When planning to go on an backpacking adventure for several months or even several weeks you have to take everything you own and find most near and dear with you. All of that must be placed in your backpack. The challenge is that you can only take what is necessary, what fits, and does not weight a ton. When doing this I began to find that many of my possessions became trivial or not needed and found having less stuff made not only moving easier but my life felt less cluttered. While finding out what was most important to me possessions wise I began to look at things differently. I started to do the same thing with memories emotions and the like. Things that bothered me in the past became trivial and let go. In doing so a clean feeling began to appear. A feeling that plants must feel after a nice gentle rain passes through. (more…)
Give people enough time and they will surprise you.
In my last post I talked about community. Today I want to talk about people. There are always people who will rub you the wrong way and then there are others who you will more naturally gravitate towards. On the AT you can always hike on your own and you can choose to camp on your own but if you camp near or in the shelters you are stuck with those people for the night. Being stuck with some people is not always a bad thing. (more…)
Otter and Boar Cabin Crews
Living in the city and working in corporate America many people tend to loose sight of the amazing feeling of community. This is not always their fault it can be caused by many factors of life.
Leaving it all behind and hitting the trail for a few days, weeks or even months can restore that connection to community. What is community? Community happens when people connect or come together for a common purpose. You live in a community, your social networks are a community, and the trail is a community. (more…)
I have mentioned to a number of people that the AT is the Disney World of hiking trail. This statement can be seen as both positive and negative. Before you go off and think I am crazy let me explain first.
Every year is the “biggest year” in terms of the number of people who are hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) whether it be thru-hikers, section hikers, weekend hikers, youth groups, scout groups, or spring breakers. The numbers are staggering at how much of an increase they have each year. To see some of the past totals and the most up to date numbers of the AT they can be found at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Website. (more…)
For most of my experience in Georgia on the AT the nights were very cold as were the days. I found myself wearing my warm gear both during the day and at night. I did make a decision on one of the harder days to wear my merino t-shirt and my fleece jacket instead of my Columbia Omni-Heat Reflective shirt. This turned out to be an extremely important decision. After hiking six miles in this weird misty fog with the temp below freezing causing all the water that hit the trees or myself would instantly freeze. However it was still wet enough to cause my pants and socks to become soaked after only after twenty minutes or so into my hike. I stopped at a shelter and evaluated things. I could have gone another five miles to the next shelter and risk it being full. I stayed put and quickly unrolled my sleeping pad and sleeping bag. I also changed out of my wet clothing and into my warm gear right away. Inside the sleeping bag with my warm clothes I began to finally warm up. (more…)
In the coming weeks I am going to take some time and talk about each one of these items in depth but I wanted to share with you this list of things I learned about and from the Appalachian Trail. They are in no particular order and one does not have a more valuable lesson than the others. Each one of these have their own particular lesson and reason for learning them.
- Your only as strong as your weakest piece of gear.
- Hike your own Hike will only ever mean what you want it to mean.
- Tiny Reflective dots sewn into a shirt will really keep you warm even in the coldest of times.
- The AT is the Disney World of hiking trails.
- Community is everywhere you just have to look.
- Give people enough time and they will surprise you.
- Music can and will PUMP YOU UP.
- It is the simple things pizza included.
- Even when your tent is flooded and your gear is wet you can still be positive and happy.
- Getting lost is not always a bad thing.
I could see clearly now.
I have spent the past two days hanging out and doing lots of thinking and soul searching to find the right answer. The best way to describe how I came across my answer is standing atop a mountain watching as the clouds cleared and the sun came out I was at the moment content with everything. I am happy I have gone on this adventure and had learned many things about myself, humanity, and life.
A wise man one said:”Forrest Gump: [running] I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.
[he stops and turns around]
Young Man Running: Quiet, quiet! He’s gonna say something!
Forrest Gump: [pause] I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”
I was not gone nearly that long but even during the several weeks I had been it felt as if months had passed. The trail has its own time, its own community and so much more. Those of you who have been on such adventures will understand and the rest of you who have not I suggest you give it a try even if its only for a few weeks. It will change you forever.
I will be heading back home to Kansas on the next flight to begin another chapter in my life. What is next you ask? This adventure has put a spark into my fire of adventure and I can guarantee you that this is only the beginning. I will be hitting the John Muir Trail in July and turning my AT thru-hike into an AT section hike. I also plan on doing more around where I live locally to help promote many of the great trails that we have in Missouri and Kansas.
It is only the beginning and the mountains called I answered. They will forever continue to call and I shall continue to answer.
Started from Amacolola Falls. The stairs were brutal. 750 steps to the top of the falls. The climb to springer on the approach trail was also pretty tough. I felt fine except I was having issues ppbreathing due to the altitude change from Kansas City. I started the 8.8 miles around 9:30 and got to the top of Springer around 6:30.
When o got to the top there was a whole group of past thru hikers celebrating St. Pats day. They had hot dogs and beer for everyone.
On top of Springer there was a group of college students who had brought their trumpets and played several songs.
I had my dinner of hot dogs and headed to bed. During the middle of the night it started pouring and then a mist / drizzle proceeded for the rest of the night