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  1. #21

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    Nicely said. Or why I’ve been grateful for rain.

    Quote Originally Posted by DownYonder View Post
    The number one thing IMO is test your gear in all conditions....especially your shoes/boots. If you start in decent condition, you will get your trail legs in short order.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottTrip View Post
    When it is pouring rain at your house, go outside and put up your tent in the rain. Now blow up your pad get in sleeping bag and not get soaked. Try until you can do this. When it is snowing, windy, and very cold go outside and spend the night in your sleeping bag with what you are bringing. What not to do. Don't get caught up in sending packages everywhere, you food choices will change.

    Most important, just chill out and get ready to enjoy your life changing adventure.

    This is the real kind of advice people need.

    It is the one thing that section hikes dialed in for me along with some backyard cold weather practice— taught me things I’m glad I learned now.

  3. #23
    Registered User sadlowskiadam's Avatar
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    Not sure of your fitness or body type, but I tried to gain 5-10 lbs prior to my hike knowing I would lose quite a bit of weight. After my first 30 days of hiking, I lost about 25 lbs and lost a total of about 35 lbs by the end of it.
    Iíve spent the last two years consuming information, acquiring gear, and doing overnights/long weekends. Longest trip was completing the Knobstone last November over 4 days. Planning to start at Springer next February. After years of buildup, I expected to have more to do in these last months but feel blank when I try to make a list. What am I missing?[/QUOTE]

  4. #24
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    11) Develop a deep caring knowledgeable relationship with with your feet as a runner does. Liken the depth of the relationship to the relationship people have with their face or personal anatomy. Faces don't get us to Mt K; it's our feet. It's fundamental to a LD hike. While developing cardio or familiarizing with what's in our pack or how well we set up in the rain or how strong our mind are all great aspects of joyfully experiencing hiking if we ignore fostering a caring relationship with everything going on with our feet it feeds into injury, mental anguish, physical pain, etc and ultimately an aborted thru hike experience. Get professional assistance if needed from a higher end qualified running store. Bring your hiking shoes with you. Go to a store that is willing to have a knowledgeable walker, runner, hiker spend time with you analyzing and then recommending.

    http://www.runnersblueprint.com/8-wa...-runners-feet/

    Don't wait until on trail to start developing this deeper relationship with your feet! Do it proactively so you'll less likely to need this knowledge: https://www.amazon.com/Fixing-Your-F.../dp/0899976387
    Still, learn basic blister, callus, heel cracking, nail, fungus, etc treatments.

    Wear those AT shoes off trail at home, around town, to the grocery store, up and down flights of steps, etc. Be aware what's going on longer term than four day on trail treks. All this gets you into the zone. For a LD hiker or runner it's literally where the rubber meets the road.

  5. #25
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    Physical prep: lots of long day hikes with loaded packs in any conditions you can tolerate. If you can mix in some leg workouts, running, etc that would be a nice plus.

    Gear prep: get used to your gear and use it ahead of time. Camp out in your backyard and learn your comfort limits with your particular gear.

    Mental prep: family ready for you to be gone? Home, pets, mail, bills, job? Watch some of the thru hiker videos to learn from their experiences.

    Have fun!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #26

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    If you haven't read Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis, I highly recommend it. It's part thru-hike memoir, part how-to guide that focuses primarily on mental/psychological preparation. A lot of aspiring hikers get obsessed with the physical prep and gear selection, but neglect to prepare for the emotional stress of the trail. The book encourages you to really define your motivation for the trail so that you have a solid defense when you experience frustration, boredom, "the Virginia Blues," etc.

    Other than that, I agree with what everyone else has said: get as physically fit as you can and as comfortable with your gear as you can. I'm lucky enough to live really close to the trail in Virginia, so I was able to do 80 miles over three short shakedown hikes (9 days total) all in the two weeks before I flew down to Springer. Because there were so few thru-hikers already in Virginia in early April, I was alone most of this time (including my first two nights ever camping totally alone), which gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to safely and enjoyably hike the A.T. by myself. This meant that when I started at Amicalola, in addition to having a head-start on the trail-legs-acquisition process, I never felt pressured to go faster or slower to stay with a "tramily" formed early on just to have a safety net. I was comfortable enough in my own company that I could take my time getting to know people and see who I matched paces with naturally instead of purposefully trying to hike with a group early on. I saw a lot of hikers struggling in the beginning trying to "keep up" with the first few people they got along with, but that just makes you more likely to get injured (or, if you're the faster person, you'll just get frustrated at being held back). The relationships you build on the trail are truly one of the best parts, but it's important to hyoh, especially at the beginning!
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hike Hopeful
    Follow along at www.tefltrekker.com

  7. #27
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EO. View Post
    What did you do in the 2-3 months leading up to your thru hike/attempt/LASH? What should one do in those 2-3 months?


    Iíve spent the last two years consuming information, acquiring gear, and doing overnights/long weekends. Longest trip was completing the Knobstone last November over 4 days. Planning to start at Springer next February. After years of buildup, I expected to have more to do in these last months but feel blank when I try to make a list. What am I missing?
    All good advice

    But also :

    http://nighthikingtomars.blogspot.co...ional.html?m=1
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  8. #28
    Occasionally lucid
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    Train. Good advice above.
    Work. Save as much $ as possible.

