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SurferNerd
02-08-2010, 18:12
So it's been two years of planning, and 10yrs of dreaming. But 2010 is my year to make it happen.

History: I first started hiking in the Boy Scouts back in 1997 and my first AT trip was in NC around the NOC for a week in the summer of 1999. We carried external Army ALICE packs loaded with crazy weights of Sterno's and heavy gear. Ever since then, I always told myself I'd go hike the entire thing at once. I started toying with the idea for a 2008 thru-hike, but I started planning too late and couldn't get anything together in time. So I decided for a 2009 hike when my car went kerplunk in Nov08 causing me to incur a debt that would eliminate hiking funds for 2009. So I set out to fully fund a 2010 hike, and this is it. The fruition of a dream.

Dates: I'll be leaving Saturday Night Feb 27th after the 2010 Nashville WhiteBlaze meetup and driving with my fiance down to Mt Springer. We'll be crashing in a free hotel (saved points) in Chattanooga and waking up early for Sunday morning to get to the Mt. As for finishing, I have no exact required return date other than the closing of Baxter, so whenever I stop is when I'm finished.

Contact: I have email: surfernerd6987@gmail.com and I have a blog: http://athiker2010.blogspot.com which I will update from my phone periodically.

Gear: After two years of research, testing, trying, and fitting, I have:

Gregory Z55 Pack
REI Sub Kilo + Sleeping Bag
Sea to Summit 10 degree liner
Henry Shires Tarptent Contrail w/6 Titanium stakes
ThermaRest ProLite3
SnowPeak Titanium 1ltr mug
SnowPeak Titanium IsoButane stove
SnowPeak Titanium Bowl/Pan Kit
REI Titanium Spork
GSI Salt/Pepper Shaker
OR waterproof/odor resistant food bag
60ft paracord w/ 9-biner
Customized Medical Kit
Travel Toiletries
2 Sigg 32oz Classics
1.5ltr Camelbak
Katadyn Pro Hiker Filter
REI Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
REI pack cover
Patagonia Thermal Synthetic Underwear Tops and Bottoms
REI Wicking TShirt
REI Sahara Pants
REI Taku Jacket
Sierra Designs Rain Paints
REI Jungle Hat
REI Wicking Boxer Briefs
2x REI Smartwool Sock Pairs
2x Wicking Synthetic Sock Liners
Merrel Hiking Boot
Sole Insoles
Gerber Infinity Flashlight
Petzyl Tikka 2 Plus Headlamp
Leatherman CX Carbon Fiber MultiTool
Verizon DROID and Charger
Some other missed items and misc not worth listing
Total Dry Weight: 21.6lbs

Food: Unlike what anyone is going to rant or rave about, I'm using maildrops for 80% of my food, fuel, and consumables(toiletries). I've gotten killer deals on items and its cheaper to ship them in a flat rate box than it is to buy it as I go. I got 250gram isobutane cans(SnowPeak) for $2/each as an example.

Towns: I'm going to rarely pop my head into towns for a post office, small food supply, and maybe a meal. I vow to never spend over $30/night for a hostel, and never stay in a streamline hotel. I find the towns to take away from the fun and time on the trail. And as stated numerous times, the longer you stay in town, the more you will spend.

Transportation: I'm working with my fiance to ensure that I obtain my Greyhound bus ticket from Maine back to Nashville. She'll be dropping me off in GA for starting.

Total Cost: $2500 over two years for the perfect gear. $500 for the consumables/food. $1000 for cash on trail available.

So there ya have it, a basic overview of my hike. Let me know if there's anything you'd like to know about anything. A question asked is worth answering.

BrianLe
02-08-2010, 18:39
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you have for upper-body insulation/warmth --- I see just the Taku jacket and a synthetic underwear top. Did I miss something, or is it your plan to somehow transition quickly from "warm from walking" to "in my sleeping bag" for a late February start? Or maybe that 19 oz Taku jacket is warmer than I'm guessing, but it's not clear that it has much (or any) actual insulation ??

