Why am I taking time off work to go for a months-long walk in the woods? To address that question, and others that I'm hearing a lot, I present this FAQ regarding my 2014 Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
"Thru-hiking the AT"? What does that mean?
"The AT" is hiker shorthand for the Appalachian Trail, a long-distance footpath stretching through fourteen states along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. The trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin in Maine's Baxter State Park. "Thru-hiking" refers to hiking the full length of the trail in a single, continuous journey.
Yesterday was my first full day home at Old Faithful. After breakfast, I checked the temperature outside—six below zero—and got my things together to head out for a quick ski. I felt it was my moral obligation to take advantage of the knee-deep, powdery snow before I tackled any of my other chores for the day. So then I faced the big decision: what to wear?
I started backpacking when I was in my late teens. Not having much money, I borrowed gear from other people for my trips. In the process I learned about what worked well—and what really didn’t. One piece at a time, over a period of years, I built up a versatile collection of outdoors gear. I’ve kept some things for years, and swapped out or upgraded other items. At this point, I feel prepared for just about any trip I would want to do. And the foundation of it all is the pack.
Whether you’re headed out for a quick weekend trip or the through-hike of a lifetime, you’re going to be carrying everything you need on your back, so your backpack needs to be both comfortable and functional. One of the questions I hear most often regarding function is, how big is big enough? Read more