From the moment I weighed my pack at Amicalola State Park (25.7 lbs) and registered for my trek on the Appalachian Trail, I knew it was going to magical. What I didn’t know was that from all the hundreds of people that hike the trail, the hundreds that visit the trail, and the hundreds that hike up to Springer Mountain to start their Thru-Hike, I would be completely alone to watch the sunset. In my first few hours of my Long Distance Hike, it was already so magical.
As day 1 ended. I was officially on the AT and moving North. My body was going to have to get use long days and long mileage on the trail. Yea, I was sore the first few days for sure. But after camping all by myself on Day 2, I was refreshed. My goal was to try and stay away from as many people as I could and soak up the trail in a private way.
Have to admit I was a little nervous about the Norovirus spreading rapid on the AT. A lot of hikers were going down and it a bit discerning.
Day 3 was another awesome day. Great weather, and clear nights. One more long day and then hike into Neel Gap and Mountain Crossings where I’ll take my first shower and sleep with a roof over my head.
My total pack weight feels really good. So happy about my Hyperlite Mountain Southwest 3400 Pack. So far so good as food and water goes. We will see when I get my legs and body really working how much more food I’ll start eating. I have been sleeping in my tent and staying away from the shelters. But then again, no storms to speak of…so far.
Finally on Day 4 I hiked up and over Blood Mountain and was greeted by friendly faces and a hot meal. Blood Mountain has a lot of folklore to how hard the hike up is, but it’s not really that bad. The views were awesome however. I’m really happy it was good weather. After a quick little tour, a snack and some photo opps, I was on my way down.
ALL my Trail Updates can be found on our Facebook Page. Here is LIVE Stream from the one I did at Mountain Crossings on Easter Sunday. I would love to hear from our outdoor community. It does really inspire me when I hear from everyone.
Hope you like the video. If you have any questions about my Trek on the Appalachian Trail, please ask, I always respond to comments.
On this episode we discuss what exceptions are of a long distance hike. We also reveal which one of us (Scott or Ariane) starts their 300 mile section hike of the Appalachian Trail. How much weight does “Social Media” add to your total pack weight? You would be surprised.
Ariane has a new piece of gear she is testing in her quest to go super lightweight. It’s the Hyperlite Southwest 3400. Here is her complete Gear List. Her total pack weight with water and food, 25.8.
Have you had expectations of a long distance hike? Were they met? We would love to hear from you. Also how much does your pack weigh?
After my Thru-Hike in 2003, I wanted to give back to the Appalachian Trail as to what was so freely given to me. So, each year I invite a small group of Hikers about 7 miles from the start of Trail (Springer Mountain) to provide shuttle services, some food, hot coffee, and lots of encouragement and love. We have never had any kind of debate that we were providing a little “trail magic” to Thru-Hikers. However, in 2017 it was a little different.
After a few hours of setting up our tent, and tables, a GATC Ridgerunner stopped by (he was camping at Hawk Mountain Shelter a few miles away). He explained that we weren’t really doing “Trail Magic” but a “Hiker Feed”. I was perplexed. A Hiker Feed? What’s that? He went on to explain that “trail magic” is a random act of kindness, and a hiker feed was just feeding hikers. Mmmm? But we were doing more than just feeding hikers. Mr Ridgerunner also suggested that we don’t do trail magic right near the trail, but off the trail. Ok, maybe I get that, but was still a little perplexed on the hiker feed vs trail magic gig.
Apparently, this is a controversial topic. Outside Magazine wrote an article back 2016: Are Trail Angels Taking the Magic Out of Long-Distance Hikes?
Some argue that so-called trail angels, who hand out ?food and water (and beer!) ?to weary through-hikers, ?are cheapening what should be a life-altering experience
Another article from The Trek ask’s “Trail Magic – Love it or Hate it“.
I have seen and heard many comments of individuals who believe Trail Magic should not be given to hikers; a view I most certainly cannot agree with
I see both points. In 2003 there was barely any kind of the Social Media we have today. In 2003 the big debate was whether to bring a cell phone on the trail and was THAT ruining the wilderness experience. I personally have seen a lot of garbage on the trail have picked up full bags of it. But NEVER have I seen ANY person providing Trail Magic/Hiker Feeds be the cause of that garbage. NEVER. So I’m perplexed at the controversy with my only withstanding personal debate as to if it indeed has gotten so saturated that is is hampering a trail experience.
Maybe next year, we will only hand out Leave No Trace cards instead of Hot Dogs. It seems that might be a bit boring, but needed. I can only expect that the popularity of the AT will bring out more Trail Magic. In the 7 years I/We have been providing trail magic we have: shuttled hikers, fixed their gear, provided first aid, sent home gear, and one time even taught someone how to use their pocket rocket. Yes, that is true. So I take a little step back when someone tries to redefine the Appalachian Trail and the experience Thru-Hikers will have on it. BUT, I get it. It’s beginning to get crowded for sure.
What’s your opinion? WE sure did get a lot of comments on our YouTube Channel.
This was one of our favorite shows that we’v done. Why? We are talking tasty deserts that are easy to make on the trail. We also review Backcountry Pantry Foods, which in our opinion, makes some pretty good deserts.
