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  1. #1
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    Default Hiking "teaching " partner

    I plan on a 2018 thru hike. I am needing to get the ball rolling. I would like some help with gear selection and doing a 2-3 day hike. in other words a teacher. I have set up a year off starting in February 2018
    I live about 5 miles from blood mountain in Blairsville

  2. #2

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    I think the folks at Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap would be the most knowledgable advisors around. They see a few thousand hikers every year with the entire spectrum of hiking experience . . . First timers to triple crowners.

    I would think that while their prices might not be the best around, their knowledge certainly is. Even with their prices what they are, I think they could get you started right so that you wouldn't have to buy things two or three times like most of us have while we were figuring things out on our own.

  3. #3
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    It's good to have an experienced companion to learn from, but plenty of people manage to start with zero experience and just learn as they go. No, they're not geniuses, or especially lucky. They learn by watching others on the trail, asking questions, making mistakes, asking more questions. Some things you can learn only by doing, meaning on the trail. There's a whole lot you can learn by reading, by asking questions here on WB, by watching/reading trail journals/blogs, by studying maps and trail guides.

    Examples:
    How do I find water? Get a trail guide, www.theatguide.com is the most common used. It shows where the shelters, water sources, road crossings, campsites, resupply points, viewpoints, big hills, swamps - where all of them are.
    How do I treat water? Google it for a description of options.
    What's the "best" water filter? Ask a question on WB. You'll get plenty of conflicting opinions. Just pick one and go with it.
    (On the trail) I can't figure out how this water filter works. Ask a fellow hiker to show you. Most of us are nice.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul johnson View Post
    I plan on a 2018 thru hike. I am needing to get the ball rolling. I would like some help with gear selection and doing a 2-3 day hike. in other words a teacher. I have set up a year off starting in February 2018
    I live about 5 miles from blood mountain in Blairsville
    Not sure if there's an REI in your area, but the one near me offers lots of free classes on hiking and backpacking for beginners. I went to a winter backpacking one and it was extremely well done.

    If possible, rent your gear first. If you decide you really like backpacking, you may notice rather quickly your gear preference is very different from what you bought the first time out. I know I did, hundreds of dollars later. If you're going to buy, try to buy second hand and definitely do your research while keeping in mind the type of hiker you are. Youtube has lots of product reviews.

    Start small. I started by spending a night in the yard with all the gear, then practiced at a car-camping spot. I used the area as a base camp for a couple days, while still breaking camp in the morning and carrying my pack for hikes I did. On these shorter hikes I also experimented with using my stove, filtering water, placement of gear in the pack, etc. It only really took a day or two to have everything pretty much dialed in and to already notice I wanted some changes in my gear(didn't need a 60L pack, didn't need a big heavy rope, preferred bottles over hydration bladder).

    As long as you have the basics covered, the rest will come to you pretty quickly.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    It's good to have an experienced companion to learn from, but plenty of people manage to start with zero experience and just learn as they go. No, they're not geniuses, or especially lucky. They learn by watching others on the trail, asking questions, making mistakes, asking more questions. Some things you can learn only by doing, meaning on the trail. There's a whole lot you can learn by reading, by asking questions here on WB, by watching/reading trail journals/blogs, by studying maps and trail guides.

    Examples:
    How do I find water? Get a trail guide, www.theatguide.com is the most common used. It shows where the shelters, water sources, road crossings, campsites, resupply points, viewpoints, big hills, swamps - where all of them are.
    How do I treat water? Google it for a description of options.
    What's the "best" water filter? Ask a question on WB. You'll get plenty of conflicting opinions. Just pick one and go with it.
    (On the trail) I can't figure out how this water filter works. Ask a fellow hiker to show you. Most of us are nice.
    Very true. Doing research before-hand is vital, but you're going to learn mostly just by getting out there and doing it. Little situations will always come up where you don't know exactly what to do and may need to improvise, but that's part of the experience. Having a guide or a teacher is nice, but it's really not necessary and may even hinder your learning experience. As illabelle said you can read and watch all different material on life on the trail, and you'll pick up a bunch from that. Backpackers that document their trips (Sintax77 on YT is my favorite) typically go through their gear selections and their day to day routine. Watching videos of a few different hikers and seeing what works for them will help with your gear choices, possibly more than a guide or one hiking partner would.

