1. I stopped paying attention to my calories at one point and when I got to Vermont felt like absolute crap. Couldn't sleep, sore everywhere.....something I hadn't experienced to this degree until then. Got serious about calories (to hell with light pack) and immediately felt better.

  2. I'd say it's a good start, because you like to hike. But after a couple of months hiking and sleeping outside almost every day in all kinds of weather the bloom comes off the rose...that's when you will find your answer.

  3. I stayed at Carter in January a few years ago with a 20F bag and it got down below zero. I wore everything I had with me. The bunk room starts off frigid but it's sealed from wind so your bodies will raise the temperature. But even with two of us in the room our water bottles froze solid overnight. I have not heard good things about liners. If you have room in the pack a down comforter would be cheap insurance that would pack down fairly small. Amazon sells down pants cheap.

  4. I carried one on my AT thru. I used a bunch of homemade dehydrated meals that took a long time to rehydrate. Plus the two parts of the cozy hold the pot lid closed when packed, making for a very compact kitchen.

  5. For 2,194.3 miles every time someone asked if I was a thru hiker my answer was always "I'm workin on it". I can honestly say there was never day where I gave serious thought to ending my hike, although there were plenty of days that were absolutely "Type 2" fun. But sitting here looking at my AT pictures on the wall - this was the greatest adventure of my life.

  6. A big team on a past RAGBRAI had five gigantic amplified speakers on trailers, synced by a network of some sort making for a half mile gauntlet of continuous distorted loud shitty music. Hell on earth. Obnoxious is an overly kind word for this herd of entitled douchenozzles.

  7. Isn’t music/ general craziness like that kind of expected at RAGBRAI?

  8. Oh for sure! It's all part of the fun. BUT this was just over the top. If it actually sounded good maybe it would have been less grating, but this was turned up to 15 and the distortion made the music almost unrecognizable.

  9. I reached the Quarter Way Inn mid June and it was already trending hot. Not all that crowded, but many water sources had dried up. Can't say for sure what the water situation will be for you, but you might want to have extra carrying capacity, just in case.

  10. I hiked it last year, my wife stayed home. She was absolutely critical to the success of my hike. She mailed me supply boxes, she dropped me off in Georgia, picked me up in Bangor, and managed to visit me three times on the trail. She took care of resolving a cancelled credit card, provided a sympathetic ear when the trail was wearing me down. For my part I texted her every day, either via phone or Garmin InReach. I called her at least once a week - I think that was important to both of us. I know it was tough for her, and I tried to let her know how much I missed her and appreciated everything she was doing for me. I had talked about hiking the AT....forever....but it still surprised her when it "got real". To her everlasting credit she was immediately and consistently supportive and honestly it made all the difference, knowing she was on board. If you haven't read David Miller's book AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, give it a try. My wife said it gave her a better idea of what the trail was like, and what could possibly motivate an otherwise sane 60 year old man to spend 6 months in the woods, voluntarily.

  11. Cold + wet + trail runners = misery. I tried bread bags but they fell apart quickly. Gallon sized ziplocks work pretty well, weigh little, and can be used in other ways. I have tried Sealskinz socks with good results but they are expensive, not that light, and single purpose. Once the weather warms up I just let my socks get wet....they dry out quickly once the weather clears up.

  12. Mice will be the most common nuisance. Mostly harmless but they do carry diseases and ticks. Mostly they chew through peoples tents, backpacks and other gear. Ticks are the most serious. I know several people that got tick bites as well as Lyme disease. The medication is pretty effective and common if you take it early on. Check yourself when you walk through tall grassy fields, as well as at night and in the morning. I wear long pants sprayed with permethrin and tucked them into my socks. I never found a tick crawling on me the entire trail, much less attached. Seems like those that wore shorts found a dozen or more on them at some point.

  13. The headphone advice is spot on. I had the same experience in NJ - "what's that noise?" Took out earbuds and the snake was well within striking distance, rattling away.