SurferNerd
02-08-2010, 18:44
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you have for upper-body insulation/warmth --- I see just the Taku jacket and a synthetic underwear top. Did I miss something, or is it your plan to somehow transition quickly from "warm from walking" to "in my sleeping bag" for a late February start? Or maybe that 19 oz Taku jacket is warmer than I'm guessing, but it's not clear that it has much (or any) actual insulation ??

I've spent several night in the extreme cold around here of 10*F. Between the Taku, the REI Tech Tee, and the Patagonia Level 3 Thermals, they are insanely warm. I've warn my Taku to the TN Titans football games in 30ish*F, I wore it making a 7ft snowman a week ago in our bad TN snowstorm, I've worn it ice skating, and its my general jacket. It's EXTREMELY thermal for me. But I do expect to be doing a quick transition from hike to bag for the ARTIC cold nights.

Hobbot
02-08-2010, 18:47
Hopefully I'll see you out there; you should be a couple days ahead of me.

Is that $500 total for food or in addition to what was spent on maildrops? If that includes what you put in the maildrops you need to let me know where you got supplies from :)

SurferNerd
02-08-2010, 18:55
Hopefully I'll see you out there; you should be a couple days ahead of me.

Is that $500 total for food or in addition to what was spent on maildrops? If that includes what you put in the maildrops you need to let me know where you got supplies from :)

That's everything, for 200 Tea Bags, 200ish Oatmeal Variety Packs, Granola Bars, DIY Mixed Nuts(bought several 10lb bags of almonds, pecans, peanuts, cashews and mixed them myself in bucket, foodsaver bagged them), dehydrating my own fruits and veggies that are in the freezer til ship date, chocolate for the winters, ramen, lipton soup, hot chocolate, easy mac, toiletries, batteries. I spent $467.26 to be exact.

My daily calorie average for the food I purchased it about 4000.

I shop Dollar Tree, Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's Wholesale, Amazon.com, Campmor, and my favorite Kroger. I set out for deals, buy in bulk when on sale. I got Tuna Fish in Aluminum pouches, 7ounces, $1/each. I bought the entire shelf of like 40 at Kroger. It was a week sale. I got the fuel on Amazon from an outfitter that was going out of business, bought 20 cans of isobutane. I buy hand sanitizer in bulk at dollar tree, $1, and put it into small canisters.

Shop Smart..

4shot
02-08-2010, 20:30
No comments from me other than good luck...I hope to meet you on the 27th over in Nashville. You will be 2 weeks or so ahead of me. See you on the 27th.

Symbol
02-09-2010, 19:24
Good luck to you!

GrubbyJohn
02-09-2010, 20:25
have a great hike and keep stepping!!!!

SurferNerd
02-10-2010, 00:02
Hey all, I went through my pack today and sifted out every item to weigh it and decide its importance. I took the pack from 21.5lbs down to 17.509375lbs so I'm even better and lighter now, lol.

Tuney
02-10-2010, 17:04
Hey all, I went through my pack today and sifted out every item to weigh it and decide its importance. I took the pack from 21.5lbs down to 17.509375lbs so I'm even better and lighter now, lol.

I had my pack down to 29 LBS, including 3 days food, and 48 oz of water, one day last week, and I still took it by Mountain Crossings for a shakedown. Dart Man spent almost 2 hours with me going through it. We didn't change the weight much, but I learned a lot about how to pack it more efficiently.:sun

Maddog
02-10-2010, 17:20
good luck! see ya on the trail! maddog

LTROSS
02-10-2010, 19:47
I hiked part of the AT with a pair of Merrels. Loved the boots for just over a week until they fell apart. Called Merrel to ask for replacements and was told by the company that Merrel hiking books arnt designed for serious hiking. Did end up getting a replacement pair and still like them, though if yours fall apart as quickly as mine did you may want to plan accordingly.

SurferNerd
02-10-2010, 20:29
I hiked part of the AT with a pair of Merrels. Loved the boots for just over a week until they fell apart. Called Merrel to ask for replacements and was told by the company that Merrel hiking books arnt designed for serious hiking. Did end up getting a replacement pair and still like them, though if yours fall apart as quickly as mine did you may want to plan accordingly.

