PDA

View Full Version : A veteran on a mission



kgirardello
07-22-2013, 12:19
Well, hello guys! My name is Tyler. I'm a 24 year old veteran of the Army. I'm planning to thru-hike the trail starting Oct. 1 as a chance to free myself from the stresses of daily life and the PTSD I live with every day. It's been a long time I have done anything for myself, or made/completed a major goal. The intent behind this trip is to find myself again, parts that were lost while over seas. Hopefully even find a better person. I've read a few good books on this, just like many people and now I'm here looking for advice. All feedback is welcome. Great to meet you all!

Fog Horn
07-22-2013, 12:21
Welcome! You'll find many veteran's here on Whiteblaze. Are you heading SOBO?

flemdawg1
07-22-2013, 12:27
October is kinda too late to start. Go NOW South bound from maine, or start next spring.

Ktaadn
07-22-2013, 12:32
Thank you for your service and good luck.

kgirardello
07-22-2013, 12:35
I'm going NOBO, if I started in the spring, wouldn't that land me in Maine during the winter?

kgirardello
07-22-2013, 12:36
It's really not based on the weather for me anyway, its more of a time and mental constraint. If I keep waiting, I'll keep talking myself out of going.

Fog Horn
07-22-2013, 12:39
How long are you expecting to be out there? Most hikers start in GA in spring and don't deal with winter (except on a few mountains, which cannot be avoided). If you're hiking an average pace and you start in GA in October, chances seem likely that Katahdin will be closed by the time you get there.

It's not necessarily just about weather at that point, it's about safety. Will you be packed sufficiently with the extra gear and the extra calories to get you through an off season, most likely snowy, hike? Have you double checked that the supply points you are counting on are not closed for the winter? I think you might want to consider hiking SOBO. No harm in looking at the plan and assessing every option, right?

Hill Ape
07-22-2013, 12:40
hey brother, welcome back to the world. don't sell yourself short, you've met more goals in your young life than most do in a lifetime. those parts you think you lost, they are still there, maybe you just had to put them down for a sec

i'm with flem though, your timing is wrong for the seasons unless you just want to do a winter hike. better to use the winter to prepare mentally, physically, and gear wise.

there is a reason NOBOs and SOBOs start at certain windows of time.

91B here, welcome home and welcome to this forum, from the bottom of my heart. now pick up your ruck and follow the blazes.

Tuckahoe
07-22-2013, 12:40
If you started a thru-hike in October, that would put you going north through a lot of the coldest weather, and potentially finishing about the March time frame.

Most folks are going to accomplish a thru-hike in about 4 to 6 months, starting in the spring and ideally finishing by October.

illabelle
07-22-2013, 12:46
:welcome to White Blaze! We're a community of weirdos, know-it-alls, gear geeks, and a few dozen ordinary people, and we can't wait to help you find yourself!
https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT4ILP1zbzUiArzKJJocwkKHmk4HpvYt-TMs3HTAFVJqqlQUd3rnw

You will probably begin getting a variety of responses. It would help a lot to weed out those that don't apply if you will describe your backpacking experience.

If you don't know nuthin', start here: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/who-we-are
If you're familiar with the basics, and you have some experience, let us know what your questions are. They've all been asked countless times, but we don't care. That's why we're here, to talk about the trail while we wish we were on the trail.

kgirardello
07-22-2013, 13:03
Ok, so reading what you guys are writing and looking a little more on my own. I understand where everyone is coming from, in my mind though it was just about wanting to go as soon as I could manage. Thanks for the quick input and support. As far as the AT goes, I'm starting from scratch, as far as my "experience" goes, I have lightly backpacked in the U.S. and heavily in Afghanistan. 80-100 pound packs for miles at a time, every day.

11B here Hill Ape.

I will definitely have to look into a new start date.

illabelle
07-22-2013, 13:09
I will definitely have to look into a new start date.

you don't have to put off your trip. as somebody said earlier, you could start now in maine. a bit tougher, that way, i've heard. but you sound pretty tough already!

another option is to start now in georgia, and just walk till you get tired of it, find yourself, or run into weather barriers. it doesn't have to be a thru-hike.

Hill Ape
07-22-2013, 13:29
IMO, my advice, worth less than two cents, hike nobo, start mid march-late april. as a self discovery, transformative journey, katahdin is an almost religious goal. springer is somewhat less than awe inspiring. use this winter to get your gear together and save money. opinions on brands vary infinately, but if your skin out packed weight is 50+ lbs, you're probably wrong. as for reading material, check out zach davis' book, appalachian trials. and awols guide book (don't mind his trail name) those are the two best going right now. or, don't read anything. most people overplan.

you being infantry, the physical side won't be an issue, barring accidents which do happen. the mind and the money is what gets most people out there. you'll easily spend 2k on gear, and 5k on the trail. and the virginia blues, well, just push through that.

TD55
07-22-2013, 13:52
Welcome home. You can start the trail anywhere you want. You can start at the closest place to your home, the easyest, fastest place to get on the trail. Hike north or south. Do sections if you want. It's called flip flopping. Many of us use to hike with nothing other than a road map and compass. No data books or guides. It makes it a heck of an adventure but it also makes you extremely self relliant and independent. You can decide your hiking style and such after you get a month or two on the trail. It's easy to jump around on the trail with yellow blazing and bus's and train's. Enjoy your freedom and have a good time. You have already accomplished a huge goal and have nothing to prove to anyone. Seek peace and go grap some of what you deserve.

