I'm hiking to Maine for 5, maybe 6 months and subsequently people have a lot of questions they want to ask me about it. I'm happy to answer all of them, anytime, but I thought I'd write out some of the questions I hear often. There are tons of other questions that I always get asked and probably tons more that I have yet to even ask myself, but here it goes...
How long will it take me?
Well I guess I already answered this question. But, I'm planning for about 5 months with the knowledge that it may take longer. Thru-hikers average about 6 months, with some crazies completing it in record times around 2 months and other slower souls taking the better portion of a year. There is a window that I have to complete the hike in since I am hiking north to Maine, since the weather by late October makes many of the mountains impassable and a number of the parks actually close all together. So, I will start March 12th and hopefully end around the middle of August.
Who are you going with? You're not going by yourself are you?
Well, originally I was planning on going with a good friend of mine from childhood. We talked about doing it awhile ago, and when the time finally came he had other things in mind. I'm not upset at all and I understand his reasons completely. It would be nice to have someone from home with me, that being said, I'm not exactly hiking alone either. Thousands of people start every year on top of Springer Mountain with the same goal in mind. Since the majority of people decide to start around the same time give or take a few weeks, I will surely meet tons and tons of people. I will no doubt meet up with those who hike a similar pace. I won't be alone in the woods for half a year and no, I have no reason to thing I will go crazy. haha
Where are you going to sleep?
This is a backpacking trip and therefore I will be sleeping the majority of my nights in the woods. There are over 250 shelters (three-sided buildings) along the trail that I plan to spend a lot of nights in. I am also bringing a 1 person tent to sleep in if the shelters are too crowded, I want some privacy, or I'm in between shelter locations. There are also many towns that I will be passing through along the way to resupply every 3-6 days or so, so I will probably enjoy a warm shower and a nice comfy motel bed every now and then, too.
How will you get food? and what will you eat?
I thought about preparing food packages to send to post offices along the trail ahead of time, but then decided I would just resupply as I go. A couple of reasons; 1)It's tough to know exactly when I'll be somewhere when I haven't even started hiking yet 2)Shipping costs can be expensive 3)What if I don't want the food I packed? What if I'm tired of ramen and snickers and pop tarts and crave something different? It's just not a very flexible plan.. granted it may make me head into towns more and spend more money, but for me I want to be flexible and enjoy my time out there on the A.T.
How will you stayed connected to the real world (everyone you love so much back home)!?
I will be bringing my cell phone and my mini usb charger. I will keep my phone off for most of the time to save battery, but will turn it on frequently to check messages or to call back home. I am doing this trip because I want to, but I am sacrificing a lot to do it. Leaving all of the people I love so much is going to be the most challenging thing about the trail for me. I'll charge up in towns and make sure to keep my phone in multiple, tightly sealed zip-loc bags. I'm leaving to hike this trail not without the love and support of my loved ones back home and I want them to be as much a part of this as they can too.
Speaking of staying connected, if I wanted to join you on the trail to hike or just meet up with you how would I do it?
Like I said, I'll have my phone so you can contact me on that with a message, or we can try to plan something out before I leave on March 12th, with the knowledge that I may not be exactly where I say I will be. I will post up a detailed itinerary on here soon, that is an attempt to guess how many miles I'll be hiking each day and when I'll be where. It probably won't go exaclty like I plan it out, but it should give you a rough estimate. If there's a specific section you would like to meet me at, let me know now and I can be sure to contact you closer to when I will be there. I would love, love, love to see as many people I know while on the trail.. so please don't hesitate.