Already returned my Merrell's..today in fact. I called them yesterday, by far the WORST hiker customer support I've ever run into. They wanted me to pay to ship them the boots, they'd determine if they're defective, and within 3 weeks, ship back a new or the old pair. Ya, I told the guy, go F yourself I'll never buy another pair of Merrell again. So they went back today. I got myself a pair of TrailRunners instead, cheap, lightweight, and easy to dry out.

Dogwood
02-10-2010, 23:12
LOL..... I took the pack from 21.5lbs down to 17.509375lbs so I'm even better and lighter now .....

Still way to heavy! You need to get that down to 17.21123 lbs!

Keep a good attitude and laugh a lot. It really helps.

Enjoy your hike

All the Best

wudhipy
02-10-2010, 23:31
You will be two days ahead of me. Keep the wind at your back and fear little of me catching up. Love your plan ...mine is similar...hike your own hike and have a blast. Hope to see ya on the trail.:D

Praha4
02-15-2010, 01:46
I'm also using a Z55, great pack for a thru.

good luck

Smokestacks
02-15-2010, 10:43
they sent me a new pair no problem last year but the mrs did all the talking i have a pair of merrell radlands to start finishing my thru hike april 6 picking it up in hot springs where i had to hop off due to a monster case of trenchfoot

Cakon
02-15-2010, 11:08
I think you are all set. 17# pack weight is good for the weather. Don't let the guy from Hiawii tell you to take too much more out the conditions right now are tough. I'm starting next week and I added some weight to my pack. I was under 15# base but I'm adding a warmer sleeping bag, heavier thermal layers and. I'm back up around 16-17#'s again. Really its fine. I'll see you on the trail.

Lilred
02-15-2010, 11:40
Nobody is going to mention the amount of cash he's taking?

Dude $1000 will get you maybe a little better than halfway.
And I'm being generous with that time frame.

It used to be $1 a mile 10 years ago.

Well, good luck and hope you make it all the way.....you're gonna have to be very very frugal.

See ya at the Nashville Dinner.

Smokestacks
02-15-2010, 11:46
i egree good luck

SurferNerd
02-15-2010, 17:18
Nobody is going to mention the amount of cash he's taking?

Dude $1000 will get you maybe a little better than halfway.
And I'm being generous with that time frame.

It used to be $1 a mile 10 years ago.

Well, good luck and hope you make it all the way.....you're gonna have to be very very frugal.

See ya at the Nashville Dinner.

Happen to notice I'm not buying any food for the most part. I've got 80% of it already in boxes. I don't plan on stopping in towns beyond visiting a USPS or shower.

Six-Six
02-15-2010, 17:27
Have a great hike. HYOH!
Be sure to report back on how it all worked out - for better or worse. It will help us all learn.

SurferNerd
02-18-2010, 00:06
10 days left! I can't wait!

Maddog
02-18-2010, 04:54
Happen to notice I'm not buying any food for the most part. I've got 80% of it already in boxes. I don't plan on stopping in towns beyond visiting a USPS or shower.

good luck...i think you can do it! you're hiking the AT not taking a tour of the bed and breakfasts of the eastern united states! i don't understand why anyone thinks they need to spend $4000-$6000 to thru-hike! it doesn't seem like they're willing to make any sacrifices. if i can complete my upcoming thru-hike for $500, i will. if it costs more than that, so be it. i just don't plan on living high-on-the-hog when i'm off the trail! hyoh!!! maddog:-?:D

jrwiesz
02-18-2010, 05:33
Just curious, are the canisters allowed to be shipped via flat rate boxes? :-?

You might want to check, if you have not already. And, then again, you might not want to check.

Just sayin'.

Have a safe experience.:sun

SurferNerd
02-19-2010, 02:15
Just curious, are the canisters allowed to be shipped via flat rate boxes? :-?

You might want to check, if you have not already. And, then again, you might not want to check.

Just sayin'.

Have a safe experience.:sun

Yes, you have to walk the box open into the USPS, and state the box is required to be shipped ground only, and its contents comply with DOT regulations regarding transportation of fuel. Now obviously it means its gonna take a few days longer to reach its destination..so just ship it earlier.

jrwiesz
02-19-2010, 02:22
Good to know. I know they have always asked me about flammables whenever I ship things out. Glad you have it all covered.