  6. #6
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    I live nearby (just west of Blairsville). NOT a throughout but have covered all of the GA AT. I can also recommend the folks at Mountain Crossing for solid gear advice. Depending on what gear you have/need/want, I might be able to loan you some stuff. Perhaps we could do a practice hike sometime.

  7. #7
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    Meant "not a throughhiker".

  8. #8

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    If you live so close I would just go out every single weekend or whatever days you have off. Especially RIGHT NOW! There are plenty of people out there of various skill levels that you can learn from - either things to do or things to avoid. The best way is to get out and practice and observe what works for you and others.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  9. #9

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    Can you walk?
    eat?
    sleep?
    Poop?


    You got this. No teacher needed.

  10. #10

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    I'm out backpacking a lot of different places around the area now, so depending on when you wanted to go it would be easy to make that a destination. Let me know

    Mountain Crossings is great, but I couldn't imagine buying something there unless you were on Trail and that was your only option. You're paying for the convenience of them being on trail, but their knowledge is very good as well.

  11. #11
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    I'm in GA too. Section hiker like skater. Sectioning the AT now. Always interested in having someone come along.

  12. #12
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    Find a hiking meetup near you. Maybe contact someone at the Georgia ATC: https://georgia-atclub.org/ and explain what you're up to. I'll bet they'll try to be helpful.

    Renting gear is one option. The other is yard sales, thrift shops, and so on.

    There are plenty of web resources and books that will show you the basics. Check out Google, your local library, bookstore, or Amazon... or the ATC store, online. Or just hang out here on Whiteblaze and glean what you can from the chit-chat.

  13. #13
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    Thank you
    I will check out Mountain crossing. I would like to
    Pick up my pack,tent,sleeping bag before the end of the
    Month. Maybe take a 2 day first week of May? I will
    Check in and keep you updated

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the advice
    Do you have any suggestions regarding where
    To shop for gear. I am 6'4 so I probably need to
    Look in person to make sure things fit right
    I weigh 195 so tall not big lol

  15. #15
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    Thank you
    As I mentioned to a few other hikers
    I am going to shop around for my
    Essential equipment this week. And would like to
    Hit the trail for a day or two first week of May
    Super excited

  16. #16
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    Got it �� I'll keep you posted. I'm open to any help
    With buying gear best bang for the buck.
    There are way to many choices

  17. #17
    mountain squid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul johnson View Post
    I'm open to any help With buying gear best bang for the buck.
    There are way to many choices
    Best bang for the buck might not be good quality gear (and probably not lightweight...). Suggest going to TrailDays next month in Damascus, VA. Lots of gear vendors will be plying their wares. There'll probably be a 'thru-hiker' or two there willing to give advice ...

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

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  18. #18
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    There is a lot of sage advice here on WB and in the backpacking and ultralight areas of reddit. The best teacher is the trail itself as you get to know what works and what doesnt. I read one article where the author had changed out most of his gear 3 or 4 times which I can relate to even as a weekend warrior. The problem with stores is they ste selling what they have which may or may not be a good alignment for you and the cottage guys that you must take a leap if faith with. Im in GA too, glad to go out any weekend.

  19. #19

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    The only problem I see here is just a lack of confidence. As others have said, make a few gear purchases (or borrow or rent), & then go out for a weekend on the trail that is in your doorstep (literally)! Sure you will make a few mistakes, but it will help you make adjustments in your overall plan & gear, & that is what you really need. As you gain more confidence, you make longer trips. You can do this - just make that first leap of faith. And after you do? You will be sooooo glad you did, & you will keep going back! And there are always (this time of year) ppl on the trail to help you if you run into a problem.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul johnson View Post
    I plan on a 2018 thru hike. I am needing to get the ball rolling. I would like some help with gear selection and doing a 2-3 day hike. in other words a teacher. I have set up a year off starting in February 2018
    I live about 5 miles from blood mountain in Blairsville
    on the home page is a block called departments, read through, ask a specific question or...go online and find a used copy of a book call "the complete walker"~Colin Fletcher, just about everything ya wanna know about hiking will be in that book.

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php

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