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2015-09-03 12:37 PM

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Subject: A Walk in the Woods
A week ago my wife handed me a book to read. She reads constantly and reads at the speed of light. I read maybe 1/2 a book a year and read at the speed of smell. Didn't really noticed the title but read the first chapter and thought, I'm gonna read this! The book is "A Walk in the Woods" about this guy and his go walking on the Appellation Trail (AT). Yesterday I saw the movie. It was an ok movie but really has me thinking........

Anyone ever hiked the AT? I've hiked a about 10 miles (5 up and 5 back) in from the Southern end years ago. The end to end hike takes about 4 or 5 months. I mulling over giving it a go in a year or 2. I plan to retire at 55 in 2.43429 years....but who's counting?! But might retire earlier. Couple things that are hard to get my head around.

1. Sleeping on the hard ground for 5 months.
2. The monotony of hiking every days for 5 months.

Thoughts?

Anyone want to give it a try with me?


2015-09-03 1:21 PM
in reply to: Rogillio

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Master
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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
No plans to tackle the AT, so no advice for you there. However, if you do find yourself inclined to pick up another book, I just finished Adventures of a Trail Stooge. It is essentially the diary of an AT through hiker, and I liked it pretty well.
2015-09-03 1:43 PM
in reply to: Rogillio

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Master
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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
I have done a lot of backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountains, but have never have wanted to do a through hike. Wayyy too long and monotonous - it would feel like a death march to me. I would worry it would ruin my desire to ever hike again!

Read the book and thought it was great. I like Bill Bryson's books a lot and looking forward to the movie.
2015-09-03 1:51 PM
in reply to: Rogillio

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Champion
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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

No desires to give it a try, but you should also check out the movie Wild (or book "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed), with Reese Witherspoon. Definitely not a kid-friendly movie. Moral of that story might be "don't do it like that."

2015-09-04 2:15 AM
in reply to: 0

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Tejas
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
http://www.walkingwithwired.com . Amazing blogger who has done the AT, CDT, PCT and more.. She includes photos and documents her day on the trail. I found it to be a very interesting read as I would like to through hike parts of some of these great trails. She rates different gear and the focus here is on ultra light hiking. She doesn't go as light as some of them do, but she seems right about in the middle from what i've read. I've been following her for a few years now and really enjoy her updates as she hikes a particular trail. Pick a tab, PCT is a good one to start, and read along as she tackles the challenges each section of trail present.

ETA- She has just completed the GDT, a short hike of 50 ish days!

Edited by mdg2003 2015-09-04 2:18 AM
2015-09-04 10:57 AM
in reply to: mdg2003

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
It's a dream of mine to one day do the AT as a through hike. Hell, I would love to do the PCT and any other one out there as well. I believe there is a pretty decent App Trail hiking documentary made by Nat Geo that is on netflix. As ticks have been worse these past 4-5 years and as Lyme disease is becoming further studied, its been more of an issue on the AT from what I have read and seen.


2015-09-04 11:28 AM
in reply to: TriathletePT

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
Originally posted by TriathletePT

It's a dream of mine to one day do the AT as a through hike. Hell, I would love to do the PCT and any other one out there as well. I believe there is a pretty decent App Trail hiking documentary made by Nat Geo that is on netflix. As ticks have been worse these past 4-5 years and as Lyme disease is becoming further studied, its been more of an issue on the AT from what I have read and seen.


Check out Erin's account of both trails from the link I posted. Both are fascinating stuff. I had always thought it might be nice to section hike some of the AT. After reading her account, I'm not so sure any more. It appears that a lot of the trail is crowded and camping space is really crowded. I've day hiked and overnighted parts of the PCT and am convinced it is the one for me. I'm thinking I want to do the JMT which will be a 2-3 week endeavor. The parts of it that I have been on are pretty pristine and you can hike for hours without seeing people. It's still a marathon, but not a three month death march!
2015-09-04 11:34 AM
in reply to: TriathletePT

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
Originally posted by TriathletePT

It's a dream of mine to one day do the AT as a through hike. Hell, I would love to do the PCT and any other one out there as well. I believe there is a pretty decent App Trail hiking documentary made by Nat Geo that is on netflix. As ticks have been worse these past 4-5 years and as Lyme disease is becoming further studied, its been more of an issue on the AT from what I have read and seen.


