Planning a hike of the entire 2,190-mile-long Appalachian Trail is no small task, let alone actually hiking it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: ENJOY KEVIN’S PRIOR TRAIL PREP SEGMENTS BELOW⤵︎
Equipment and gear must be researched, purchased, and tested. After spending a year getting fully outfitted, I was ready to test everything. Earlier this year I had two “shakedown” hikes, but both in Florida where the terrain is nothing like the AT, so I thought a small slice of the actual trail was in order. I picked out a 54-mile-long section in North Carolina and based on the speed I’ve been moving on the Florida Trail, budgeted myself four days to do it in.
Big mistake …
Turns out mountains are very different. Who knew? I had no problem climbing them, but the speed I was moving was barely one mile an hour instead of the two and a half mph I was counting on. After two full days I realized that if I kept hiking for all four days, I’d wind up on the backside of a mountain with no exit point and another full day’s hike to my car. I really had no choice but to cut it short and left the trail at the only possible exit point to get back to work on time (I still had a ten-hour drive to get home).
Having only hiked 27.3 miles in 51 hours on the trail, I still left feeling quite satisfied with my gear choices as well as my physical ability to negotiate the ascents and descents of the AT. I’m sure I’ll move slow in the early weeks but most certainly gain my “trail legs” and be knocking out 20+ mile days by mid-trail.
Being my first time on the Appalachian Trail, everything was a “first” for me. I compiled a few of my favorites into a short four-minute video to remember it by.
Great story. I love that area of the country.
Thank you Larry!