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The Appalachian Thru-Hiker

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August 25, 2019

Can an AT thru-hiker gear up at a thrift store? Winter rain offers opportunity to find out.

As the days count down and I likely have less than three months before I’m heading up the Amicalola Falls approach trail to Mount Springer, I was hoping to get in a hike every morning (I prefer morning hikes.  Not only is this when I have the most energy, but even when hiking somewhat crowded routes the world is yours at 5 am.)  Unfortunately, I woke up to rain this morning.16679250837_0769ee9932_b

No, I’m not naive enough to think I won’t hit rain (lots and lots of rain) along the Appalachian Trail. The problem? I’m just starting to get my gear together, and I haven’t even begun to think about rain gear.  I could make the hike using my North Face rain jacket, but at a bulky 2 lbs (dry) this doesn’t seem like a realistic option for an ultralight AT thru-hiker.  So before I go beg a sponsor for the latest and greatest lightweight “keep me dry through a hurricane” rain gear, I will peruse whiteblaze.net for some advice and then hit the thrift stores to see what I can find.

As far as the hike I have planned for my second equipment test/”get in shape” trial run, this time I hoped to reach Herkimer Home, a NY State Historic Site along the Erie Canalway Trail featuring the 1768 Georgian-style home of General Herkimer, a revolutionary war hero.  Google Maps puts this roughly 3.6 miles from my front door so this will likely be about an 8 mile hike.  Slowly creeping up to that 15-20 mile a day threshold I’m hoping to be ready for before I even begin the AT.  This delay may also work in my favor because I would much prefer to see the Herkimer Home in fair weather.  I have hiked past this historic site, but never stopped to take in all the sites there are to offer here, including 150 acres of the original estate.

This is also why I want to get my endurance up to 15-20 hiking miles a day.  It’s not that I want to keep this pace daily on the AT, but it’s the 20-mile days which will allow me time to stop and smell the roses, meet fellow hikers, and take in all there is to offer between Georgia and Maine.

Stay tuned for the results of my thrift store adventure!

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