Having grown up near the AT and having hiked parts of it, hiking end to end was always something I said I wanted to do. August 2010 I realized I’d been saying I wanted to do it for many years and hadn’t gotten any closer to that goal, so I wrote down my goal to do it within five years. Then started planning.
Why so fast?
For the challenge. I was only walking less than 3 mph.
Did you see any bears?
What was your longest day?
Day 40: 45.1 miles
What was the hardest part?
Missing my family. After compartmentalizing this aspect of the hike, southern Maine was the most physically challenging.
What was your favorite part?
Just experiencing the AT thru-hike: being outdoors in all types of conditions, pushing and asking a lot of myself day after day. Exactly what I wanted.
What did you eat?
Freeze-dried 2-4 serving backpacker dinners, Pop-Tarts, Snickers, Belvita breakfast biscuits, granola bars, Fritos, peanut butter, Nutella, tortillas, candy, soda, ice cream, meal replacement bars and shakes, sandwich crackers and cookies, Power Bars, Clif bars…
Did you meet/see any weirdos or sketchy people?
No. However, I later learned Bismarck, the gregarious, seasoned thru-hiker whom I had a drink with in Damascus, is James Hammes, a FBI fugitive who embezzled $8.7M and hid on the trail for six years.
How did you get food and supplies?
Mail drops mostly and the occasional town restaurant, convenience store, and trail magic.
Did you go/hike by yourself?
Yes. Although I met Cloudwalker and we hiked mostly together and stayed at the same shelter for six nights.
How heavy was your pack?
~24 lb base weight
Did you hitchhike?
Once: Baxter State Park to Millinocket
How many shoes did you go through?
What would you do differently?
Faster and lighter.
Would you do it again?
Will you do it again?
Probably not, unless it’s with one of my sons many years from now.
What was the longest time without a shower?
30 days: 817 miles from end
Was it fun?
No. A challenge like an 82-day thru-hike is not necessarily fun. It was extremely rewarding. Enjoyable in that regard and to be in the great outdoors. I was pursuing a huge personal goal and I was pushing my body every day, exactly as I had planned and set out to do. A dream come true.