    I'm not a big fan of Feb starts. For any prospective THs on a limited budget, starting a couple months later is a chance to accumulate more $ and reduce costs (less gear, less on-trail expense).
    GA -> ME
    '86 -> '89

  9. #29
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Lots of great advice here! I'd say set up your equipment outside when it's cold, wet, and raining, and get used to packing things up in a timely/neatly manner. For example, i pack everything in my pack the same way, every time so I can grab and go if I need to. Don't overthink the gear list. There's way too much info and it can get confusing. Use what works for you and there's plenty of spots along the way to send things back, hiker box, or purchase something that'll work better than what you may have. Watch what others are using for cooking, food they buy, etc... That helped me a lot get out of the eating the same thing every day rut. Lastly, I say take this last few months to get in shape. You'll lose weight along the way most likely, but no sense on carrying any extra right from the get go like I did. I lost 46lbs overall in my 133 days (I had a bit to lose at the start you might say. Haha).
    - Trail name: Thumper

  10. #30
    Registered User EO.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookinpanub View Post
    Physical conditioning. Stairs, cardio, etc. I ran stadium steps at the local college football stadium. One "off-the-wall" thing I did regarded my feet. I wore the shoes that I intended to hike in and wore them for a day with no socks. I came home and marked the areas on my feet that had hot spots with permanent markers. I would then rub my feet down with alcohol each night and finish by roughing the spots up a little with sandpaper. I can't recall where I heard that technique, but I walked the entirety of the trail with zero blisters, so at a minimum it didn't hurt to try.
    Another thing I did was try to educate my family about what I was getting into. I don't come from a family of backpackers so letting them know the ins and outs helped on their end. I gave my parents a map of the entirety of the AT. They put it on the wall and marked my progress by pins when I would call home. This was back before Guthook and AWOL, but I gave them the set of books that came with my maps. Unbeknownst to me, my mom was reading the books as I was going through the areas and was learning about the areas. All that to say........educate your family members, build support (if possible), and figure out a way for them to track your location and know a little bit about the environment you are in. Support at home is priceless.
    Nothing could have prepared me for the mental challenges. I walked the whole thing alone and the solitude was maddening at times and comforting at others. Just know that a long distance trip like this WILL change you. Expect it. Embrace it.
    Good luck to you.
    I like your approach to preparing your feet. I would've never thought to callous my feet before I hit the trail. I've been breaking in some trail runners but might try them without socks to see where they are causing hot spots.

    Yes, educating my family has been interesting! When I first brought this up 2 years ago, they were very worried. But after getting them hooked on various Youtubers (shoutout to Early Riser and PeeWee), they're much more supportive.

  11. #31
    Registered User EO.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    11) Develop a deep caring knowledgeable relationship with with your feet as a runner does. Liken the depth of the relationship to the relationship people have with their face or personal anatomy. Faces don't get us to Mt K; it's our feet. It's fundamental to a LD hike. While developing cardio or familiarizing with what's in our pack or how well we set up in the rain or how strong our mind are all great aspects of joyfully experiencing hiking if we ignore fostering a caring relationship with everything going on with our feet it feeds into injury, mental anguish, physical pain, etc and ultimately an aborted thru hike experience. Get professional assistance if needed from a higher end qualified running store. Bring your hiking shoes with you. Go to a store that is willing to have a knowledgeable walker, runner, hiker spend time with you analyzing and then recommending.

    http://www.runnersblueprint.com/8-wa...-runners-feet/

    Don't wait until on trail to start developing this deeper relationship with your feet! Do it proactively so you'll less likely to need this knowledge: https://www.amazon.com/Fixing-Your-F.../dp/0899976387
    Still, learn basic blister, callus, heel cracking, nail, fungus, etc treatments.

    Wear those AT shoes off trail at home, around town, to the grocery store, up and down flights of steps, etc. Be aware what's going on longer term than four day on trail treks. All this gets you into the zone. For a LD hiker or runner it's literally where the rubber meets the road.
    Great article by Shane! Thanks for sharing. I'm wearing in my trail runners but could definitely consult a professional and learn more about foot care.

  12. #32
    Registered User EO.'s Avatar
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    Thank you all! You've provided a lot of practical and logistical things to be doing these next few months. Here’s the start of my list based on your advice:

    Dentist appointment (have been putting this off for months already)
    Set up gear in the rain/snow
    Hike with pack in rain/snow
    Stairs at work (building has 36 floors)
    Treat clothes with Permethrin
    Start eating trail food
    Gain 5-10 pounds
    Read Zach Davis’s book (been meaning to get to this – going on the Christmas list now)
    Talk to friends/family about post-trail plans
    Buy AT maps for family (good Christmas gift idea)

    I really appreciate your thoughtful responses!

  13. #33
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    12) Assemble music that inspires, drives, gets you to follow through, puts a laugh on your face, brings peace, directs your psychology with intention of empowering with energy, energizing, helps to fall asleep, when you're struggling, etc...geared towards LD backpacking. You might think it terms of categorizing in terms of having songs for when waking up in the morning as a LD hiker backpacker, night hiking, it's raining to appreciate experiencing rain, getting you to the summit of a hill or mountain, making you feel unstoppable, loving life, enjoying Nature, having a sense of wonderment and adventure, appreciating opportunities for a more self directed LIFE, staying warm walking in the snow, achieving greater connections with yourself, the rest of humanity, and a wider environment. This is a tool for dealing proactively with the mental side of LD hiking.

  14. #34
    Is it raining yet?
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    Some people like Stair Masters but living in Florida for years, getting on a treadmill with a steep incline for 10 minutes, 3xs a week, kept my legs in excellent, uphill walking shape.
    Be Prepared

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