Monthly Archives: April 2019

Over 200 miles

Each day I get up and hike. I thought I’d be able to hike longer distances, but the trail is harder with constant ascents and descents that slow me down. I’m doing about 30 minutes a mile and it takes me 8 hours to cover just 16 miles. Typically I wake at 5:45 AM, pack up my tent and start about 6:30 AM and finish about 3-4 PM depending upon how long I stop for lunch. Then it’s time to set up my tent, send my GPS location, make dinner, etc.

Just after reaching 200 miles I hitched into Gatlinburg TN for food resupply. It took too long so I had to stay in town. Two other hikers and I got a room for the night. Two beds and one slept on the floor. We got up at 7 AM to catch a 15 mile ride at 8:30 back to the trail. It was a late start and then it was hours of hiking to get to the shelter for the night. There were at least 12 in the shelter. Each on our own mat and in our sleeping bags. Very communal living.

Everything is so green

Another “Good morning sun”. Notice how high the trail is.
Down we go and then back up we go. All day long we climb thousands of feet and then descend to catch the next mountain.

Miscellaneous things

My AT thru-hiker tag I carry. My number is 2199. Yup, there at least 2198 other idiots trying to do the same thing
See the white blaze (rectangle) paint on the tree. They mark the trail. When I see one I say “On trail”
What can I say other than I’m smiling and it’s sunny for once
Zazzy cloth gaiters protect my shoes from capturing small stones and twigs
Going over Fontana Dam early in the morning as they release a torrent downstream
Entering the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I have to have a special permit to camp and pass through it
Spring flowers along the trail are pretty

And the sun came out

It’s not all rain and snow…

Hiking in the early morn and when the sun appears I say “Good morning Sun”

Here comes the sun

But it’s not all pretty pictures of grass, trees and sun because this is very hard on your feet – such as blisters on my second and third toes

No pain, no rain, no Maine

The trail has many ups and down. Here is an up view
Here is a typical sketchy drinking water source which I filter before drinking
What my home looks like on any typical night
And the it poured for 12 hours
And then the next day it snowed but you must hike on
Passed mile 100 on a cold day

And this was only the first week. I am at mile 102

On trail

On Saturday I flew to Atlanta and took the Marta train to Sandy Springs. There I stayed overnight and on Sunday took the REI shuttle to both Amicalola State Park to get my hiking tag.

At the arch at Amicalola Atate Park

And to Forest Road 42 which is 1 mile from the Spring Mountain terminus.

The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail

Although it was clear for a while it started to torrentially rain. So after 7 miles and soaking wet I camped for the night.

The next day was sunny and cool. Here’s a few photos of the trail.

It’s just a path through the woods
A very long path – 2192 miles

Today I passed Neel Gap where there is a tree for people who are giving up they toss their shoes into it.

Neel Gap shoe tree of those quiting the hike

Today, day 3, I’ve made it to mile 42, but have a severe case of chaff – ugh. Tomorrow I need to resupply in Hiawasee GA.


Here is my “kit” of gear. The “big three” (most weight) are my tent, sleeping bag and backpack. Overall everthing weighs without consumables (food and water) about 15 1/2 lbs, which is quite good.

Labeled Hiking Equipment

At the start I’ll be carrying four days of food, which is way too much for the first 60 miles, but I’m being conservative. Also I probably won’t eat that much, because hiker hunger will not have set in yet.

From left to right, day 1, day 2, day 3 and day 4; from bottom to top breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner.

Preparation done

Today was my last prep hike. Here are my final stats. I covered almost the same distance as I’m planning to hike on the trail – 1919 miles vs 2192 miles. Wow! I didn’t expect that.

I’ve been busy doing all the last minute things. Yesterday I called it a wrap at work – I’ll miss them. Also I bought an old suitcase to hold my backpack during my flight to Atlanta. Today I finished my extra gear list as my last planned document. Right now I’m charging all my device batteries. Tomorrow I have to explode my backpack and make sure I have everything. And then pack it all back up neat and nice, put it in my suitcase, and I’m as ready as I can be.