Have you ever been on the trail and run into a bunch of Blueberries? Well, we always stop and pick ourselves some so we can make a Blueberry Pie desert. Yes, that is possible. Below we share our recipe.
Here are some of our favorite desert mixes we bring on the trail.
Jell-O Simply Good Banana Mix. It comes in a small 3.4 oz bag and is really good. It packs well, and if buy Carnation Instant Milk mix, you only need 2 cups of instant milk and you have a very lightweight desert. In fact, most of the deserts we mention work much better with Instant Milk. 9.6 oz of Carnation Instant Milk can make 4 cups. You normally only need 2 cups with all of these desert mixes which gives you a nice cup of Hot Chocolate with the other 2 cups.
We also really like the Backpantry Desert line. They are a bit expensive, but the bags they come in our re-usable. Our favorite is the Creme Brulee that comes with little sprinkles in a separate bag that make this desert really good.
Our Blueberry Pie Recipe:
Buy some Keebler Mini Pie Crust’s. They come in a package of 6. They are very lightwieght and have never broken while in our packs. Bring a couple sheets of tin foil with you. After you pick your Blueberries, put them in the tinfoil and put them next to your campfire. Not directly in the fire, but next. While your blueberries are cooking. (Usually 10 minutes is all you need to cook them for) Mix your Dream Whip Whipped Topping Mix. This is a bit tricky because you will have to experiment a little. We opted NOT to follow the directions and use less instant milk.
Mix whipped topping mix, and already mixed instant milk in a small Tupperware bowl. Mix for 4 minutes or until topping thickens and forms peaks. Makes 2 cups.
You should bring a small piece of Tupperware to mix all you deserts in and it makes a great piece of gear to store stuff in also.
After your blueberries are hot, put them in your mini pie crust. Then pour your Whipped Cream on your pie.
Try it! Let us know how it went? Do you have a favorite desert that you love to eat in the backcountry? Share it! Nothing like a sweet tooth craving out on the trail, right?
Are you that Backpacker/Hiker that loves to play in deep snow? I am. So when I wanted to buy my snowshoes and snowboots I automatically look lightweight. There are many choices out there when buying a snowshoe boot. However, with the hundreds of choices you have, what is the most practical? For most of us, this piece of gear may not be used as much as other gear items. Unless you live in the Tundra, you may want to look at just how much you will use your Snowshoe Boot. In the “Gear World”, one thing is for sure, some one will come out with better, lighter boot. So find a boot that is comfortable, and make it your best winter friend. I bought the best snowshoes that I could afford based on how much I use them.
Heavier & Warmer vs. Lighter & Less Warm:
For myself, this is an easy question. I asked myself: How long will I be out there? How many miles, and how cold will it be? When I answer those questions, my answer is heavier & warmer. Nothing is worse than having cold feet. Not to mention it’s highly dangerous.
The best boot you can find is the one that is going to be flexible at the ball of your foot. What kind of terrain will you be in? If you are going on a long multiday trip in the backcountry, will you experience a lot of snow? You can choose leather boots, plastic mountaineering boots, snowboarding boots or even running shoes. Since the snowshoe bindings fit most types of boots, you have a large selection to choose from and you may already own boots that are comfortable as well as work well with your snowshoes.
Remember that backpacking up a mountain is a lot different than flat. Choose a boot that will be fit the terrain that you most hike in. You might wear a much different boot when backpacking (Mt. Washington) for example, than on a long distance in trip in Minnesota. Even with no snow, I would change boots depending on the terrain.
Test your boots. Before you buy, bring your snowshoes with you. Make sure your snowshoe straps will fit around your boots. Before you go out into the backcountry wear your boots. More importantly, make sure your boots fit properly. People often make the mistake of buying boots that are too tight. This is bad. The tighter the boot the less circulation your feet get. Make sure you have plenty of room. Wool socks, with a liner perhaps will make your feet cozy and warm.
A good boot manufacturer I like is Baffin. I use the Baffin Tundra and these boots have always worked for me. They are warm and sturdy. You can even buy an insert if your feet are prone to get cold.
In Episode 9, Scott and Ariane discuss the Top 3 Letters that all who love the outdoors need to know. LNT or Leave No Trace and the 7 principals that guide all who participate in Nature and how to be good stewards of it.
Leave No Trace is probably the most overlooked set of principals that outdoor enthusiasts make. Backpackers, Day Hikers, Climbers, or anyone that loves the outdoors need to at least take the awareness course that teaches the 7 principals so we can all leave the backcountry exactly the way we find it. Why? Listen to our Podcast and find out.
There is a reason Plan and Prepare is the first principal
Scott and Ariane discuss Poop…What?
Please don’t feed the Bears
Scott get’s passionate about burning garbage in campfires
Ariane suggest reading material for your….private moments
Have a Leave No Trace story? Post it here and we will respond. We love hearing from our listeners.
In Episode 8: Scott and Ariane share why their podcast is called Trust the Trail. When things go wrong in the wilderness why trusting nature is to your benefit. More importantly, trusting that the trail will give you everything that you are looking for when backpacking and more.
