I’ve rounded up all of my AT videos and photos. If you want to flip through my entire trip this is the place to do it. It’s also just a little proof that I did stop and smell the roses. :)
It’s been almost 2 weeks since I finished my little hike. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like I actually did it. My feet, however, constantly remind me of the abuse I put them through. They decided that it would be to remove the feeling from my toes less than halfway through the hike and well they’ve decided it’s best that I don’t feel them ever again. I read on whiteblaze.net that it could last 6+months. Feet can be pretty stubborn.
The first day after I finished my feet started swelling. I’m not really sure why because I did take a few zeros and never had this problem. Anyhow, after about 3-4 days the swelling diminished and my feet began to look and, apart from the lack of feeling, feel normal.
I still have traces of hiker hunger but I’m not burning the food fast enough. It’s hard describe. I’m not gaining weight. I’m just really hungry all the time even though I know I’m full. So, I keep eating. Problem solved.
Unlike many people, when I was hiking I was probably the most hydrated that I’ve ever been. Since I don’t have a water bottle by my side at all times now I don’t drink water very often. Instead, I have sweet tea and coffee. Yum. However, I’ve had a headache for 3-4 days now and my ears do this funny thing where it sounds as though I’m talking in a tunnel(probably unrelated). Anyhow, it turns out your body still needs water to function properly.
My knees feel the way I’d imagine arthritis feeling. They feel like they need to be oiled and walking creates a nice grinding sensation that makes it a little hard to walk or at least want to. It’s ok though, I can play the AT card for at least another week.
Did I say my feet were numb? Only my toes really. The balls of my feet feel as though there is some sort of liquid ball in them. Every night the liquid coagulates and each morning it has to be kneaded through the length of my foot before I can walk normal. I’m feeling a little old, anyone have a rascal?
I haven’t slept good since I got back. I guess that’s what happens when you get used to sleeping all bent up in a hammock. A nice bed just isn’t the same. So I’m learning how to sleep again.
Late nights are torturous. When the sun sets my body says it’s bed time. My social life says it’s time to hang out, listen to music, watch a movie, play a game, or have a beer. My body has no idea what social means so it rebels by waking up at the crack of dawn, while I fight vigorously to convince it to sleep until 9. It’s a Saturday after all and 11 PM is not late.
Oh the joys of trail shock. It probably wasn’t a great idea to go from hiking 20-30miles each day to sitting on my butt for 8-12hrs working at a desk. Now neither seem like good options. I’m really looking forward to going on some more hikes I kind of miss sleeping in the woods. I have a bit of work to do before I get that freedom though. It’d also be nice to have decent working feet and knees too.
On a lighter note. At one point I lost 30lbs on the trail. I weighed 195lbs when I left and now, as of about 45secs ago, I weigh 180lbs. That means I’m only down 15lbs. I didn’t gain that back in 2 weeks though. I’ve only gained 5lbs back since Katahdin.
Also, Texaco should be getting close to, if not already finished today. I’m looking forward to seeing an update from him. Probably quite a few updates since service is pretty bad in Maine. Check his blog out at http://www.2180miles.com/
And Lucy….She’s doing great! She’s having a good time shedding on my couch and getting into the trash. Not sure why she had to like that couch so much.
I thought it would be neat to look at what I actually hiked. This table shows the actual trail miles I hiked and doesn’t take into account any side trails or times where I was lost. I marked every night in my guidebook and I’m really glad I did. It’s pretty neat to look back and just see how much I really hiked. I also found out that I was a day off in my guide which is not a big deal. It’s really easy to loose track. The reason it starts with Day 0 is because I started at Amicalola Falls on the approach trail and only hiked 2.8 miles of the actual AT. After VA I did not sleep in any shelters but hammocked at their location. I’m hoping to create another chart with a lot more details like the weather for each day, mile markers, and comments.
