Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Are You Sure? – The Trek

by Staff

A Father’s Wisdom

Growing up, whenever someone in my family said “I’m positive” in response to “Are you sure?”, my dad would respond with “being positive means you’re never sure”. This came from a comedy routine (Three Stooges, Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello…he honestly can’t remember) with one of those back-and-forth confusions like “Who’s on First?” It was one of those sayings that sticks in my brain until this day whenever somebody says “I’m positive.” I find this coming to mind a lot when people ask me if I’m really sure about this whole thru-hiking thing. I can say with confidence, I’m positive! Nothing left to do now but get to the trail.

 

This is it, don’t get scared now

Kevin McCallister knew what was up. With less than a week to go, this is it. I keep saying, if I don’t have it at this point, I don’t need it. I know to some degree, the trail will provide. My last week of preparation included dehydrating a bunch of meals and let me tell you, it is a task of dedication. I knew it was going to be a lot of work and in all honesty, I briefly thought about nixing it all together and just buying some pre-made backpacking meals. I’m glad I didn’t for a few reasons:

  1. Those pre-made meals can be expensive and when you’re buying a lot of them, the cost adds up quickly.
  2. Although the variety of dehydrated backpacking meals has gotten a lot cleaner/healthier, it’s still hard to find affordable meals that aren’t packed with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  3. I wanted an extra challenge to add some stress because I just didn’t have enough of it this last week.

Okay, kidding about that last part. In the end, I made four different meal varieties/snacks that were inspired by Backcountry Foodie’s plethora of delicious backpacking recipes. If you ever find yourself spending way too much money on pre-made meals for outdoor recreation or even if you just want a stock of some dehydrated meals to keep in your pantry, Backcountry Foodie is a great resource to check out. Taco Mac, Backcountry Lasagna, Three Bean Salad, and Thai Veggie Curry are on the menu for my first few days on trail.

So many Ziploc bags but I plan to reuse them

Of course, I’ll eventually eat my way through these dehydrated meals that I’ve packed for the first 6 days. I have a few more that I’ll have my boyfriend and parents send to me along the way in resupply boxes but I’ll primarily have to stock up at markets/convenience stores along the way with whatever I can find and whatever my hiker hunger is yearning for. I have a feeling there will be a lot of chocolate and Doritos involved but hey, at least I started out on a decent note.

Aside from dehydrating food, my last few days before heading south were spent organizing gear, enjoying the luxury of a warm bed and hot shower whenever I wanted, and spending time with friends/family who I probably won’t see for another 1,100 miles when I step foot back in Pennsylvania.

The Other Goods

Everybody (or maybe nobody reading this, who’s to say?) wants to know about the gear. What are the necessities a thru-hiker carries with them? While I’m not a true gear-head, compared to my boyfriend who spends about 3 hours a day watching videos about why he needs a hydraulic vs. a ratchet system for a bike rack he might buy (this is a true story), I’ve had to do a lot of research on what will work for me specifically.

Unfortunately, the doggo is staying home for this one

After my first true shakedown hike this past summer, I realized a lot of my current backpacking gear was pretty freaking heavy. My tent alone weighed about 5lbs. I felt like the dude in Holes carrying Madam Zeroni up and down the mountain. Needless to say, I made a lot of swaps for lighter gear that will still keep me comfortable and I’m very happy with where I’m starting. For those of you who are interested in what I’m bringing with me, my full gear list will be posted to my author page! I’m sure I’ll need to update/switch out as I go but ya gotta start somewhere right?

And We’re Off

I write this on my way down to North Carolina where I’ll spend the next few days with my boyfriend’s family before heading to Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. It’s there that the southern terminus of the AT awaits. Saying goodbye to family and friends is always difficult but I know I’m as ready as I’ve ever been to start this thing. I’ve answered the question “are you ready?” more times than I can count. The next time I write a post, I’ll be coming at you live from trail and finally be able to share some first-hand experience. For now, I’ll enjoy staying warm and dry in this rain once more.

 

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