Fog Horn
07-22-2013, 14:09
Ok, so reading what you guys are writing and looking a little more on my own. I understand where everyone is coming from, in my mind though it was just about wanting to go as soon as I could manage. Thanks for the quick input and support. As far as the AT goes, I'm starting from scratch, as far as my "experience" goes, I have lightly backpacked in the U.S. and heavily in Afghanistan. 80-100 pound packs for miles at a time, every day.

11B here Hill Ape.

I will definitely have to look into a new start date.

I think the biggest "culture shock" when switching from military hiking to civilian hiking is the price tag. When I first started putting my gear together I kept thinking, well I have this Army issue sleep system I could use instead of buying a new one! But the gear that is on the market right now is impressive and switching up your gear can save you a lot of weight. I went from my 55 to 60 pound ruck to a 25 pound bag including food for four days. You might get really into trail cooking as well and there are a ton of recipes out there for making your own freezer bag cooking meals. The difference between an MRE chili mac and a dehydrated version of my fiance's home made chili mac is enormous.

Even if you push your start date back so you can hike NOBO this spring you should keep two things in mind: 1) you can easily start in February. You'll face some snow and cold weather to start, but you can mail your winter gear home when you reach the nicer weather. and 2) each hike you do to get ready for your thru hike still counts as a step towards that end goal.

rocketsocks
07-22-2013, 20:22
Well, hello guys! My name is Tyler. I'm a 24 year old veteran of the Army. I'm planning to thru-hike the trail starting Oct. 1 as a chance to free myself from the stresses of daily life and the PTSD I live with every day. It's been a long time I have done anything for myself, or made/completed a major goal. The intent behind this trip is to find myself again, parts that were lost while over seas. Hopefully even find a better person. I've read a few good books on this, just like many people and now I'm here looking for advice. All feedback is welcome. Great to meet you all!


Have you ever seen this before, tried to send it to you the other day, but not sure if you got it???

http://warriorhike.com/

fredmugs
07-22-2013, 21:24
If you're wanting to just get out there and you can't start before 1 Oct you might want to consider SOBO on the PCT. I don't know for sure what's the latest you can start a SOBO but it may be a easier option.

HikerMom58
07-23-2013, 06:44
Well, hello guys! My name is Tyler. I'm a 24 year old veteran of the Army. I'm planning to thru-hike the trail starting Oct. 1 as a chance to free myself from the stresses of daily life and the PTSD I live with every day. It's been a long time I have done anything for myself, or made/completed a major goal. The intent behind this trip is to find myself again, parts that were lost while over seas. Hopefully even find a better person. I've read a few good books on this, just like many people and now I'm here looking for advice. All feedback is welcome. Great to meet you all!

Hey Tyler .. welcome to WB. I hope that the trail will bring you that healing that you need in your life. It has done that for a member of my own family. I know it will happen for you as well.

Keep asking all the questions you have in getting ready to hike the trail on here. There will be a lot of good people to answer your questions.

Nice to meet you Tyler!!

Crazy Larry #1
07-23-2013, 07:01
Welcome aboard! The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to go do the trail is do it how and when you want, but do take into consideration the advice of those who have been there.....HYOH!

Hikemor
07-23-2013, 07:53
A 60 to 90 day hike starting OCT 1 would be awesome: NOBO from Springer or SOBO from, say, Harpers Ferry. Consider a less stressful goal of hiking until you're tired or feel better or the weather turns to crap rather than a set destination at a set time. IMHO 3 months on-trail is the point where a hiker begins to mentally and physically wear out.

Tipi Walter
07-23-2013, 12:58
Well, hello guys! My name is Tyler. I'm a 24 year old veteran of the Army. I'm planning to thru-hike the trail starting Oct. 1 as a chance to free myself from the stresses of daily life and the PTSD I live with every day. It's been a long time I have done anything for myself, or made/completed a major goal. The intent behind this trip is to find myself again, parts that were lost while over seas. Hopefully even find a better person. I've read a few good books on this, just like many people and now I'm here looking for advice. All feedback is welcome. Great to meet you all!


You took a big step joining the Army and getting thru the training and then going to the Middle East, something most Americans can't/won't do. I used to have a mild form of PTSD after a house fire in '79 but it can't be in any way related to battlefield PTSD. There are several Vietnam combat vets here on Whiteblaze you could talk to. Superman comes to mind as he's done several thruhikes. And Sgt Rock knows about your stuff.

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2010/Thru-Hikers-on-the-Benton/i-kmxgrF2/0/L/TRIP%20109%20024-L.jpg


Here's Superman on a BMT thruhike.


http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2008/Trip-72/i-GfFcbb5/0/M/Trip%2072%20025-M.jpg



Look up Sgt Rock here on Whiteblaze. Here he is pulling a BMT/AT thruhike.


http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2005/Rattlesnakes-In-The-Citico/i-JcLVBqL/0/M/48-12-M.jpg



And finally, I was inspired by meeting Doug on the left, a Ranger from Iraq who lost an eye in a grenade attack and had the gumption and the fortitude to backpack one of the hardest trails in the Southeast---the Upper Slickrock Nutbuster trail---after being wounded. I shared the trail with them for part of a day and after we parted ways I tried to hike with one eye closed---difficult.

gizzy bear
07-23-2013, 13:57
good luck to you!!