[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [AT-L] AT-L:i just joined, my questions (longish)

Ellie -

Good questions - I'll give you my best answers.
>1. How many pairs of boots can I expect to go through?  Do people carry
>pairs with them or mail them ahead to a likely location?

I used up 1 pair of lightweight boots and 2+ pairs of Vasque Sundowners.
Ginny (my then hiking partner and now my wife) used one pair of Vasque
Sundowners and changed to a second pair at Hanover, NH.   We both left
the boots (and other equipment) at home with people we trusted and then
had them sent when we needed them.  There's no way to predict equipment
failures accurately when you're on the AT.  If you send your second pair
of boots to Harpers Ferry and then need new ones in Waynesboro .........?

>2. Do people maintain their apartments while on the Trail, or do they do
>things like subletting?

I owned a house and rented it.

>3. Are any of you writers who managed to write while hiking?  How so?  I
>write fiction, and I'm concerned about the weight my notebook will add.  I
>might try to start with it and tear pages out and mail them home as I go
>so I won't carry the whole thing the whole way, but I'm wondering I'll be
>able to make time to write at all, except in a journal.

How many mail drops are you planning?  I used my mail drops and a
send-ahead box as a way to NOT carry extra weight - including extra
paper.   Put smaller notebooks in your maildrops maybe?  I didn't use
a notebook - I used typing paper folded in half and cut to fit into a 1
qt ziploc bag.

Time and weight are what you make them - a friend of ours carried
17 books over one section of the AT.  He liked to read, he was willing
to carry them, and he MADE the time to read them.   What you carry,
how fast/far you walk, what you do with your time - these are all
personal decisions that depend on what you're physically, mentally
and emotionally capable of doing, what you want out of the hike - and
what you're willing to put into it.  Personal opinion is that lighter is
better - but not everyone thinks that way.

>4. Are there any places on the Trail where you have to climb, as opposed
>to scrambling?  In other words, can you go the whole way using just
>your feet to carry you?

You'll need to use your hands in the Whites - but there's no place
that will require any real climbing experience or equipment.

>5. What about jobs?  Are companies willing to give leaves of absence for
>the AT?  Should I quit and find a new job when I get back?  Should I line
>up a new job before I go?

I took a leave of absence  - with the understanding that I wouldn't have
a job when I got back.   But it allowed me to keep my medical
insurance - and that can be important.  Check with your company on
their leave of absence policy - but don't tell them what you want to
do with it.  Some of them get strange about this kind of activity.
If I can find it I'll send you something that I posted some time ago
on this subject.

>6. How safe is it for a couple hiking together?  How safe if we split up
>and meet intermittently through the day?

Safety is always a concern - even on the AT.  In general, you'll be safer
on the AT than you are at home, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take
precautions - like not telling strangers where you'll be camping, being
careful at road crossings, moving on if you don't feel comfortable with
a situation, etc.  In general, safety is nothing more than common sense.
Of course, a couple self-defense courses wouldn't hurt - they help build
your confidence.

>7. My husband wants to bring climbing gear and find places along the way
>to climb.  Is this as impractical as I think it is?

There are a few places to climb close to the AT - but not many
and they're a long way in between.  I don't think he'd be very happy
carrying climbing gear for 2000+_ miles.

>8. Any other potential '98 thru-hikers out there?  I'd love to hear from
>you.  :-)

Yeah - but not on the AT.  We'll be a couple thousand miles west of you.

Those are my best answers right now, Ellie.  Some of them don't tell
you what you want to know - and that's deliberate.   You'll have to
make some decisions about what you want out of the hike and how to
get it.   If you haven't already done so, join the ATC.  They have a
whole library of books and videos about the AT.  Some of those books
(and sometimes videos) might be in your local library.  The more
you know about what you want to do, the better your hike will be.
Specifically, I'd recommend getting either "The Thruhikers Handbook"
or the "AT Companion" and reading it cover-to-cover.

Better yet - go to the Gathering in October.  It's Columbus Day weekend
at Carlisle, PA.   If you've got Internet access, try the ALDHA website
at  http://www.connix.com/~aldha/  for more information.

The Gathering would give you a chance to talk to a lot of thruhikers,
attend workshops, see slide shows and videos - and just generally
give you a better "feel" for the world of thruhiking.   And it IS a
different world than you've ever encountered before.

Enuff - I've gotta go to a meeting.  Hope we'll see you in October.

Walk softly,
Jim Owen
Bald Eagle, AT-92