Safe hike. :sun

Bronk
02-19-2010, 05:35
With his food covered by maildrops, I think a frugal person could make it on $1000. A 5 month hike would give him $50 a week in spending cash. That's enough for a shower, laundry, a hostel here and there and some town meals.

SurferNerd
02-19-2010, 18:46
With his food covered by maildrops, I think a frugal person could make it on $1000. A 5 month hike would give him $50 a week in spending cash. That's enough for a shower, laundry, a hostel here and there and some town meals.

Exactly. I've got about $1500 in spendable money, and about $3500 should I truly fall apart absolutely, but I'm going to try and make it happen under $1000. It's not too bad when u think about being frugal and efficient. I don't drink, I don't smoke, (thats the two biggest expenses) I can live without Shoney's, and beyond the cheap hostels, I'll never be in a hotel. Thanks for the encouragement Bronk!

Blissful
02-19-2010, 23:10
With his food covered by maildrops, I think a frugal person could make it on $1000. A 5 month hike would give him $50 a week in spending cash. That's enough for a shower, laundry, a hostel here and there and some town meals.


One week -
one night in a hostel $30
laundry $5
town meals - $10
Mail drop boxes - sometimes you have to pay to get them if they go to hostels - $3-$5

And hope you don't have gear or medical issues...or a shuttle or anything else - like your mail drop goes missing and you have to resupply (which WILL happen)

no way

One has to consider - are you hiking this to be frugal (and make some statement) or are you hiking it to have a good time and enjoy the journey? Because enjoyment gets severely limited (with hiker friends you meet and everything else) the more strapped you are for cash. And you are gonna be really wishing for that money come a month or two on the trail (so easy to say this stuff - hey, I don't need money I dont need a place to stay or food to eat! behind a computer safe at home).

You need to deal in reality and not some fantasy.

Blissful
02-19-2010, 23:16
Just curious, are the canisters allowed to be shipped via flat rate boxes? :-?

You might want to check, if you have not already. And, then again, you might not want to check.

Just sayin'.

Have a safe experience.:sun

NO!
Canisters must go surface mail ONLY. They cannot go Priority or anything else. To not check on this ahead of time and to advocate such is stupid.

And you don't have to have your box open for inspection when you walk in (though they may open it anyway). Just tell them it has to go surface and to put the "no airline" sticker logo on it. I had many canisters mailed to me, no problems.

Red Hat
02-28-2010, 18:07
Nice meeting you in Nashville. Hope you got off to a great start! Maybe I'll see you out there (of course I'm about 2 wks behind you) Good luck!

Bleemus
02-28-2010, 21:32
I wish you luck my friend! Pop me an email when you get to Vermont and I will pick you up and treat you to a dinner and a washer/dryer!

I bet you crave your first cheeseburger after a week though! :banana

Start strong, finish strong!

SurferNerd
02-28-2010, 22:54
Nice meeting you in Nashville. Hope you got off to a great start! Maybe I'll see you out there (of course I'm about 2 wks behind you) Good luck!

You too, Springer is beautiful today. Can't wait to get going tomorrow.


I wish you luck my friend! Pop me an email when you get to Vermont and I will pick you up and treat you to a dinner and a washer/dryer!

I bet you crave your first cheeseburger after a week though! :banana

Start strong, finish strong!

Thanks Bleemus, I'll most definitely take you up on that offer. It'll be awhile before I get up there, especially with this weather in the smokies.

SurferNerd
02-28-2010, 22:59
So I'm at Springer! I've been staying at a free hotel in a Dahlonega, GA about 15 miles from Amicolola since Saturday night after the dinner for the WhiteBlazers in Nashville. We spent today scouting the trail, we drove up the USFS Road 42 with no problems in Abby's car, and we drove down to Walasi and Neels Gap for a brief check of 4 days in and the conditions. Blood mountain is the only peak around thats white, with the employees of Walasi saying its just the frost, and not a large accumulation on the top. The wind on the other hand is absolutely horrible, its blowing about 25mph and with 35 degrees, its FREEZING wind. Otherwise, its a clear showing. I'm on the trail tomorrow morning, and I'll be updating my blog listed in my signature. Follow me!
SurferNerd