We went to Peru this summer on vacation and spent some time in the Amazon jungle. I was worried about mosquitos so got a bunch of 97% DEET. It used that and it never got a bite. But it did melt the band of my Ironman Timex! That is some powerful stuff.....just don't get it on any petro-based material. DEET repels ticks too.
2015-09-05 9:32 AM
in reply to: Rogillio

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

The father of a friend of mine from high school worked for the US Forestry Service.  I knew this because there was always FS car in his driveway but I didn't really know anything beyond that.  He died earlier this year and when I read his obituary I learned that his main job for many years was to acquire land or access to land for the Appalachian Trail to pass through. Think about the job of getting mountain folk to sell their land or sell an easement to allow strangers to walk through.  It must have been a singularly difficult job.  But the trail is a great thing for the mountains and conservation.  I am glad he was so successful.  

On a tangentially related note, he and his wife had six kids, all of whom were geniuses.  My brother-in-law in his valedictorian speech at graduation started off by thanking that family for not having a child in his grade.  

 

TW

2015-09-05 10:42 AM
in reply to: tech_geezer

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
Originally posted by tech_geezer

The father of a friend of mine from high school worked for the US Forestry Service.  I knew this because there was always FS car in his driveway but I didn't really know anything beyond that.  He died earlier this year and when I read his obituary I learned that his main job for many years was to acquire land or access to land for the Appalachian Trail to pass through. Think about the job of getting mountain folk to sell their land or sell an easement to allow strangers to walk through.  It must have been a singularly difficult job.  But the trail is a great thing for the mountains and conservation.  I am glad he was so successful.  

On a tangentially related note, he and his wife had six kids, all of whom were geniuses.  My brother-in-law in his valedictorian speech at graduation started off by thanking that family for not having a child in his grade.  

 

TW




Guys like him, park rangers and trail crews are all heroes in my book. I stop to thank these folks every time I come across one of them on a hike. Imagine hauling a bag of heavy tools, chainsaws, picks and shovels eight miles up to an altitude of 11K feet and then beating small boulders into submission all day to repair a washed out section of trail. Pretty much badazzes too!
2015-09-07 9:14 AM
in reply to: mdg2003

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
Out of the blue yesterday, my youngest daughter tells me she wants to thru hike the JMT this summer! She watched "Into the Wild" for some homework assignment. Which got her surfing, which somehow got her to the JMT. We've been on parts of it in Yosemite and Mammoth, so we know what we're getting into as far as hiking the terrain. I've wanted to do this for a while now and figured it wouldn't happen until both kids were in college.

Doing a solo thru hike is a logistical challenge, now I'm faced with figuring it out for four! Challenge number one is the wife on the other computer right now figuring out how to hire a mule or llama to haul wine and all her shtuff up the hill for her. Daughter 2.0 just fired back, " Do you feel that weak Mom? "
Waiting for that shell to explode now...


2015-09-07 7:29 PM
in reply to: mdg2003

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
I like hiking although I have never done more than day hikes. I think 5months of hiking might be a bit much but I would approach it in a different manner and tackle smaller sections (1-2weeks worth) over a longer period of time. I think you would still have the sense of accomplishment and frankly I bet it would be a lot more enjoyable.
2015-09-08 9:58 AM
in reply to: Rogillio

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
It's been a few years since I hiked a portion of the AT (about 30 years).

We stayed in lean-tos that are along the trail. They are basically 3 sided structures. You still want your own mattress.

When backpacking, you will have a pad to sleep on in addition to your sleeping bag. You get to where you do not notice the ground.

We only backpacked fro a few days when we hiked the AT.
2015-09-08 3:10 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

A through hike on the AT is on my bucket list. I've done day hikes but haven't even overnight-ed yet. I've got time to work up yo it though since I plan on doing the through hike after I retire. Of course, if I hit the lottery for a few mil I may retire early. 

 

ETA, I read the book and really enjoyed it.



Edited by mrbbrad 2015-09-08 3:10 PM
2015-09-08 4:44 PM
in reply to: mrbbrad

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Champion
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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
So here is a little back-storey from an email I sent out recently to a friend.....

