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[at-l] questions for northbound thru-hikers

Melissa asked...
> for those of you who have thru hiked the AT... what
> would you do differently? 

I had such a fabulous time thru-hiking the AT this is
the most difficult question of the four to answer. 

I guess I might have stayed inside for another day at
the Lakes of the Clouds Hut rather than getting blown
off my feet 40+ times on the way up Mt. Washington in
a storm. 

I would worry much less about making progress -- in
Georgia and North Carolina the distance to Katahdin
seemed so daunting...when in fact the time on the
Trail goes by so quickly all of a sudden you're in

> what were you grateful that you brought?

My mylar sleeping bag liner -- sure glad I had that
thing when a sudden winter snowstorm marooned me for
three days in Maine. That lightweight mylar sleeping
bag was so warm -- I carry one in my backpack all the
time now since the thing only weighs a few ounces. And
to think I almost sent that mylar sleeping bag home
from Monson when I was trying to make more room in my
pack for food.

Also, Jalapeno powder. I still sprinkle it food
several times a week.

Sugar-free Tang (sugar free so it didn't attract bugs
and it weighed less than the kind with sugar in it). I
must have had 300 tubs of sugar-free Tang on the Trail
-- sure did make the water taste great. Probably makes
me glow in the dark with all the Nutra-sweet I had on
my thru-hike but I do have some ready to drink in my
refrigerator right now. Still tastes great.

> anything you carried
> that you really didn't need?

Ha! Much stuff but I suppose not as much as it could
have been. I got rid of about 2 lbs of pack weight by
Hot Springs, North Carolina. For instance, during much
of my thru-hike I carried a palmtop computer upon
which I wrote my trail journal that was uploaded to my
lovely and talented journal transcriber Karen (POG).
It wasn't until later I figured out (DUH!) I could
just mail the palmtop ahead and write in a small paper
tablet while on the Trail, then type the text into the
palmtop every couple of weeks or so when I was in a
town (and my fingers weren't frozen chunk solid). That
saved about 12 ounces of pack weight.

> going northbound,
> what's the more challenging part of the trail?

For me, the two most physically challenging parts of
the Trail as a northbounder were the beginning and the
end -- Georgia and Maine. I expected it to be that way
and was still surprised at how difficult the Trail in
Maine was when I got there. Sure is a beautiful state


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