the appalachian trail
One June 1st, 2010, Nic and I ventured out with our camp gear, cookstove, and car worth of clif bars, clothes, and crosswords (woah alliterations) to go roam the United States.
And now exactly three years later, for our anniversary, we’re going on a mini camping adventure — though leaving the car behind. We’re finally embarking on our three day trip to the Appalachian Trail, where we can hopefully get “lost” in the woods, no longer hearing the hums of New York City streets and getting a chance to unplug, unwind, and feel some god damn fresh air.
When I mentioned to some people I’m hiking the AT, my favorite response is “the whole thing?” If we had six months, no jobs, and enough hiking shoes to last us 2,180 miles, I might consider it. But we’re two startup-working girls with overloaded inboxes, a sort of love-hate-but-mostly-kind of-love relationship with New York City, and only one pair of shoes (each). So we opted for 30ish miles instead.
The cool part about this (besides being IN THE WOODS!) is being on the trail while carrying all your belongings. The point is to bring the essentials but make your pack as light as possible. It’s funny how little you think you need, but how much it ends up looking like. Here’s kinda/sorta what we’re packing up:
Sleep Tent Fly Tarp Sleeping bag Sleeping pad Safety First aid kit Large knife Whistle String (to hang food on trees for #thebears) Flashlight Food Cookstove Propane Pot Utensils Plates/cups Rice (cooked) Cans of beans Instant oatmeal Clif bars Trail mix Apples Chili Instant coffee Misc Soap Headlamp Map Books Notebook/pen GPS compass Water bottles Iodine tablets (purify water from streams…) Matches/lighter Trowel Baby wipes Hand sanitizer Sunscreen Clothes Rain gear Things to keep you warm at night Things to keep you cool during the day. …And that’s it!
We’ve also mapped out a route that’s about 30 miles long, and has a shelter for us to pitch our tent each night. (It’s apparently illegal to not set up shop in a shelter, yet I don’t know who is monitoring this…). Some shelters even come with amenities like lean-to’s, water, and privies. It’s basically like a rustic Ritz-Carlton.
So come Saturday AM, I will be gone from the Internets for a few days. It will be lovely. Buuut it will also be short. So read this quote by Bill Bryson in A Walk in the Woods (which we’ll obviously be reading to each other on the trail) and go have a wonderful weekend.
“It is such a strange contrast. When you’re on the AT, the forest is your universe, infinite and entire. It is all you experience day after day. Eventually it is about all you can imagine. You are aware, of course, that somewhere over the horizon there are mighty cities, busy factories, crowded freeways, but here in this part of the country, where woods drape the landscape for as far as the eye can see, the forest rules.”