Thursday, February 26, 2015
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All the Things I Never Knew I’d Know About Hiking Gear

Carrying our life on the AT. Granite Gear Blaze AC 60

One thing you should know about Eric is that he hates shopping, as in despises it. One thing you should know about me: I also hate shopping. A shopping trip with the two of us goes something like this: Step 1:  Gather courage to leave the house with a clear mission of what is needed. Step 2: Enter store/outlet, or god forbid, MALL, and start shedding layers of clothing due to sudden rise in body temperature from stress over the number of people and general chaos that is called a store. Step 3:  Enter first store which is playing way too-loud music with way too-intense fragrances and extremely harsh lighting. Step 4: Look through store from end to end, possibly find a few things to try on. Eric is much less successful at this step because, let’s face it, he’s super picky. Step 5: Decide that all the things you’ve ... Read More »

We’re Ready: Five Days to Go

The mountain of gear we are taking with us.

We are undergoing a self-imposed test of patience. We left Albuquerque on February 1 and started a leisurely two-week trek through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky before arriving in Louisville to stay with my parents. Now, after about 10 days in town, we are playing the waiting game. And with the snow, sleet and low temperatures, we are suffering from a mild case of cabin fever. Staying Busy While We Wait We’ve kept busy by running errands, visiting family and friends and packing and repacking our packs. We’re going to repack again this evening. Going through my gear has been a good way to spend the time, I think. Each time I do, I find something else that I probably can do without. Alas, I often find another item to replace the removed one, but at least I am trading items out and not adding things to carry. This is ... Read More »

6 Days Out: Pre-Trail Jitters


When I was in High School I took a college level government and politics course, the end of which we had to take this “AP Exam” that we spent the last two months of school studying for. I distinctly remember my teacher starting out every class saying “I’m gettin’ nervous guys. I’m gettin nervous! Two months till the exam!” But instead of studying we’d pop in a barely relevant movie like Dave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_%28film%29) and spend two classes watching that. Sometimes, you have to trust that everything will work out in the end. That’s the same sort of place that I’m in right now, with 6 days remaining until I hit the trail. Every morning I wake up and think to myself “6 days, I’m gettin’ nervous. Gettin’ nervous!” and I subsequently proceed to do an hour of productive work, two hours of video games, work a six hour shift, and ... Read More »

Challenging Thoughts and Fears


With just under 5 weeks til my brother and I start our Appalachian Trail adventure I’ve been starting to worry nonstop. Keeping myself awake at night, I’m hounded by thoughts of failure, all the things that could possibly go wrong, and many other not-so-nice thoughts. “How many times will I catch norovirus?” or “Oh man, I’m definitely gonna be the one who gets her pack stolen by a bear.” or more serious yet “my knees are gonna hate me for this”.  There’s a a particular type of cognitive behavioral therapy used in dealing with anxiety that requires one to allow themselves to think these anxious thoughts, recognize them, and then analyze them logically. Here are a few of those thoughts broken down. Of course, any advice from veteran thru or section hikers and my fellow class of 2015 is also helpful! “My knees are going to give out” If there’s ... Read More »

Five+ Reasons to Shop at Trader Joe’s Before Your Thru Hike

Trader Joe's sign

I LOVE Trader Joe’s and am so happy that they have finally come to Florida.  We used to stock up when in Atlanta, including packing out some cases of wine for friends.  If you have never been to a Trader Joe’s, check out their website.  They don’t sell on line, but they do tell you about their philosophies about value, great food, Hawaiian shirts and an iconic brand of vino better known as Two-Buck Chuck! So, my five plus reasons are….. 1.  Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds They are amazingly wonderful.  And at 430 calories for a half cup (with 32g of fat, 38g of carbs and 9g of protein) they are just what we need to power us up that mountain. 2.  Trader Joe’s Montmorency Cherries These cherries are totally addictive for something so healthy.  Nutrition-wise they also pack a hefty punch  – just a third of a cup ... Read More »

How an Athlete Prepares for the AT

Feb 15. I arrive at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State.  A little over one month and I start from Spring Mountain.

Physical preparation  for a thru hike on the AT is important both for good results and to prevent injuries.  In my last post, you found a large number of hikes that would be excellent hiking-specific preparation.  In the next few posts,  you will see my physical preparations for a thru hike on the AT.   You will discover my training during the few weeks prior to departing from Springer Mountain, Georgia.  I plan to start hiking on March 18.   Read More »

Start Date March 19

       It Looks like I finally have a start date for the AT.  March 19 I will set my trail runners toward North and keep them that way for 2185 miles.  Up until now it has taken me two seasons each to finish the PCT and CDT.  I am hoping by leaving the kid and husband behind I will get up earlier, cook less and hike more.  Right now I am working on a gear list and trying desperately to keep my pack light.  Should I bring the Umbrella or microspikes? Can I really afford to bring my heavy Kindle Fire? and what is up with nothing weighing what was promised.  I bought a pair of hiking poles at Christmas, 6 oz, 2 poles? Exped Lite 195 grams.  I put them on a scale, 9 ozs each! WTF. MamaMoab’s AT Gear List It’s official on March 19th I ... Read More »

Leaving Friends and Companions

Robert on the beach near Sihanoukville, Cambodia.   Unwinding from two years of Peace Corps work in Azerbaijan.

Slowly traveling my way from Mingechevir to Springer Mountain, I prepare my mind for the challenges of the AT.  After 11 days of mind clearing meditation near Angkor Watt, I am now on the beach near Sihanoukville, Cambodia.  I have seven days of unstructured relaxation, exercise, and reading.  This is along with structured time for yoga and writing.  Unwinding from a couple of Peace Corps years in Azerbaijan, life on the beach is tranquil and relaxing.  But, I am still feeling bereft due to the recent and abrupt separation from my Azeri friends.  And to my Azeri friends and companions: Hər şey üçün çox sağ olun. Mən Azərbaycanda 22  əla ay keçirdim.  Mənim Azərbaycan xalqı, Azərbaycan yeməyi: dolma,plov,isti çörək, Mingəçevir balığı,üç bacı dolması; Mingəçevir bulvarı,dənizi, Kür oteli, onun hovuzu, İnkişaf üçün Maliyyə dostlarımla futbol oynamaq haqqında çoxlu əla  xatirələrim və anlarım olub. Mən Amerikada Azərbaycan haqqında:  dostyana, şərəfli, mehriban insanları ... Read More »

Less than four weeks yikes


Things are looking up on the Rocky front, but we won’t know if he’ll be able to go until days before our March 3rd departure. Speaking of March 3rd, I recently thumbed through my horses-and-inspirational-quotes calendar, which accusingly informed me that my days in Bozeman were down to 27. So yeah… training. I had good intentions—really I did. I was skate skiing and hiking on snowy trails until about a month ago, when the snow cover in southwest Montana straight up melted. We had three weeks of 45-degree sunny days that would make even the most staunch conservatives admit that perhaps maybe global warming might kinda sorta be like a real thing. The north-facing trails turned to slick ice chutes, the south-facing trails turned to treacherous mudslides, and the snow vanished from the cross-country ski areas. Yes, I still have an overpriced gym membership, but I only use it to shower because the water pressure is good. I’m full of excuses ... Read More »