How I’m Preparing for Hiking the Appalachian Trail – The Trek

How do you prepare for 3,500+ kilometers of hiking? How do you go from corporate lawyer life to the full-time hiker life (admittedly via 16 months of Rocky Mountain life)? How do you prepare, mentally and physically for such a giant adventure? I’m sure it is different for everyone, but this is how I’m doing it.

Learning by reading

I’m a big reader and I love a research project, so I have spent many, many hours reading the adventures and advice of those before me. As well as the big ones (Facebook groups, YouTube and backpacking websites including the Trek), I’ve read some cool books looking at different aspects of life on the trail.

Books I’ve Read

  • Long Trails – Liz Thomas – excellent overall resource
  • Appalachian Trails – Zach Davis – great mental strategies for when the going gets tough
  • A walk in the woods – Bill Bryson – the book that started it all for me
  • The Unlikely Through Hiker – Derek Lugo – a fun personal story of life on the trail
  • Stumbling Through – Digger Stolz – another fun personal story

The best resource I’ve come across is the book “Long Trails” by Liz Thomas. This is not specifically an AT book (it covers the three main long trails in the US and other long-ish trails) but it gets right into the nitty-gritty of the preparation for and life on the trail. I borrowed this one from the library early in my AT planning, and I learned so much. I am planning on borrowing it back again soon so I can check my preparation against it.

Learning by Practicing

Being in the Rocky Mountains, it hasn’t really been warm enough to do some hike/camping preparation. Even today, we got a big dump of snow on the higher mountains. So from a camping perspective, my “practicing” so far has been:

  • Putting up my tent twice (once inside, once on my deck)
  • Sleeping on my sleeping pad/pillow for a night (on the floor of my apartment)
  • Cooking a freeze-dried meal with my camp stove
  • Trying out various pasta sides to see what varieties I like (a common trail food apparently)

It has all been …….


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