|Day|| Miles Hiked
|0||11.6||Stover Creek Shelter||GA|
|1||13.0||Gooch Mountain Shelter||GA|
|2||22.6||Whitley Gap Shelter||GA|
|3||20.2||Tray Mountain Shelter||GA|
|4||15.5||Plumorchard Gap Shelter||GA|
|5||19.8||Carter Gap Shelter||NC|
|6||12.1||Rock Gap Shelter||NC|
|7||14.8||Wayah Bald Shelter||NC|
|10||15.8||Brown Fork Gap Shelter||NC|
|11||18.6||Birch Spring Gap||NC|
|12||17.1||Derrick Knob Shelter||NC/TN|
|13||21.0||Icewater Spring Shelter||NC/TN|
|14||20.3||Cosby Knob Shelter||NC/TN|
|15||17.6||Groundhog Creek Shelter||NC/TN|
|16||23.0||Deer Park Mountain Shelter||NC/TN|
|18||11.0||Spring Mountain Shelter||NC/TN|
|19||21.3||Flint Mountain Shelter||NC/TN|
|20||18.9||Bald Mountain Shelter||NC/TN|
|21||21.1||Curley Maple Gap Shelter||NC/TN|
|22||21.9||Clyde Smith Shelter||NC/TN|
|24||27.7||Dennis Cove Rd||TN|
|26||22.7||Abingdon Gap Shelter||TN|
|27||9.9||Woodchuck Hostel Damascus||VA|
|28||0.0||Woodchuck Hostel Damascus||VA|
|29||16.1||Lost Mountain Shelter||VA|
|30||28.2||Hurricane Mountain Shelter||VA|
|31||34.4||Davis Path Campsite||VA|
|32||19.9||Chestnut Knob Shelter||VA|
|33||33.8||Jenny Knob Shelter||VA|
|34||21.4||Woods Hole Hostel||VA|
|36||40.8||Bench at Southern Crest of Brush Mountain||VA|
|37||19.4||Johns Spring Shelter||VA|
|39||21.5||Cove Mountain Shelter||VA|
|40||29.6||Matts Creek Shelter||VA|
|41||30.3||Hog Camp Gap||VA|
|42||28.1||Maupin Field Shelter||VA|
|43||21.8||Shenandoah National Park Entrance||VA|
|45||32.1||Rock Spring Hut||VA|
|46||28.4||Gravel Springs Hut||VA|
|47||28.6||Dicks Dome Shelter||VA|
|48||29.5||David Lesser Memorial Shelter||WV|
|49||15.6||Ed Garvey Shelter||MD|
|50||29.7||Raven Rock Shelter||PA|
|51||32.8||Birch Run Shelter||PA|
|53||25.6||Doyle Hotel Duncannon||PA|
|54||0.0||Doyle Hotel Duncannon||PA|
|55||0.0||Doyle Hotel Duncannon||PA|
|56||4.3||Clarks Ferry Shelter||PA|
|57||24.7||Rausch Gap Shelter||PA|
|63||30.9||High Point Shelter||NJ|
|65||32.0||William Brien Memorial Shelter||NY|
|67||31.3||Telephone Pioneers Shelter||NY|
|68||28.5||Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter||CT|
|69||30.1||Brassie Brook Shelter||CT|
|70||28.5||Mt. Wilcox South Shelters||MA|
|71||33.4||Kay Wood Shelter||MA|
|73||28.7||Melvine Nauheim Shelter||VT|
|74||27.8||Stratton Pond Shelter||VT|
|75||27.2||Big Branch Shelter||VT|
|76||31.4||Churchill Scott Shelter||VT|
|80||21.0||Jeffers Brook Shelter||NH|
|82||24.8||Ethan Pond Campsite||NH|
|86||22.5||Speck Pond Shelter||ME|
|89||23.8||South Branch Carabassett River||ME|
|90||23.7||Little Bigelow Lean-to||ME|
|91||27.4||Pleasant Pond Lean-to||ME|
I guess every newbie starts the trail with more than they need. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that you shouldn’t carry certain items, and maybe there are others you could simply do with out. When I started hiking my base weight was somewhere between 22-24 lbs, when I finished my base was roughly 13 lbs 8 oz. That is what my pack weighed without food & water when I left Harpers Ferry. Some of the weight loss was due to sending home my winter gear, but I also refined my luxury items(clothing & rain gear primarily) and carried pretty much just exactly what I needed. As for clean clothes and items that were only used in town. I bounced them forward through the post. This made it easy to have clean clothes in town so that I could do laundry and not have to carry their weight.
I know that you can go lighter but I didn’t want to spend any more money or sacrifice any more of my luxury items or stove. The way that I viewed it was, the lighter my pack the more food I can carry. After loosing almost 30lbs I decided I needed to up my diet. I wanted to eat good so I would carry between 12-17lbs of food. I tried to eat 4000-5000 calories every day. Food weight dwindles quickly so everyday your pack gets lighter :) I’ll write another post on the food that I carried later though I did make a video on my 3 day resupply through the 100 mile wilderness. I believe that was day 93.
Below is the gear that I ended with. I did carry a tent, pad, and pillow from Springer to Waynesboro. I really liked that set up but felt like it would be too warm for the upcoming heat. I did not carry any type of jacket or warm gear. People asked me “What happens when you get cold?” My response was “I freeze!” Luckily, I timed the sending of my winter gear home pretty good so there were only a few cold nights.
This isn’t really a set up for sub-freezing temperatures but if I were doing it over again this is the additional gear I would carry for the first month of the trail. The tent would replace the hammock. I really enjoyed my tent set up but the hammock allowed me to lose some weight and keep cooler in the heat. Sorry guys, I’m a bit of a Patagonia snob. I just like how their clothes fit. Great for the tall, skinny, and lanky. You could lose some weight if you went with a different brand on the rain gear for sure. This is just what I own and would carry.
Today was my dad’s and my birthday! Today I turned 30! Today I finished the the Appalachian Trail from GA to ME! It was a big and exciting day. I am so thankful for it and it will always be very special. Thank you all so much for following me on my journey! It’s been amazing!
By the way I did the 100 mile wilderness in 2 nights and 3 days. :D The last vid is a little anti-climatic. Very cloudy but just an amazing moment for me.