Also, a huge thank to our listeners. We really appreciate all the support and e-mails. Keep them coming.
Ariane forgets tent poles, Oh Oh!
Scott ask’s the universe for a 3 Musketeer’s Bar…and get’s one
Do more with less
The Trail provides if you have a good mental attitude
Have a trail story? Leave a comment and let us know. In the meantime, Trust the Trail.
If you like inspirational stories, you’ll love this one. Derick and his brother show us that the “trail” is never that far away from us and if you have the desire, you will find it. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy puts together another AT Story about two brothers and their willingness to get on the trail.
Derick quit his New York City life to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2012. Now he wants to share the Trail with his brother, a first-time backpacker.
“Trail Brothers” is the first story in our myATstory video series. Over the next six months, we will showcase inspiring tales from some of these unique individuals about how the A.T. has changed their lives forever.
Visit appalachiantrail.org/myATstory/contest today to share your story
There are tons of hiking/backpacking videos out there on YouTube and Vimeo. Unfortunatley, only a small percentage ever get seen by a large audience. I put together a list of what I believe are the top ten hiking/backpacking videos.
The criteria I used was, best all around production quality. Was the video informative? Exciting? Did it tell a story? Some are professional and some simply done for those who want to document their experience.
Some of these videos are in a series and I counted them as “one” since they are on a DVD.
If you have one that you think belongs on this list, please let me know, and I’ll put it on thebackpacker.tv
These are in no particular order:
(1) Tell It On the Mountain is a documentary full of tall tales and alluring lore from the Pacific Crest Trail. A string of trails running through the center of California, Oregon and Washington. You can see the other two parts on thebackpacker.tv on the Feature Channel[Postnew]OSNxPZmCcMw[/Postnew]
(2) On April 9 2007, Andrew Skurka set out to become the first person to complete the Great Western Loop, a 6,875-mile route that passes through the most cherished and pristine wild lands remaining in the United States including 12 National Parks and over 75 wilderness areas. The route links a network of five long-distance hiking trails and a self-made segment through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. Andy is hiking to promote the “less is more” lifestyle and to draw attention to the effects of global warming on America’s most iconic wild lands.[Postnew]Vs3UQ7NFswo[/Postnew]
(3) This is the trailer of “TREK — A Journey on the Appalachian Trail.” I purchased this film at amazon and love it. It portrays the daily life of AT thru-hikers, shows you the great people they meet, and adventures they have on their journey from Georgia to Maine. To buy the entire DVD go to www.cirquevideo.com[Postnew]MZxEh_klLU0[/Postnew]
(4) This 2 part series is a short film by Old Mountain Video: “Climbing Longs Peak” in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I love watching videos from these guys. They are always very good. Watch the second part on their YouTube Page:[Postnew]lyY6VsZKTH4[/Postnew]
(5) Chris Moyles and his gang are about to leave, but a fortnight ago Trail Magazine arrived home from Kilimanjaro after six days on Africas highest mountain. You can see Part Two here on thebackpacker.tv[Postnew]8cRCi-TpdMo[/Postnew]
(6) CBS News does a documentary on Backpacking the West Coast Trail (Currently Featured on thebackpacker.tv) this three part series is a great adventure documentary and gets you in the mood to get out there and hike this trail. Part 2 and 3 will be featured on thebackpackertv[Postnew]ipNKNvDcvO4[/Postnew]
(7) Tales From the Trail is one of my favorite shows. This pilot TV show is directed by Paul Sheehan and presents a quality show about hiking and adventure. This show is also playing on The Hiking Channel on Boxee. You can watch part 2 and Part 3 here on thebackpacker.tv[Postnew]hTKWwFZsvNQ[/Postnew]
(8) This is one of my favorite raw nature videos. Talk about getting a feeling for Glacier National Park, Wow!
Part 1 of the recently shot Glacier DVD. This 20 min. film recently was nominated for best new nature documentary in the music category as well received an award for photography from the Wildlife Film Festival held in May of 2008. All funds for this project are being donated to the Glacier National Park Fund. This was shot by YouTube User: LiveMontana[Postnew]PbpIOXaHID0[/Postnew]
(9) If you want to know everything about Yosemite than you have to watch Yosemite Nature Notes: Yosemite Nature Notes is a video podcast series that tells unique stories about the natural and human history of Yosemite National Park. Produced by the National Park Service, this series features park rangers, scientists, historians and park visitors as they discuss the diverse plants and animals that make Yosemite their home, as well as the towering cliffs, giant waterfalls and mountain peaks that are known throughout the world.[Postnew]uVkeJmiejno[/Postnew]
(10) This documentary is one of the best if you are a climber. Left for Dead: Miracle on Everest, is the story of Lincoln Hall. Lincoln Hall is pronounced dead on the summit of Mt. Everest after suffering from the effects of cerebral edema, but miraculously survived. With never-before-seen footage, interviews and Hall’s original video diary[Postnew]anBHeyLDD4A[/Postnew]
If you have any suggestions please comment below. We are always looking to add content.