Saturday, December 5, 2015

Moved!

Because I am horrible at making up my mind, I decided to change my blog to a Wordpress site. Please head over to http://beyondsealevel.wordpress.com for my blog. Thank you!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The List So Far

So over the past month or so I have been playing around on a site called LighterPack, which allows you to make categories, put in items with their weight (in grams/kg AND imperial things that I don’t understand!) and see how much of your pack weight consists of what category.
So far, I don’t have enough items that I know the weight of, or I have not decided on enough items yet (there’s so much choice! and then there’s money! and weight!) so the weight thing isn’t very relevant yet. I have, however, gotten my hands on a number of things already - mostly thanks to my amazing parents.

The first item I had was my pack, which I think is a good place to start. The pack I have is the “Jade 60″ by Gregory in a dark red/pink sort of colour. It was a birthday gift from my parents 2-3 years ago and I was happy to find reviews from someone who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (similar to the Appalachian Trail, but longer and on the West coast) with it.
Besides the pack, the only other useful things I really had were a merino wool longsleeve (though a fairly thin one that is probably going to be cut in to a tanktop) and a two-part Patagonia jacket. The jacket consists of a down layer and a separate rain/windproof jacket that goes over it - which was all fine and dandy until I weighed it an realized the rain/wind part weighed almost 1kg by itself. For now, the plan is to only bring the down layer for warmth and get a separate rain coat / parka that weighs a lot less.

The rest of my items so far have all been more recent purchases, and they’re a little bit all over the place! For example, I’ve already bought (funny looking) sock liners but not the actual hiking socks I want yet (well, I have one pair). Thanks to my parents I already have a headlamp with an awesome name (”Black Diamond Storm”), a tent, and a cooking system.

Last but definitely not least, a couple of my friends banded together and got me a Kobo eReader for my birthday so that I can carry hundreds of books with me without the weight!
The rest of the items I need are still awaiting research and (perhaps even more important) money. I have a looot of working to do in the coming half year.

That’s the things I have so far! The complete list including things I would like to get is available here, where the items with a star are those I already own. I’m guessing I will be spending a lot of time at REI this Summer!

The First Step

..towards the trail. Figuratively speaking.
Here it is: the home to my public thoughts and pictures. The medium that will be documenting my metaphorical journey to - and my actual physical journey on - the Appalachian Trail. My actual hike will probably begin in March 2016, a little less than a year from now, but until that time comes I will be writing about the mental and physical preparation involved and lull myself in to a false sense of “I’ve totally got this” and “this will be a piece of cake”. Hopefully, with the help of this blog, I won't feel like I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail alone at all!

But first.. what is the Appalachian Trail?
The "Appalachian National Scenic Trail" or A.T., is an approximately 2200 mile (3500 km) long hiking trail in the eastern United States that runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. This means that it crosses through fourteen states, as you can see on this little map courtesy of Wikipedia:


The trail is marked by white blazes and has a whole trail culture around it (such as the taking on of trail names, and people experiencing trail magic done by trail angels). Every so often there is a shelter (a three-sided wooden structure) and a source of water. Thru-hikers (me!) are people who attempt to hike the entire trail in one year's time - which is something that generally takes four to seven months, although it has been done in less (the record is forty-something days, but that was done by someone with a support crew). Thru-hiking generally means packing food for 3-7 days and water for 1-2 days, staying in shelters or camping, filtering water, and resupplying in towns along the trail. If I have read the trail journals and books correctly, it also involves eating a lot of pizza and icecream in towns! Oh, and a lot of walking, of course.. 


So! That is what I will be trying to do, and what I will be preparing for. I hope my journaling my journey to and on the trail provides people with amusement, some laughs, and maybe a little inspiration, too.