Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Mobile Home Has No Wheels

In 8 nights I will not be falling asleep on a soft European pillow top mattress padded with a memory foam topper and an extra thick mattress pad, I’ll instead be dozing off while counting sheep jumping over me as I lay on the ground.  Hard.  Well, it won’t actually be that bad…I’m going to have a super soft 1 inch inflatable sleep pad between me and the ground…that should suffice!

The photo here shows my new mobile home…aka, my tent.  For the next 6 months this will be ground zero for all of my adventures.  Only thing is, the ground underneath it will constantly be changing!  The tent I picked for the trip is the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 ultralight backpacking tent.  This mobile home weighs in at 2 lbs 9 ounces.  I choose the Fly Creek over the Hennessy Hammock because I’ve never really slept in a hammock before, but the Hennessy Hammock is a pretty cool idea, look it up!

I set the tent up the other day in our apartment, it was almost too big! (or our apartment is too small)  I pitched the tent, got in it, tested out the mummy sleeping bag, laid my backpack beside me, and we just fit!  Most nights I may not be sleeping in the tent, I’ll be catching some zzzz’s on the floor of a 3 walled shelter with several other hikers.  But for nights that the shelters are full, or when someone smells extraordinarily bad, maybe even me, I will have the freedom to move away and set up my own mobile home.  The other time I might use this will be in extreme weather.  If a storm rolls in and it’s too nasty to continue hiking we’ll just stop, pop up camp, and wait it out.  I’ve seen several YouTube videos posted from hikers saying they had been in their tent for the better part of a day waiting out a storm…that could be a lot of hours in a small 1 person tent without TV! 
As my friend and AT mentor Garrett Kababik said about this picture “Say goodbye to fresh tent smell!”  I can only imagine how my gear will start to have that musky smell a few days in.  Wait, was that a musky smell, or musty smell…I remember wearing musk cologne when I was younger, I’m fairly sure I’m going to be smelling a bit more musty on this trail though…

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Driving Directions

I probably shouldn’t have…but I did…

I went to Google Maps and typed in driving directions from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine…and this popped up.  The distance is 800 miles shorter, 1,376 miles of driving versus 2,184 miles of walking, but the big difference is the travel time.  Walking may take from 4 to 6 months…driving…1 day 1 hour.  Big difference!   I guess the easiest thing would be to drive it…and next easiest would be to walk the driving directions…but I’m still planning to hike the trail!

Brian Sarvis said it best when I showed him this map, “I guess it’s the route we take in life that matters most.”

Given a choice the majority of people would most likely drive this rather than hike it, or better yet, just stay home!  In our daily lives we’ve become accustomed to taking the easy way, keeping things simple, and avoiding the difficult tasks.  Making the decision to take the harder, more risky path is out of the norm and often looked down on and ridiculed.  Reminds me of another great thought…

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Thursday, February 23, 2012


This is what 2,184 miles of maps looks like spread out on our coffee table.  Now it is time to section them out and plan when Amy will send them to us along the trail!
We will probably start with a few maps that cover the first few states in my backpack.  The more maps I carry the more weight I have and the idea is to stay as light as possible!  Since Amy will be sending more supplies later it will be no problem to throw in a few maps in some of the shipments.

With all these maps I hope we don't get lost!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Appalachian Trail Hike

Welcome to my Appalachian Trail blog!  I will be hiking the Appalachian Trail this year and I’m planning to keep you updated on my progress via this blog.  Below is an introduction to the A.T. by the numbers…

-          2,184 miles long
-          14 states are crossed while walking from Georgia to Maine
-          4-6 months is how long it takes the average thru-hiker to finish
-          250 three sided shelters along the trail for me to sleep in
-          16 – The total elevation gain of hiking the entire A.T. is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest 16 times
-          2-3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. every year
-          2,000 hikers attempt a thru-hike each year
-          1 in 4 who attempt the thru-hike successfully complete the journey
-          6,000 calories per day is burned by the average thru-hiker
-          1 awesome beard that I’ll have by the end if I can make it the whole way without shaving

Our start date for the trail is March 8th, so it is coming up fast.  I’m in focused planning mode now; it takes a lot of work!  Starting in early March and hiking for about 6 months puts the tentative end date in late August.

I’ll be hiking with my roommate from college, Ryan Simko.  We are planning to hike the entire trail together as thru-hikers.  We will also be starting with our friend from Santa Barbara, Brian Sarvis, who will be hiking with us for the first several weeks.  If we can’t talk him into staying on the trail he will return home for a break and then rejoin us for the last few weeks of the hike.  We’ll also be joined by more friends and family who are interested in hiking a few days with us…everyone is welcome!

There will be more to come, follow this blog or follow me on Facebook to watch our progress!

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
- John Muir