Oh how the times have changed! Don’t worry folks, I’m alive and much more betterer at camping and the woods are so much less scary than I thought! This trip has taught me a whole bunch about facing fears and finding the strength within yourself to accomplish crazy feats.
So, from the small amount of time I’ve spent around/talking to friends or fam who want to know about trail life, these are some common questions I’ve come across.
What do you eat?
Ramen, instant mashed potatoes (sometimes together, that’s called a Rom Bomb), rice, cliff bars, pop tarts, other protein bars, nuts on nuts on nuts, tuna, chicken, tortillas, and Nutella. Turns out (in a shocking turn of events) that your body will start to crave/need fresh food eventually, so I get that when I get into town. My diet’s undergoing a huge change as we speak to include more grains (like quinoa!) and fresh food on the first day after resupplying.
So, where do you sleep at night?
In a tent. In a campground. There are campgrounds. Where you camp. It’s, I know, it can get complicated but I find my way.
Ok all silly sarcasm aside, one can either “stealth camp” at an unmarked flat area on the side of the trail where there is probably a fire pit made of stones but maybe not any water, or a shelter that is marked in the guidebook. Shelters might have privys where one can #2 and they will definitely have a picnic table and area to camp. I prefer camping because shelters can get cramped and people tend to snore.
Do you plan out your day or just go?
Not really! Yeah we mostly just go! Enough planning does happen for resupplying, though. You got to know about how many days it’ll be before you get into a town so you can buy an adequate amount of food.
When do you get up in the morning?
Mostly with the sun, except for when it’s cloudy or raining. It takes me about an hour to eat/chill/write/pack up every morning regardless of the hour of rising.
What do you do when it rains?
I heard about “hiker midnight,” you must go to sleep so early!
Hah, yeah but no. Nearly everyone is passed out or in their tents by the time the sun sets but I can’t sleep and stay up with my headlamp writing or looking at the stars.
Have you seen any bears?!
Are you alone? Or do you see a lot of hikers?
I never feel alone. The hikers are definitely starting to spread out. So at the beginning you’d pass at least 5-10 hikers every day. The shelters are places where hikers accumulate. Only once did we end up at a shelter alone, which was strange. Most hikers plan their hike by making it to a shelter at night.
That’s another thing – “we.” I am lucky enough to have someone who puts up with my antics and pace. His name is Pineapple and he’s the one in all the photos and we talk a lot or just walk in silence, either way we have fun. We end up alongside other hikers and keep seeing them. It’s exciting to see old faces that you haven’t seen in awhile when everyone ends up catching up to each other. Like the other day! Pineapple and I have been going slower so we got to see Hobo Joe and Gears again! It was amazing! The thing about these beautiful gentlemen is that they’re not as slow or old as they may say to you – they’re really abled bodied hikers – they just take more time off than we do because they have family and friends to see along the trail.
So that’s how the cookie crumbles!
Thassit, that’s my life. It’s hard to explain but it’s really not complicated. Even when things get difficult, you keep going. Movement and momentum, motivation – it’s all in abundance out on the Appalachian Trail.
Until next time, xo Wayne