If you read my first blog post, you now know that I am planning on hiking the AT (Appalachian trail) for 113 miles. I am hoping this will take me around 14 days. If you have never backpacked before, this number might seem impossibly hard. If you have backpacked before, you might think that I am really slow and lazy. I chose the average mileage per day to be around 8 miles because I wanted to soak in the hike and give myself some wiggle room. We’ll see if this actually happens.
In the past, the backpacking I have done has been really tiny and has always been on the AT. When I was 14, I went on my first backpacking trip. It was a backpacking program at camp. We hiked for 3 days. At the time, I thought, “WOW, this is the most exercise I have ever done in my life. I am literally climbing mountains right now!” I later found out I really only hiked 15 miles in three days. LOL. In actuality, this does make sense. Try taking fourteen 14 year olds hiking, it takes a while. I learned a lot about the AT on this trip, we met some thru hikers which was awesome and got confused as thru hikers which still baffles me. We literally had pots hanging from our packs?? We did not look legit.
I couldn’t find any photos from the hike, but here’s one a year later doing something equally outdoorsy.
The next backpacking trip I did was seven years later. I convinced my boyfriend to go hiking for barely two days. The trip all together would be 8 miles (pretty weak sauce). We were terribly packed (most of our equipment borrowed from camp which meant my boyfriend was wearing a female hiker pack), VERY very hungover, and pretty inexperienced/out of shape. Steve had about three meltdowns including one where he shouted about how he hated sweating and tried to rip off his shirt. We were a mess, but we made it to the backpacker site. We met a SOBO thru hiker and an AT ranger (which for us was just an outdoor enthusiast who promotes the bear box). The next day we hiked to Sunrise mountain, and even after all the meltdowns, Steve turned to me and said, “I get the appeal of this”.
A blurry, hot 21 year old mess
The last backpacking trip I’ve done was last year. My friend Jess and I decided we were going to backpack up the Shenandoah. This time we planned meticulously, and bought the right equipment. We originally planned to hike 70 miles but cut the hike short due to weather. We hiked 50 miles and were pretty impressed with ourselves. We saw some bears, met a bunch of great hikers, and learned to love cheese fries again. The views were pretty sweet too.
Similar pose, just a different year/location.
This will be the longest hike I have ever done and will also be my first hike alone. I have most of my equipment from the last trip, but still needed to buy a tent and other essentials (equipment post coming soon!). Weirdly, I am not worried about being in nature with only my supplies on my back. I am most concerned about not being able to talk to a friend. Steve and I keep joking I will come back and talk to him like I am in the red room from Twin Peaks. I’m ready to see what the difference is between five days and fourteen days and hiking with friends versus alone. I’m sure there will be a heavy duty blog post about it…