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  1. #1
    Registered User wilsonspaz68's Avatar
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    :banana First Time Woman Hiker... need advice!

    I am taking my first section hike on the AT in April. I am excited and scared all at the same time. I have hiked small trails before, including Hawksbill in Shenandoah National Park (where the incline damn near killed me). I am somewhat out of shape, but I'm determined to get through 60 or so miles with my fiance come spring.

    We'll be doing the north half of Shenandoah National Park. I have some idea of what to bring (he did this section last year), but I could use some different advice from a woman's point of view. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    The articles section is a good place to start, lots of information even if you are only doing a section...
    Gaiter
    homepage.mac.com/thickredhair
    web.mac.com/thickredhair/AT_Fall_07

  3. #3
    Registered User BumpJumper's Avatar
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    Congrats and good luck.
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  4. #4
    Registered User boarstone's Avatar
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    relax, relax,...it's just sectin hiking, you'll just be doing it everyday...stop thinking of it as thru hiking or that it's over 2,000...
    Do one thing everyday...that makes you happy...

  5. #5
    One Small Section at a Time Frau's Avatar
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    If you have long hair make sure you have what you need to be comfortable with it. I wear ine in a pony tail but feel lost if I forget to bring a bandana along which I wear as a sweat band, to hold stray hairs off my forehead and to use as a washcloth if necessary.

    Have great fun!

    Frau

  6. #6
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    take lots of wet wipes. I ration myself three a day for quick clean ups at night.
    Also, take something to wear to bed that you won't wear during the day. Keeps your bag from getting really stinky. I take a pair of cotton p.j.'s
    good luck and happy hiking
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  7. #7

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    I'm sure you'll do fine. I'm interpreting what you've said to mean that you haven't backpacked before. So, I'll suggest that if you really have your heart on getting 60 miles in the Shenandoahs this spring, you might try to do an overnight near home sometime before then. That will give you a better idea about pack weight and what you really want and need, and how your stuff works, etc.. Just my two cents.

    Pringles

  8. #8

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    It could snow and turn cold.
    I say that not to freak you out, but to invite you into the adventure and wonder of it if it does. It could be an amazing time.
    As long as you have a good hat, gloves, a set of dry clothes you change into immediately upon getting into camp and sub-20 bag, you can go anywhere.

    My first backpack ever was mid-April 2001. The temperature dropped into the teens! It snowed! My partners turned back. I was freaked, but I'd caught the AT bug, spent a bunch on gear and time taken off from work, so I pressed on alone.

    It was terrifying. And also awesome. One of the highlights of my life.
    I was on my way to becoming a new person when I walked into town four days later.
    All this by way of saying - it can get adicting.
    ;-)

    PS You'll be pushed out of your comfort zone in many ways, so make a commitment to yourself at the outset re: your attitude.
    In other words, when stressed - and you will be, everyone is to some degree - don't go to default mode (whatever that may be, realistically, it's usually negative for most people). Look for something new, something that will help you embrace the challenges instead of shrink from them.

    Also - communication. Get straight from the start that you will not be struggling to keep up with a stronger partner. If you're doing this together, work it out beforehand that the slower partner sets the pace.

    There's no quicker way to learn to hate backpacking than to add the head-stuff of always feeling left behind or pressured to move faster. Agree together to make this a learning trip, and then set future goals for picking up the pace.

    With that out of the way, enjoy the vistas of mountain, mountain, mountain, mountain... as far as the eye can see.... very awesome, but you'll miss it if anxious, stressed or furious.
    "The Ordinary Adventurer"
    http://www.FunFreedom.com

  9. #9

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    Excellent advice, Jan. The whole comfort thing for women can be a big issue to new hikers.

    I'd also recommend a great book to read during the cold months while you're getting into hiking mode it's my favorite: The Ordinary Adventurer.
    ad astra per aspera

  10. #10
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    All I can say is, take it easy, esp if you found Hawksbill hard. With a pack on its doubly hard. Give yourself plenty of time to do it (and tell your fiance you need that also). You will need to take a tent so you can stop and camp where you need to.

    I'd suggest you try to get out there and walk with a pack on, even if it's in the neighborhood. Do you have any gear yet? Try to go as light as you can will make the trip more pleasant too.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  11. #11
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Usually it does not snow in SNP in April - though we encoutered snow twice in '07 on the trail in early April in Erwin, TN and outside Damascus. But the nice thing about VA is that it's here today, gone tomorrow. Melts very quickly. Mid April on should be no problem. BUT prepare for cold, nights in the 20s. (which on a day like today is actually rather warm...)







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


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