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ellies questions

Welcome to the list.  here are a few
answers to your questions.  give us
time, you'll get answers to questions
you never thought of asking.

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?

Super lightweights last about 500
miles.  Medium weights about 1000
miles.  Heavy weights up to 2000.   It
is a good idea to break in a spare pair
or two ahead of time and have friends
or family mail them to you on request. 
They break down on their own schedule,
not yours.  The big outdoor stores will
mail to you en route, but that can take
time.  There are very few good outdoor
stores along the way, and choice can be
very limited.  

2. Do people maintain their apartments
while on the Trail, or do they do
things like subletting?   
What can you afford?  On my two
thruhikes, I gave up my apartment and
put my stuff in storage.  We intend to
do that on our CDT hike.  It is hard
enough to get money for the hike,
spending $750 a month for an empty
apartment would be too much, and the
problem with subletting is you have to
be positive that the tenants will pay,
also that if you get hurt and have to
go home, you have someplace to stay for
the rest of the six months or year
until their lease expires.  

3. Are any of you writers who managed
to write while hiking?  How so? 
I kept a journal, and am very glad I
did.  If you've read any of the on-line
journals, you may have noticed that
they tend to get briefer as time goes
on.  Except for those of us who love to
write, it can get hard to find the time
and energy to do so.  You are more
likely to find time if you commit to a
leisurely hike - ie at least 6 months. 
If you try to hike in less time, you
will have to hike all day, and won't
have much energy at night to write.  If
you do a true "slack pack" and mosey up
the trail, then you can spend time in
the morning or evening to write what
you like.  The same goes for readers. 
If you want time to enjoy life, then
don't try to rush the trail.

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?  

At best/worst the hiking is Grade 3 -
you use hands to pull yourself up the
rocks.  There are no places where you
need technical equipment to climb. 
(Unless you count the ladders, wires
and handles riveted into the rock). 
Mostly the climbing/scrambling is in
New Hampshire and Maine. 
If you've never done it before, it can
be scary.  Even if you have done it,
the weight of the pack makes it a
different experience.  Gravity strikes
again.  With a light pack, the rock
climbing can be fun.

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?  
Depends on your circumstances.  I knew
very few people who were able to go
back to the same job they had left. 
Few companies will leave the position
vacant that long - either the work
needs to be done or the job is
redundant.  Sales are different.  I was
a secretary who found it easy enough to
get a job when I returned.  One thing,
after a thruhike, very few people want
to get back into the rat race too soon.
 Many people don't begin seriously
searching for a new job until December
or January (after a September return). 
It is something to factor into the
finances.  Trouble is the work reality
is so distant from trail reality, they
are very difficult to reconcile.

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

I hiked alone and had no problems. 
Many couples split up because of
different paces or to give each other
space.  The murders on the trail have
happened as often (more?) to couples as
to people alone.  In any case they are

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?  

Heavy gear, and he'll not find many
places along the way until he get up
north.  Better is to just pay attention
as you hike to places you might want to
come back to.