A few days ago Casey handed me a book she had read that she had given it to Nick to read but he never read it. Casey reads at the speed of light as does Nick. I read at the speed of smell. The book is about some guy's quest the hike the Appalachian Trail (AT). I read the title but quickly forgot it and read the first chapter and decided this was gonna be a good book and I would read it. Then the housekeeper came and moved the book and I forgot all about it.

I've been seeing a trailer for the movie "A Walk in the Woods" and couldn't wait to see it. It is stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and that lady that played opposite Tom Hanks in Saving Mr Banks. The movie is about two guys who attempt to hike the AT.

Not being the sharpest spoon in the cupboard, I did not make the connection. Just a coincidence about the AT I guess. Yesterday after work I went to the movies by myself and saw "A Walk in the Woods". At the very end of the movies, w/o doing (much) spoiling of the movie, Robert Redford sits at his computer and types, "A Walk in the Woods....."

Now, I was born at night but not last night and the light finally went on like a ton of bricks falling on my head (mixaphorically speaking).

So I have made a major decision in my life! I am actually going to read the rest of that book!!!

Foithamoire.....I have been mulling over hiking the AT. Can't get my head around a thru hike from end to end as that takes 4 to 5 months....then again, I plan to retire in 2 years, 5 months and 3 weeks and 1 day....but who's counting. If this contract I'm working on goes south (or even in a south easterly direction) I might punch out sooner. Then I'd have the time to take a stroll thru the woods.....hey, maybe that will be the name of my book, "A Stroll thru the Wood". Or maybe "Drop-kick me Jesus to the Southern Terminus of the AT". Ok, plenty of time think of a title.

The thing I found interesting in the movie is how many towns and roads the AT crosses. This provides an opportunity to sleep in a hotel/motel/hostel and eat a real meal in a restaurant. This was a big relief. I can almost get my head around a week in the wilderness eating Ramin noodles and sleeping on the ground but it would be nice to have a real shower, a real meal and sleep in a real bed.

Nick and his GF took off on the AT earlier this year with the intention of hiking several days. But after only about 3 days, Nick walked back to where they started and got his truck and drove back to pick up his GF and headed back to Alabama! I never really got the full picture of what happened but a few things I do remember he saying. They were packing way too much junk and their packs were wicked heavy. It was kinda spooky at night hearing things walking around. I had suggest he take my 9 mm in the event of a bear or wildcat or Deliverance sitcheeation so he was packing. That was added weight that was probably not really necessary. If I go, an Arkansas Toothpick would be my defense. If a bear attacks me, he better kill me with the first blow or I'd let the air out of him, Davy Crockett style. Nick also said it was 'not much fun' just walking all day. I can see how it might get monotonous hiking in the woods day after day 5 to 20 miles a day.

When Nick and I hiked in Nepal we hiked 7 consecutive days 5 to 9 hours each day. The only 'hard part' (for me) were the ridiculously steep assents and dissents. But we slept in 'camps' every night with some sort of bed and a shower (sometimes a cold one) in most places. The high altitude took its tool too.

Anyway, my thinking is maybe take a short trek of 5 or 6 days and see if my old bones can tolerate sleeping on the ground and eating power bars for lunch.

OK, so that was my best sales pitch! Who is in and when do we leave?!


2015-09-09 10:50 AM
in reply to: Rogillio

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Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods
Be sure to read "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed while you're on this reading binge. Or just go see the flick. Basically a woman whose life is a train wreck and she decides to hike the PCT. A lot of time was spent in the book reliving her relationship with her Mom which got a bit old at times. Same goes for the movie, but to a lesser, more tolerable extent. I think the book will give you a better insight into thru hiking than the movie and you can skip the Mom pages if needed.

Be prepared to make good friends with Moosejaw and REI. Going lighter is key to making thru hiking work. There are entire websites dedicated to building ultra light camp stoves! While preparing for our High Sierra camping event last year, I experimented and made several alcohol stoves from the sites. Most are made from alum cans or cat food tins.

All the ultra light research led me to weigh how much my super duper Osprey pack weighed. It was 7.8 pounds, empty! I bought one that weighed 2 pounds empty. It worked, but was not capable of loads higher than 30 pounds. I found a compromise in a Deuter pack at 4.1 pounds. Anyway, you have 2+ years to tinker with and fine tune your gear. More importantly, 2 years to spread the cost of the gear over!


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