a nothing bad will ever happen mindset. After all, hiking is simple; one step follows another. However, what happens if while on a solo hike a step sends you plummeting into a steep valley? What would you do if no modern day resource were available for your use? I thought about this and various scenarios. Maybe all those years studying forensic psychology has made me more cautious or maybe being diagnosed with a rare brain disease has ... Read More »

Progress? We’ll See.


Preparation….. Preparation seems to be in slow motion, we’ve now shifted to getting prepared mentally to hike the Appalachian Trail.  Packages have slowed their appearances at our doorsteps. Excitement is still with us but has turned to serious planning.  Looking back at past posts I can see how we’ve grown in knowledge for the better.  The first “Will We Flip or Flop” was just insight for everyone including (especially) myself of why I became interested in actually hiking The Appalachian Trail rather than dreaming about it.  It’s all about taking that first step.  Just saying our intent was the first step in making it real.  “We’re Ready For Our Hike Now”, the second post was basically coming to grips with the reality of the journey. Things like personal hygiene, practices of leave no trace and deciding what type of hike would be the best for us.  I’m pretty positive that ... Read More »

We All Start Somewhere

hiking 1

 A game changer The passion for hiking comes early in life to some and later for others. When it does finally happen it’s a life changing experience for most of us. Some folks will never get that feeling or understand it. They may even think you are plum crazy for wanting to waste time walking in the woods. Who would have thunk it.. Spending time on Face Book, playing video games or watching marathons on Netflix seemed like a great idea at the time but I slowly want to remove myself from that. We have all done it at some time or another in our life. This is not how I want my life to be, it hurts my soul. Recently I have been looking back on my life and tried to recall little things that may have shaped me as a person. I can say without a doubt I ... Read More »

Teaching, Stargazing, and Testing

Rock State Park, MD

T-minus: 174 days My senior year of college is in full swing, and with that comes lots of stress, work, and TRAIL PREP. Last week I had the privilege of connecting with a classroom in Warsaw, Indiana. They wrote up a few questions about my hike and I answered them the best I could via Skype call. Convincing a bunch of teenagers that living in the woods for 5 months is cool proved to be a bit of a challenge, but nonetheless they came up with a ton a really unique questions and concerns about my hike. It was also evident that they have been reading my blog which was really nice to see. The class is currently reading A Walk For Sunshine, and learning all about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail– a foreign concept since there are not many mountains around them. Props to their teacher, Jill Jackson, for bringing the ... Read More »

I’m Going to Katahdin


Hiking the Appalachian Trail offered something that my daily life often did not: time.  Time to slow down, look inward, enjoy a leisurely lunch, catch a sunrise if I felt so inclined, or sleep in if my body needed to recover.  I had nowhere to be and all day to get there.  In short, it was a beautiful life. But I’ll be honest: sometimes it was just, well, too much time. After I’d had about all I could stand of my own thoughts, I often took refuge in the company of others. Without a To Do list dictating our days, we filled hours with ridiculous games and songs.  These were usually relics from childhood – a testament to the last time we’d all had time to kill. A go-to game with our crew became a variation of “I’m Going on A Picnic.”  The rules were simple: the hiker at the head of the ... Read More »