  14. There were plenty of nights where nobody had service. If you want to just check in with folks at home an InReach is good for that.

  15. Garmin InReach? Satellite messenger - let's you send and receive text messages even if cell service is nil?

  16. How long after your hike did it take for your appetite to return to normal? That's my fear is I would continue eating like a thruhiker long after the trip was finished.

  17. 2022 NOBO here...lost 35 pounds over 5.5 months, finished in October, have since gained back 19#. The switch from "limited food, unlimited exercise" to "unlimited food, limited exercise" is a work in progress. As far as fitness, I am 60, not an athlete. 8-10mpd for first couple of weeks. Worked up to 20 mile days, but northern New England humbled me. My average mpd for the trip was just shy of 15. I found the fastest hikers had comically small packs. If you can live with a sub 10# pack (all in), you have an advantage.

  18. What was your trail name if you don't mind me asking ? Ron "the builder " here.

  19. Used a Samsung took remarkably good photos. 2x10,000 mAh battery banks, which was overkill for 90% of the hike. But they did give me the luxury of using my devices more often. My biggest complaint was that in summer when I was dripping with sweat the phone screen would get coated and stop responding to touch, or make up its own commands.

  20. In the book "Where's the Next Shelter" a hiker would loudly proclaim "I am thankful for today". I found it effective on good and bad days 😄.

  21. Without giving away your plans or timeline, just inquire about the long term leave policy and find out what they need.

  22. This is what I did. Turned out there wasn't any mechanism available for a long term absence, so I told my boss in January I planned to leave in March. He countered with "stay until the end of April to get the annual bonus" so I did. The bonus more than paid for my thru. And the boss kept in touch, so when I got off trail he offered me my old job, so it's almost like I never left.

  23. Could you finish a half marathon with no training? Maybe but it would horrible. Same for the AT imo

  24. Not really comparable? Half marathon pace and distance are fixed and both are way too much coming off the couch, so to speak.

  25. Agreed and I am in no way advocating hitting the trail completely out of shape. I wasn't a total couch potato, but it took me until the Grayson Highlands to feel like I had trail legs. Your point is well taken.

  26. Absolutely get a satellite messenger if possible!

  27. My InReach was always handy to check in when I didn't have cell service. My wife actually told me she didn't want to be too demanding about staying in contact, but our daily check-ins were sometimes the best part of the day for me, and they were never unwelcome.

  28. The book Awol on The Appalachian Trail by David Miller if he hasn't read it.

  29. I started May 1st on Springer this year. It was hot and humid starting in VA and didn't really let up until MA, with a heat wave in NY.

  30. There are several camping options between the Visitor center and Springer summit. Grab a copy of the FarOut app and it's AT maps for all the details. It will come in very handy for your section hikes. The worst part of the Approach is those stairs. I was embarrassed to be sporting my thru hike tag while I was gasping for air every third landing. After that it's not so bad. If you know how to set everything up, light the stove, etc. then you'll be fine. Maybe a little sore for a day or three, but fine.

  31. I’ve got the Xtherm and I like it. It’s the only one I’ve owned though, so I can’t say how it compares. I didn’t really think it was noisy. I got it because it was a bit beefier than most and the 6.9 r-value for a February start. I’ll probably be looking into a lighter option on up the trail.

  32. I switched to an xtherm on my thru after patching my xlite one too many times. It's made from heavier materials, and I found it to be quieter. Not as light, but pretty plush - I slept better on the xtherm than the xlite.

  33. Glad to hear this on the Xtherm from both you and

  34. I started with the xtherm in July in PA and used it the rest of the way. I used it through a heat wave in the 90s - hot, humid, miserable sleeping weather. This went on for a few weeks. I don't think any pad would have made things better :). I have heard people say the xtherm is too warm for summer, but I really liked the deeper cushion of the xtherm over the xlite.

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