Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32
  1. #1

    Default To All past thru hikers.

    I would like to know what you would do different if you were to hike the AT again. What would you change? What would you add? How would you lighten you backpack? What type hiking boots would you use? What type of food would you carry? Would you resupply more often to lighten the food load?

    I would like your feedback on all parts of you thru hike. I plan to thru hike in 2012 and have never done a long distant hike before. In fact I have done very little hiking in the few years and I am 76 years old. I have always wanted the AT and tried in 2007 but has heart problems so had to stop. I have now had open heart surgery and a defibrilator install and the doctor says I should be alright to hike. One thing I do like about him is he is also a backpacker so he better understand what will work.

    Thus I shall hit the AT on March 15TH of 2012. I plan to do a thru hike but if not go as far as I can. I plan to start off slow and let my lungs and body adjust to the mountains before I start trying to make much mileage. So any help or advice that you can provide would be much appreciated.

    Tomman
    tomman1@verizon.net

  2. #2

    Default

    You probably won't have the problem but if I were to hike it again I'd make sure I had enough money to finish. I've also reduced my pack weight since then. I started the AT with a 50lb pack which included 4 days of food. There's no need to start with over 20 lbs plus food and water.

    Just take your time, about 8 miles per day for the 1st week ot two, then build up to 10 and 12 mile days. By the time you get to Hot Springs you'll start feeling better. Resupply as often as possible. IMO, it's silly to carry food when you pass within a few miles of a town. Since you're starting fairly early you'll have plenty of time to afford.

    I also took two ibuprophen or aleve a night for the first few weeks whether I neeeded it or not. My theory was it would reduced any swelling that would or could occur in my knees overnight.

  3. #3
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-23-2008
    Location
    Athens, GA
    Age
    50
    Posts
    2,850
    Images
    7

    Default

    My next thru hike will change a lot because I have grown up, hike a lot more now and technology has changed so much but here are a few things that I could suggest that a lot of folks seem to do wrong (in my opinion):

    get trail shoes vs. boots (unless you think you are super heavy or an un-stable walker - then maybe re-think thru-hiking)
    plan very few if any mail-drops (only for select items - like contact lenses and new companion pages - stuff you can't just buy)
    embrace "lightweight" as best you can but don't get too caught up in "ultra-light" - to me, there is a point of diminishing return - just don't carry a bunch of stuff - like water pumps - try to get your actual carrying pack weight with food and water at or under 30 pounds - - in mid summer, you should be able to get down to the mid-20s.
    don't pump water - pumps break and clog and don't always work anyway - treat water with aqua-mira if you are going to treat at all
    start out slow - like 8 miles a day all the way through GA - even if you can do more - - spend time gently stretching and relaxing if you finish early you'll be doubling that mileage and more before you know it.
    obviously, due to your condition - pay close attention to your body but don't over-analyze - everybody gets stinky, super tired, and hungry - part of the deal
    oh - watch your feet - don't use mole-skin - doesn't work (at least not for backpackers) - open blisters with a sterile needle and tape 'em down with duck tape (what I do) or a Dr. Scholl's blister pad - open em and let em dry out at night - they will callous over -- your feet will hurt for 100 miles - then they will be fine

  4. #4
    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2007
    Location
    Rhome, TX / Monroe, NH
    Age
    60
    Posts
    7,277
    Images
    27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tomman View Post
    Thus I shall hit the AT on March 15TH of 2012. I plan to do a thru hike but if not go as far as I can. I plan to start off slow and let my lungs and body adjust to the mountains before I start trying to make much mileage. So any help or advice that you can provide would be much appreciated.

    Tomman
    tomman1@verizon.net
    Wait another month and start April 15.

  5. #5
    GA-ME 2011
    Join Date
    03-17-2007
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,006
    Images
    9

    Default

    I started March 14th, no problem, just depends on the weather. Starting earlier allowed me to take time off to recover from an injury and still finish.
    You're on the right track, start slow and build up. Good Luck.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  6. #6

    Default

    Hey tomman there's actually a really good thread already about asking thru-hikers what they would do differently. It's given me a lot of tips and ideas for some things to do on my hike next year. Here it is: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...ifferently\%22

    I

  7. #7
    Registered User Monkeywrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-03-2008
    Location
    Quincy, MA (Boston area)
    Age
    58
    Posts
    675

    Default

    - I'd go slower.
    - I'd spend less time in town. (well, I say that now, but town has a very strong gravity when it's been raining and cold for 5 days straight).
    - I'd try to worry less about making it to Katahdin and focus more on the day at hand.
    - I'd do everything I could think of to lighten my pack.
    - I'd blue blaze. A lot!
    ~~
    Allen "Monkeywrench" Freeman
    NOBO 3-18-09 - 9-27-09
    blog.allenf.com
    allen@allenf.com
    www.allenf.com

