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[at-l] slackpack tour of the AT
Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
> In 92 we had a group that we called the Shenandoah slackpackers. They
> slacked most of the way from Waynesboro to Katahdin. They used a truck
> through Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, then one couple went back
> to Indiana to buy a second truck to use for the rest of the Trail. The size
> of the group varied from the 4 that went all the way to Katahdin to 10
> of us (plus a dog) who went from Caledonia to Duncannon together. The
> logistics were horrendous - and expensive. It is workable if you're
> willing to put the emotional energy into it. But it's also not the same
> experience as carrying the pack - which is why Ginny and I only stayed
> with the group from Caledonia to Duncannon.
Last year I drove and day-hiked (900 miles) the AT, documenting the road crossings (all 14 states). This year I have hired a young couple to drive my van, shadowing me, as I slackpack the entire AT. Logistically, there are only a few places where the van can't get to me on a daily basis. The costs are not as severe as you might think when you consider that you are slackpacking, and that your food, water and necessities are coming to you instead of you having to go and get them. I am leaving Amicalola on Easter Sunday. A few people have shown an interest in coming along. Hike some or all. Drop out if it turns out not to be your thing. Try it out.
True, it is not the same experience as carrying the pack, and I am not in any way belittling the purists, but I would not be able to do the hike succesfully in that manner, and doing the hike is all that matters to me. Why do 90% of potential thru-hikers drop off of the trail? If something inside of you is pushing you to hike this trail, why worry about what you have to carry, or where your next meal is coming from, or is this water contaminated? If the hike is something that you expect will change your life, why not increase your odds of finishing it successfully? It makes sense to me.
If interested, I'll give you the particulars.
Rick Mann, aka 'Pittsburgh'
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