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Help a GA>ME first timer!



I just discovered this cool newsgroup and am looking forward to any and
all advice/encouragement/warnings from past thu-hikers.  I am departing April
15 for my first thru-hike, hoping to be one of the 10%(?) that finds the will
and has enough good fortune in the health department to reach Katahdin.
     Though I'm more or less prepared, there remain a number of nagging
questions (most petty) that I need help with (for reasurance, more than
anything).  I shall be posting these in the near future and would appreciate
any input from the vets.
     A few quick ones, if you please:

    *What do you do between the time your stove starts acting up/quits until
you are able to get your backup sent?  Beg? Borrow? Steal? Wood fires?
     Same goes for boots.

     *Tennis shoes vs. Tevas!  The debate rages.  (Presuming I can only
choose one.)Any comments?
     
    *How often should I expect to replace my socks for new ones?

     *After weather warms, what should I keep in the event of a cold spell?

    * What's the concensus on a tent?  I keep hearing about people that made
it with a tarp, one guy who even sent his home and just hiked on to the next
shelter if he found a full one.  The weight sure would be nice, but NO
TENT?!?!

     *Gaitors.  Need 'em?
  
    Many more, I shall make future postings brief.  Also, I am interested in
ANY remarks regarding all phases of trail life, encouragement, advice, etc.
 I will have my anchor post my trail journal here as well.    
                                Ciao, Ya'll!     John