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Re: Help a GA>ME first timer!

John -

Welcome to the List.  I'll give you my answers, but - how large is your
salt bucket?  Lets start with my standard caveats -

2/ This will be my personal opinion, experience and observation.
        There's nothing scientific or even necessarily logical about it.
        And that's more than passing strange for someone who spent most
        of his life making Spock look emotional and illogical.  But then,
        people aren't logical, are they?
3/ Advice is worth what you pay for it - and this is free.
4/ I won't guarantee you'll like everything I have to say.
5/ As a thruhiker I am, by definition, insane and therefore cannot
        be held responsible for anything I say.
6/ I may wander off in strange directions

Numbers 1 and 7 don't apply here.

>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.

>    *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?

I can only talk about MSR Whisperlite - mine quit in Maine and I managed
to fix it.  Ginny's quit just south of Harpers Ferry and she had to go to DC
to replace it.  I'm sure some of your fellow thruhikers would help you
out - either by helping you fix it or sharing their stove - especially if
you're using your own fuel.  As a next to last resort a wood fire might
work, but it sure does a job of making your pot dirty - been there, done
that.   Last resort - at least for me - would be to get to town and find
food that didn't have to be cooked - Gorp, fruit, tuna fish, bread, etc.

>     Same goes for boots.

If you're carrying Tevas or running shoes, they're your backup to get you
to town.

My boots fell apart in Vermont.  I was carrying Shoe Goo at the time cause
I was told they might not make it to Hanover.  So I spent a night waiting for
the glue to dry so I could get to Sherburne Pass and hitch in to Hanover to
get a new pair.   The new pair, by the way was my fourth pair of boots on
the Trail.

>     *Tennis shoes vs. Tevas!  The debate rages.  (Presuming I can only
>choose one.)Any comments?

I didn't carry either one, Ginny carried  tennis shoes, others carried
Tevas - what do you feel comfortable with?   Remember, you have to
carry the weight.  And when you get to camp you get the pleasure of
changing into something more comfortable than boots - what would you
want it to be?

>    *How often should I expect to replace my socks for new ones?

Depends on what kind you're using and how you walk.  I used up 7 or 8 pair.
For long stretches, like the Smokies, I carried 4 pair - I didn't use liners,
by the way - they gave me blisters.   If I were doing it again, I'd carry 3
pair in Georgia and have another pair in every other mail drop.  That
would give me time to figure out how many I need to carry and how
long they were lasting.

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

I kept a pair of lightweight thermals and a fleece pullover through the
mid-Atlantic states.  It gets cool in the mountains at night - even in
midsummer.   It can get down in the 40's in June in the Shenandoah.

>    * 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

You don't sound comfortable with the idea of no tent.  That's good.  Take a
look at the Kushmans journal that Kathy Bilton is posting here - there's a
hell of a lot of thruhikers out there this year.  And that means the
shelters are gonna be crowded - probably all the way to Damascus and
possibly after that.  Last year Ginny hiked south through the Shenandoah.
She met over 100 thruhikers in that 7 days.   BIG crowd - crowded shelters.
Personal opinion is that you'll want a tent or tarp.

One note here - a tent is at least 10 degrees warmer than a shelter.  That's
good in Georgia, maybe not so good in New York, but there it is.

>     *Gaitors.  Need 'em?

Some do, some don't.  If you've used them before and are comfortable
with them - go for it.  I find they make my legs/feet hot.  That can be good
if it's cold and snowy, bad if it's warm and humid.  Some people use them
to keep stones and duff out of their boots.   I carried a pair all the way up
the AT and used them 4 times.  Used them for the crossings at Little Wolf
Creek after 3 days of solid rain - and never got my socks wet.  That was
a blast.  But I don't think I'd carry them again on the AT.  Pure personal

>    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

Talk to you later -
Bald Eagle, AT-92