This past weekend I did the 40-mile hike I’d been pondering for a while. It was hard. It was worth it. I will do it again. I hadn’t done proper hiking since early January, so I was feeling a bit like Dickens:
Restlessness, you will say. Whatever it is, it is always driving me, and I cannot help it. I have rested nine or ten weeks, and sometimes feel as if it had been a year—though I had the strangest nervous miseries before I stopped. If I couldn’t walk fast and far I should just explode and perish.
Looks like a couple people already wrote the book I was thinking about creating: Appalachian Pages, a thru-hikers’ guide for the Appalachian Trail. The real winning idea here, the one that I wanted to see, was having the elevation profile watermarked on each page so you can sneak a peek at the day’s challenges in a glance:
Thank God they saved me the work. It looks great. If I ever end up on the AT again, I wouldn’t be surprised if I carried this book instead of the classic AT Data Book.
In this video Mike Clelland and another NOLS instructor demonstrate proper backcountry poopin’. Classic squat, telemark pose, one-bunning. Hiker humor. May not be universal? Mike Clelland is a great illustrator, too—I’ve liked his work in books like Lighten Up!: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking and in Allen and Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book: Traveling & Camping Skills for a Wilderness Environment.
I spent Saturday night in the woods. On Sunday morning I walked back through a nice stretch of trail with blackberries growing along the sides, just turning ripe. Hiking pace went from 4mph to 0mph. I ate pretty much anything I could reach without having to go into the brambles.
The LA Times has a nice profile of Billy Goat, a hiker who has finished off 32,000+ miles of hiking, including the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and where he’s best known, the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m thinking about heading for the PCT next summer, so I found this bit pretty interesting: “Each year about 300 people attempt to hike the PCT in one season, generally April to September. Of those, about 60% make it — fewer people than scale Mt. Everest in a year.”