In January 2014 I made the decision to tackle the AT and spent the rest of the winter and early spring preparing for the hike. This mostly involved spending a lot of time browsing through the forums at WhiteBlaze, ordering any piece of gear mentioned positively by at least three different thru-hikers, reading whatever hiking memoirs were available from the Kindle store for less than five dollars, and trying to ignore all the people talking about the importance of training regimens or shakedown hikes. I didn’t want to do actual physical prep for a couple of reasons:
- It is cold and rainy in Oregon during the winter and spring, and I am a delicate dainty flower;
- I grew up listening to stories about hikers being MURDERED by RENEGADE MARIJUANA FARMERS in the VERY DANGEROUS OREGON WILDERNESS, so I remain convinced that hiking alone off-season is fraught with danger;
- What if I injure myself before the trip?? Better not risk it!
The UPS delivery guy got a lot of exercise delivering all my packages, though. Every day something new arrived. It felt like I managed to extend the Christmas season until early March. So many wonderful packages. So much bubble wrap. Such a tremendous hit to my bank account.
It was definitely a challenge trying to figure out what gear would work best for me and find a balance between price, availability, functionality and weight.
This is what I ended up taking on the trail:
[As soon as I figure out how to get my spreadsheet in here, you will know what I ended up taking on the trail. WordPress is really frustrating, and right now I bitterly resent every single person who’s ever told me to start a blog.]