A.T. Common Questions

I often get asked questions about this trip and figured I would post them here for anyone wondering the same. If you have any questions not listed feel free to ask in the comments below.

Question:
How many miles is that?
Answer:
Roughly 2,200 miles, from Georgia to Maine.  I say roughly because although the trail is officially 2200 miles some additional hiking is required. For example the approach trail is 9 miles and not officially part of the AT, neither is hiking from the trail into and out of towns to resupply consumables like food, fuel etc.

Question:
How long will it take?
Answer:
That all depends on how fast I walk and how many miles I cover in a day. a blister will slow me down and a hungry yetti would speed me up. I anticipate it taking me a little over five months. The typical range is four to six months.

Question:
How many people hike the Appalachian Trail?
Answer:
Annually, as many as 2000-3000 people set out to hike the complete trail, but only about 200-300 complete the trail. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy reports that 15,524 thru-hikes have been completed successfully since 1936.

Question:
Why Hike the AT
Answer:
It took me some time to understand what seemed like a simple decision to hike the Appalachian Trail. At first, it was simply the need for another adventure. Satisfied with this explanation, I began to prepare. As I learned more about the Trail and others who hike the AT, what seemed simple at first, grew more and more complex. I was no longer satisfied with my original conclusion. After intense introspection, I uncovered a more telling and honest picture of the motives. More than adventure, I found celebration, creative exploration, rest, regeneration and inspiration were driving this expedition. I expect I will continue to understand why exactly I am drawn to this trail as I walk it as well.

Question:
Where do you get your food? Do you carry all of your food in your pack or do you live off the land?
Answer:
Hikers generally carry about 5-7 days of food with them on the trail, stopping at towns or stores near or along the trail to resupply. A food supply will range in weight from 1.5 to 2 pounds per day. So a 7 day supply would weigh up to 14 pounds. If everyone lived off the land, there would be no Appalachian Trail. The hiking community encourages a LNT (leave no trace) approach, meaning your presence should not alter the natural state of the trail. If you pack it in, then pack it out. If you didn’t pack it in, then leave it alone. It’s the only way to afford everyone an opportunity to enjoy the wonder of the AT and all of out national parks and outdoor preserves.

Question:
What’s the longest hike that you’ve been on before?
Answer:
My typical hikes have covered 20-25 miles with varied elevation gain. Thru-hiking, obviously, is a different sort of endeavor entirely but I have experience and confidence in my skills.

Question:
Are you really hiking by yourself?
Answer:
Yes.  I will be thru-hiking on my own.  A few people are planing to meet me for short sections of the trail though.  I’m looking forward to a mix of solitude, hiking with old friends, and meeting new people.

Question:
What kind of food are you going to bring?
Answer:
Just enough for the first stretch of trail where I will resupply with whats available. Calorie-dense is the thru-hiker’s rallying cry.  The idea is to carry maximum calories for minimal weight.

Question:
Are you taking a gun?
Answer:
I, um, no.
It’s funny, but this is the second most common question people ask me after, “are you going alone?” No, I’m not bringing a gun and my knife is only an inch long. If a bear, mountain lion or yetti decides to attack me, I guess I’ll have to… run?

One thing I do have is an DeLorme In-reach Personal Locator Beacon so I can call for help if I get in trouble or if nothing else, maybe I can throw it at a bear, mountain lion, yetti?

Question:
Do you stay in a hotel every night?
Answer:
I, um, no.

Question:
Aren’t you afraid of running into some crazy person out there?
Answer:
No, I AM the crazy person out there… 🙂

Question:
Will you be blogging from the trail?
Answer:
When I am able and can find cell reception, yes. I also will be carrying a GPS beacon that will allow me to update this site with my current location from time to time as I go.

I will be carrying my phone with me though I’ll have it off much of the time but will check for voicemail, texts, and emails once every several days.  In other words, get in touch however you normally would, and I’ll get back to you when I am able or you can post comments or questions here.

Track my location (Starting February 22nd)

GPS Log

No Regrets, The journey is the destination!
J.S.

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