  8. #8

    Default

    My answer to this question is always "lower your pack weight!!!!". We thought we did a good job on analyzing and reducing pack weight before the start of our 2008 thru-hike. Well, 2175 miles later we determined that we did not do well at all. Our AT base weight was about 20 pounds. Now, we are around 10 pounds (if not a pound or two lower, depending on the season) and we enjoy hiking so much more. What really did it for us was listing every single item we carried in a spreadsheet and then asking ourselves, "do we really need it and if so, can it be replaced with a lighter weight item". Gone are the camp shoes, the "kitchen" (stove, pan, fuel, fuel bottle) and ground sheet for under the tent. Replaced with lighter items are water filter (clorox or Aqua Mira), packs, tent and sleeping pad (we now use just 6 sections of the z-rest rather than a full one). We read somewhere that cutting our base weight like we did means we now hike 5 more miles a day without expending any extra energy...now whether that is 100% true or not, who knows, but I can tell you it is a heck of a lot easier on our aging joints and is more fun (for us). As we tell folks asking this question, it's easy to carry a "heavy" pack for a weekend hike or even a several week hike....but carrying a "heavy" pack for 5+ months is not easy, nor necessarily fun (again, for us). But it's HYOH. You'll figure out what works for you. Good luck! Wishing you the best!

  9. #9
    bamboo bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-03-2005
    Location
    Rockingham VT and Boston, MA
    Age
    68
    Posts
    1,202
    Images
    1

    Default

    I would only listen to long distance hikers about gear, food, miles etc. And I would only pay attention to people my own age and abilities, and sensabilities. Take no advice from 22 year old marathon runners unless you are one.

    The PCT and AT are not the same. A tarp on the AT has to contend with much more than on the PCT.

    Also avoid the post office as much as possible. A PO with a bad attitude can really mes things up for you.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  10. #10

    Default

    My list in the few years after my hike would have been much like those of the others in this thread. Now that I have flashed many times (fing long a$$ section hiking) I have realized my thru was absolutely perfect. All of it, even the cold wet tired and hungry parts were what was right for me at the time. Do what instinctively feels right to you and your hike will be perfect also.

  11. #11
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-23-2008
    Location
    Athens, GA
    Age
    50
    Posts
    2,850
    Images
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by royalusa View Post
    My answer to this question is always "lower your pack weight!!!!". We thought we did a good job on analyzing and reducing pack weight before the start of our 2008 thru-hike. Well, 2175 miles later we determined that we did not do well at all. Our AT base weight was about 20 pounds. Now, we are around 10 pounds (if not a pound or two lower, depending on the season) and we enjoy hiking so much more. What really did it for us was listing every single item we carried in a spreadsheet and then asking ourselves, "do we really need it and if so, can it be replaced with a lighter weight item". Gone are the camp shoes, the "kitchen" (stove, pan, fuel, fuel bottle) and ground sheet for under the tent. Replaced with lighter items are water filter (clorox or Aqua Mira), packs, tent and sleeping pad (we now use just 6 sections of the z-rest rather than a full one). We read somewhere that cutting our base weight like we did means we now hike 5 more miles a day without expending any extra energy...now whether that is 100% true or not, who knows, but I can tell you it is a heck of a lot easier on our aging joints and is more fun (for us). As we tell folks asking this question, it's easy to carry a "heavy" pack for a weekend hike or even a several week hike....but carrying a "heavy" pack for 5+ months is not easy, nor necessarily fun (again, for us). But it's HYOH. You'll figure out what works for you. Good luck! Wishing you the best!
    this person has two things figured out:
    1) how to lower pack weight and
    2) how to set yourself up to be in a really dangerous uncomfortable fix in bad weather

    I'm just picking and being a little funny, but if I get my pack weight from 35 pounds down to about 27 pounds, that's good and meaningful and I'll go faster and more comfortably -- if I get it down to about 18 or 19 pounds, I'm really NOT going to go that much faster than at 27 pounds - certainly not factoring in the fact that I'm not sleeping comfortably at night and dodging hypothermia with the next cold rain storm.

    Just my 2 cents

  12. #12
    GA-ME 2011
    Join Date
    03-17-2007
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,006
    Images
    9

    Default

    According to the ATC only 11 people over 70 have completed a thru-hike. I would have thought it was more, I hiked with several people over 70 this year.
    Good luck, I hope you do well. Feel free to PM me if there's anything I can do to help. I'm near the trail in S. PA.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  13. #13
    Registered User d.o.c's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-24-2009
    Location
    troutville, Va
    Age
    27
    Posts
    615

    Default

    id sobo see it from a diffrent angle.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tomman View Post
    I would like to know what you would do different if you were to hike the AT again.
    I would take triple the number of photos of people I'd me on the Trail than I actually had taken on my AT thru-hike.

