Trail Shock

swollen-feet

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.

swollen-feetThe 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/

LucyAnd 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.

JellyBean’s 2014 Appalachian Trail Hike Summary


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
Camp Location State
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
8 16.5 Home NC
9 0.0 Home 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
17 3.2 Hot Springs 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
23 21.2 Doll Flats TN
24 27.7 Dennis Cove Rd TN
25 17.5 Vandeventer Shelter 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
35 24.1 Campsite VA
36 40.8 Bench at Southern Crest of Brush Mountain VA
37 19.4 Johns Spring Shelter VA
38 22.3 Campsite 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
44 32.9 Pinefield Hut 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
52 29.1 Boiling Springs 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
58 27.3 Campsite PA
59 29.1 Eckville Shelter PA
60 24.5 Campsite PA
61 30.2 Kirkridge Shelter PA
62 19.9 Rattlesnake Spring NJ
63 30.9 High Point Shelter NJ
64 23.9 Wawayanda Shelter NJ
65 32.0 William Brien Memorial Shelter NY
66 20.5 Campsite 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
72 17.8 Campsite 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
77 26.9 Campsite VT
78 21.2 Hanover NH
79 23.3 Smarts Mountain NH
80 21.0 Jeffers Brook Shelter NH
81 24.7 Franconia Notch NH
82 24.8 Ethan Pond Campsite NH
83 24.8 Parapet Brook NH
84 9.8 Carter Notch NH
85 19.4 Campsite NH
86 22.5 Speck Pond Shelter ME
87 22.4 Sawyer Notch ME
88 29.0 Hiker Hut 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
92 27.7 Campsite ME
93 27.6 Campsite ME
94 32.4 Campsite ME
95 42.7 Abol Bridge ME
96 15.1 Finished!!!! ME

JellyBean’s Gear List for 2014 Thru Hike

This is pretty much everything I carried minus a few items like bug spray, bug net, food, and smart water bottle.

This is pretty much everything I carried minus a few items like bug spray, bug net, food, and smart water bottle.

This is pretty much everything I carried minus a few items like bug spray, bug net, food, and smart water bottle.

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.

Packed Gear List

  • Osprey Exos 58 (2 lbs 10 oz) – Was a little too big for my gear and I carried it without the brain so it was lighter than the listed weight.
  • Sierra Designs 30* Arrow Rock Sleeping Bag (2 lbs 7 oz)
  • Hennesey Hammock Explorer Ultralite Asym Zip (2 lbs 4 oz)
  • Jetboil SolTI (8.6 oz) – Quite possibly my favorite piece of gear
  • 3.53 fl oz Fuel Can (6.8 oz) –  Lasted about 14 boils, so 2 weeks for me
  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter (3 oz) on Smart Water Plastic Bottle
  • 2L Sawyer Bag (Dirty Water for Cooking)
  • 1L GSI Bladder (Clean Water for Gatorade & Electrolytes)
  • 3 Sea to Summit Dry Bags – 13L for food, 13 L for sleeping bag, 8 L for specialty items
  • First Aid – Vaseline, 3-5 Band Aids, Advil, 25ft Para-Cord
  • Emergency Poncho (2 oz) – The cheap plastic kind
  • SOL Emergency Bivvy (3.8 oz) – An under layer for cold nights in hammock
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp (3 oz)
  • Ettowah Gear Rain Cover (2.4 oz)
  • Oakley Flak Glasses – My first trail magic :D
  • Toiletries – Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Charmin Quilted TP :), Hand Sanitizer – The weight varied a little here
  • Technology – iPhone 5S, Standard iPhone Headphones, LifeProof Case, 2 USB Cables, Wall Charger with 2 USB Outs
  • Bushnell Mini SolarWrap (3.1 oz)
  • 1/3 of AWOL’s 2014 AT Guide Book & a Pen
  • 6-8 ZipLock Bags – This was for food, toiletries, and guidebook
  • Bug Spray, Bug Head Net – Carried when needed

Clothing & Accessories

  • Leki Cristallo Speed Lock Trekking Poles - These are an essential piece of gear. You will fall, but you will fall a lot more without them.
  • Terramar Body-Sensors T-Shirt - I loved this shirt, it dried so fast
  • Outdoor Research Equinox Short - Lots of pockets and fast drying
  • ExOfficio Underwear – 17days No Wash…Still Comfy…Enough Said
  • Buff
  • Gerber EVO Pocket Knife
  • Bertucci DX3 Field Watch - 5 miles = 2 hours great for setting & keeping a pace
  • 3 Pair Socks - Buy Darn Toughs, they are the best
  • Dirty Girls Gaiters – An essential $20 piece of gear, that is unless you like dirt in your shoes
  • Salomon Synapse M - This shoe got me from Delaware Water Gap, PA to Katahdin, ME. I think it’s a pretty good shoe.

Cold Weather Set Up

I would have to think it was going to be really cold before I carried the rain pants which are not pictured here.

I would have to think it was going to be really cold before I carried the rain pants which are not pictured here.

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.

  • TarpTent Contrail (2 lbs 2 oz)
  • Cocoon Air-Core Pillow (3.5 oz)
  • Big Agnes Q-Core SL Sleeping Pad (1 lbs 2 oz)
  • Patagonia Nano Puff (12 oz) – This jacket is amazing
  • Patagonia Capilene 2 Top (5.1 oz)
  • Patagonia Capilene 2 Bottoms (5 oz)
  • Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket (12.2 oz)
  • Patagonia Torrentshell Pants (12.2 oz) – This is a big maybe as I said in the caption I would have to expect it to be really cold.

Day 10,958 or Day 96

20140713-232104-84064469.jpg

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.

Day 96