Thinking About Thru Hiking? Here Is A Book You Must Read

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“Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for.”

-Anonymous

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”

-Frank A. Clark

When people start thinking about thru hiking the Appalachian Trail, it is mostly a romantic notion. As you sit on your couch reading book after book and watching the vlogs of thru hikers on YouTube, it doesn’t look that bad. You’re on your own. No work and no job. It’s just you and the trail hiking every day. Right? Not so fast.

I just finished reading Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking The Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis. A hiker and backpacker himself, the author thru hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011, finishing in five months.

I learned very quickly in Marine Corps basic training that the physical part of the training was going to be the easy part. At 18 years old, I had thought that would be the case. It was the mental aspect of what I was doing that, at times, almost spelled doom for me. But I toughed it out.

Zach Davis pretty much makes the same claim. Getting your “trail legs” and being able to hike 15-20 miles becomes manageable as you make your way to Mt. Katahdin. Unfortunately, the stress of the trail, home, and life in general present obstacles that sometimes become too much for people and they get off of the trail.

Zach identfies these issues and addresses them head on. There is no mamby pampy nonsense here. He tells it like it is and by doing this he hopefully will prevent thru hikers from falling prey to quitting because they listen to much to the negative thoughts flowing through their mind.

I took the following from Amazon:

In Appalachian Trials readers will learn:
• Effective goal setting techniques that will assure you reach Mt. Katahdin
• The common early stage pitfalls and how to avoid them
• How to beat “the Virginia Blues”
• The importance of and meaning behind “hiking your own hike”
• 5 strategies for unwavering mental endurance
• The most common mistake made in the final stretch of the trail
• The top method for staving off stress 
• Tips for enjoying rather than enduring each of the five million steps along the journey

Anyone even remotely thinking about thru hiking the AT should read this book at least once. I know that if I find myself ever getting complacent in my thoughts about the AT, I will re-read this book to get myself grounded and back to reality.

Happy Hiking!!!

Shakedown #1-Ramapo-Dunderberg

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A while back I made a decision that when I retired I would hike the Appalachian Trail. Even though it is almost two years away, I am glad that I have that time to plan for this six month adventure. As I have watched videos of thru hikers, I have come to one conclusion. You have to know what gear you need/want and you have to know whether it works for you or against you.

On Wednesday of next week I will be heading out to Harriman State Park with two friends to backpack the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Running a little over 21 miles, the trail begins at the Tuxedo RR station and ends on route 9W on the opposite side of the park.

I am considering this my first shakedown hike in preparation for the AT. A shakedown hike is described by Brian Lewis as a “…longish backpacking trip where you try out your gear and associated process to find out if there are things you can improve (in either) before your thru-hike. And hopefully it will also confirm that hiking somewhat longer distances is something you really want to do.” My first shakedown will be three days and two nights.

Will I like the gear that I have? Will I want to do another trip, maybe longer before I make any final decisions? I don’t know. Only time will tell!

Over the next few days I am going to post some of the new gear that I have as well as the tried and true that I am pretty sure I will use on the AT.

Please feel free to leave your comments!

Happy Hiking!!!

Please read more about shakedown hikes here:

https://thetrek.co/why-shakedown-hikes-important-new-backpackers/

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/shakedown-hike-gear-review/

https://sectionhiker.com/shakedown-hikes-arent-just-for-backpacking-beginners/

Return To The Elephant’s Trunk

“Collect things that you love, that are authentic to you and your house becomes your story.”

-Erin Fleet

Today marked our first (but hopefully not last) trip to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT this season. As always, the vendors were out with everything from the collectible to the wonderfully eccentric. Here are some pictures of the morning:

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Just after we arrived at 7:15 am…

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My best purchase of the day, a milk can.

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Contrary to what my wife thinks, I believe that this would have looked awesome in our back yard!

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The end of the morning.

Quick Saturday Morning Hike

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”

– Henry David Thoreau

My original plan for this beautiful Saturday morning was to head out early and get in about 8-9 miles. However, as plans always do, this changed after I was 1.5 miles into the hike. As I walked, my left Achilles started to hurt. I decided pretty quickly that 8 miles was not going to happen and after a short water break I cut the loop short and headed back towards the start of the hike. All in all, I still ended hiking just over 4 miles.

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The reservoir across the street from the entrance of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

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The same reservoir…

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The field at the start of the hike.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #17-4.2-101.9

Current Words Of Wisdom

“Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of anyone of those is to lose all three.”

-Ziad K. Abdelnour

“I knew I had matured when I realized every situation doesn’t need a reaction. Sometimes you just gotta leave people to do the lame shit that they do.”

-Anonymous

“Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.”

-Mandy Hale

Current state of mind…I’m sure that anyone reading these can think of a person or people who fit into one of these…or all of them.

A Nice Sunday Hike

 

“Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. At sunrise, every soul is born again.”

– Muhammad Ali

When I set out today, I had originally thought that I was only going to hike for around 3-4 miles. As I made my way around Ward Pound Ridge, I felt really good so I decided that I would keep going!! The sunrise was fantastic and these trees with the small white flowers were all over the reservation.  It was very early in the morning so I didn’t have any contact with other hikers or trail runners until the last half mile of my journey.

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Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #16-7.4-97.7

They Grow Up So Fast

It wasn’t that many years ago that I would be mowing the lawn and watching my two kids swing back and forth as our first dog Murphy sat and kept them company. Fast forward to today and I have to admit that it made me a little sad to see the swing set in the condition it is now in. Now that both of my kids are way to old for swing sets, I guess it’s past time to get rid of it. It really is true that our kids grow up way too fast.

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