    Datto

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-16-2005
    Location
    Land of Pagosah
    Posts
    2,637

    Default Ya know...

    you may just prefer a filter to drops... You may prefer a tent over tarp, etc. etc. My partner last year on the trail was 69 and loved his filter but went light on all his other gear, except food. I like a good tent, air pad, stove. Even w/ dog food I think my pack weighed less at around 30lbs. What I have changed is shoes - light and loose, most any decent runner. My pack weight has stayed about the same over the years. Weight saved on one piece of gear is traded for comfort or ease but more weight on another. Going sobo is great but Maine/ N.H. starting out, in my opinion would be more difficult. Don't get in a hurry or have a schedule. Figure out how many miles you like to walk on average and try not to go too far between resupply- as there is no need.Expect to be sore , tired, etc. for awhile. Above all enjoy yourself- smiles above miles

  16. #16

    Default

    Nean has it dead on..stay within ur comfort zone no one else's. Take ur time rest and stretch it out when it feels comfortable to u I find that older folks can b more determined and scrappy then most enjoy the trail and keep on keepg on c u out there

  17. #17
    Registered User brian039's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-27-2009
    Location
    Guntersville, Alabama
    Age
    38
    Posts
    579
    Images
    2

    Default

    I would have taken more pictures of people that I met. Everything else went pretty smooth, I spent more than I planned on but had enough money to cover it. Go at your own pace, but remember Katahdin closes when the weather gets bad or after Oct 15th, whichever comes first. There's a time and place to slow down and enjoy your hike but make miles when there aren't any roses to smell so to speak. I'd recommend not flip-flopping or you kind of get outcast from thru-hiker society, if that matters to you. No two thru-hikers have the same set-up but try to go as light as possible. The hike should be good for your heart but your joints will take a pounding, hopefully you're lucky enough not to get an overuse-type injury. You can try to prevent them all you want but it mainly comes down to luck. Take the hike one resupply at a time mentally and don't think about Maine until you get there. And yes definitely use the frequent resupply points to your advantage to lighten your load and if you get the opportunity to slack-pack, take it, your knees will thank you. Don't let anybody else tell you how you should hike your hike, meaning, there will be people out there who for whatever reason look down on people who take blue-blazes, slack-pack, etc. And the same goes for people who look down on people for following white-blazes only. It's a bunch of nonsense that should be ignored and you do what you want.

  18. #18
    Trail miscreant Bearpaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-21-2005
    Location
    Ooltewah, TN
    Age
    46
    Posts
    2,520
    Images
    286

    Default

    Differently? I'd blue-blaze, slackpack, and go SOBO.

    My 1999 hike was "my own hike". (After all, nobody was hiking it for me.) But a second thru-hike for me wouldn't be nearly so "by-the-numbers" as my first.

    As for gear, if you're still thinking about it much after the Smokies, you've pretty much missed the whole purpose of a thru-hike. JMO.
    If people spent less time being offended and more time actually living, we'd all be a whole lot happier!

  19. #19
    Geo SOBO 10
    Join Date
    02-16-2011
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Age
    31
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Tomman, Great Question! I admire you for setting out at 76.

    I would have gone with a ULA Catalyst pack (made in the USA 3lbs) over my heavy Gregory pack. My Gregory is great but 3lbs vs. 5lbs 9 oz can make difference over time. I would have gone with a Big Ag Fly creek or tarp tent which are around 2lbs. Aqua Mira drops are way better than a pump. Invest in a good sturdy hiking shoe. Your shoes or boots should be about a half size larger than street shoes for going down hill. I took trekking poles and I would do it again!!!! Micro spikes for Ice early on or late for Sobo's like myself.

    I should have invested in Gators. I would have used a smaller stove, Jet Boil is good but bulky. I like Snow Peak and MSR's Iso Butane products. I would have gotten a less bulky sleeping pad. Invest in a nice sleeping bag (do your research, the Marmot Sawtooth is alot of bang for the Buck) Montbell and Western Mountaineering are cream of the crop.

    I recommend Patagonia Cap three tops and bottoms or Smart wool, a down sweater or a pirma loft sweater like the Patagonia Nano Puff. My EB first ascent worked well. Go with a 1 liter Platypus bag it can hold 1 liter of water or be folded away for storage. Poweraide water bottles work well on the trail.

    If you are ever in East Tennessee and need some help come over to Little River Trading company in Maryville, Myself and my co-worker Wildcat, who is a triple crowner, can help you out.

    If you or anyone needs any help with gear or trail advice come visit us at
    http://www.littlerivertradingco.com/location-contact/
    LRTC
    2408 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy
    Maryville TN 37408
    Geo SOBO 10

  20. #20
    Geo SOBO 10
    Join Date
    02-16-2011
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Age
    31
    Posts
    20

    Default

    At your age you may want to consider flip flopping, I hike with Tattor Chip age 63 who flipped. He did not have to worry about getting to Kathadin in time.
    Geo SOBO 10

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •