You’re doing what?
We are hiking the Appalachian Trail! The AT spans over 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, and we are going to try and walk the whole thing.
How long will it take?
Our start date is March 9th, and we hope to finish before late September. Most people take four to six months, so this should give us a good amount of flexibility.
How far while you walk each day?
For the first couple weeks we’ll start slow to get our bodies acclimated - 10 miles or so. Once we get up to speed, most days will hopefully be around 20 miles. And of course, some days we’ll be resting and do zero miles.
What will you eat?
One of the nice things about the AT is it’s not remote - the trail frequently crosses roads and even right down the middle of towns. In general, people only carry 4 days worth of food or so at a time.
Here is what we have in our bags for the first couple days. Breakfasts will be dry food like Clif bars and some coffee or tea. Lunch is tortillas with peanut butter or cheese and summer sausage. Dinner is Lipton sides (flavored rice or shells) - boil two cups of water, mix and let sit for a bit, mixed with a packet of tuna or chicken.
Where will you sleep?
The AT has shelters every 10 miles or so. They are usually three walls and a roof and sleep 10 people or so. They are volunteer maintained, and are first come first serve. Shelters are a big social part of the trail, getting to meet and hang out with other hikers.
The downsides to shelters include crowds (there may be no room), not having a lot of options for where to stop hiking for the day, mice and total lack of privacy. We’re also bringing a tent to balance these things, and will probably split trail time sleeping in both.
How much will you carry?
Our base weight is about 20 pounds, and with food and water, a little more than 30. This should drop over time as we get rid of things we realize we don’t need, and of course, as we eat and drink throughout the days.
What about bears?
Naturally, there are black bears around the trail. The vast majority of the areas the AT goes through don’t require you to use bear canisters for food, which is great. Most encounters with bears aren’t that different from raccoons - they want your food, but don’t want anything to do with you.
Are you taking a gun/survival axe/giant knife?
Nope, those things are heavy.