Thru Hiking the AT

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Atkins&Rebel
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The AT being the Appalachian Trail.
I have an opportunity to knock a major dream item off the bucket list. Right now I'm 60% likely to go and the odds keep going up as I knock roadblocks out of the way. I have several items of gear already purchased and have been playing with some of it (familiarizing myself) so I'm not opening things and working out how they function while setting up my first camp.

I do have 3 things that can still derail my start. 1, finances, 2, weather, 3, physical ability.

I've been hiking without a major weight pack the last 3 months, but I'm adding weight and mileage this month and if I hold up then I'm physically set as I can be
I have no control of the weather, but a major snow/low temperature delay into March would derail my hike as I need to start early so I can still work some this year
Finances are complicated, but I'll know later this week or early next if an expected deal generates the finances needed.

So, the thing I'd love to hear about from you guys, is if you have some hiking/camp recipes that you can share. When I first started researching, I thought I'd be having to buy expensive dehydrated meals, MRE's or live off Beef Jerkey and Ramen, but a few youtube channels have given me some interesting ideas. In the ever persistent quest to save yourself carrying too much weight, canned items are less desirable options.

But things also come in packets, like instant mashed potatoes, Soup powders, Chili mixes, seasonings, pre cooked (and shelf safe) sausage, powdered peanut butter, dehydrated tomato paste, Chicken and tuna pouches, all kinds of noodles and macaroni.

I've enjoyed watching the Hungry Hiker Channel and stumbled on a few more that are on my list to watch, but if you have any references you'd like to share, I appreciate it.
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
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Burl
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Very cool. I've done some sections and although I don't have any real desire to thru hike the AT (CDT I'd love to but won't have the time) as I've seen a lot of this landscape, I'm envious of your opportunity. Hope it works out.

Have you done much multi day backpacking?

Re food: I steer clear of any Mountain Houses, they just plug me up, create tons of trash. MREs, way too heavy.
More or less I rely on tortillas, hot sauce, and whatever you can scrounge to put put on them. Tuna, canned chicken, apples, peanut butter, etc. . Doing a 4+ month hike, you'll be resupplying in town every few days so tuna packets, those instant pouches mentioned, all will be readily available and are fine. Fresh fruit is a god send even if a little heavy. Instant oatmeal is a staple of course.
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mmmc_35
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I have never done a trip that long, but have much shorter trips.

I always have small sized bag on minute rice and a pack of Ramen, for nothing else other than a back up. I think people over look minute rice. It doesnt need a ton of water, or heat. It has carbs and easily stored. Settles stomachs, can be added to any foor, and you can live off a small supply for a long time.

I know this is about food but I always have a pistol on me in the woods. I've found too many wierd people in the woods even on my farm growing up.
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Atkins&Rebel
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Burl wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 9:29 am Very cool. I've done some sections and although I don't have any real desire to thru hike the AT (CDT I'd love to but won't have the time) as I've seen a lot of this landscape, I'm envious of your opportunity. Hope it works out.

Have you done much multi day backpacking?

Re food: I steer clear of any Mountain Houses, they just plug me up, create tons of trash. MREs, way too heavy.
More or less I rely on tortillas, hot sauce, and whatever you can scrounge to put put on them. Tuna, canned chicken, apples, peanut butter, etc. . Doing a 4+ month hike, you'll be resupplying in town every few days so tuna packets, those instant pouches mentioned, all will be readily available and are fine. Fresh fruit is a god send even if a little heavy. Instant oatmeal is a staple of course.
The CDT and PCT might be retired life multiple event section hikes as I just can't afford to lose my seasonal business income.

I did plenty of weekend camping and trail hiking in the Adirondacks in years past, but this will be my only multi day backpacking adventure. That's why I've been covering some unladen mileage the past few months and am adding weight this month to train for it. I want to be able to go 15 miles a day if possible.

Food wise, with the options being presented, I'm looking for combination ideas. I've seen everything from tacos, to tuna mac casserole, to loaded meat and cheese potatoes, to asian noodles with the dehydrated peanut butter. The more options I have to pair with carrying a steak and fresh veggies out to camp after every town visit, the less likely I go food numb from eating the exact same stuff out on trail.
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
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Atkins&Rebel
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mmmc_35 wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:47 am I have never done a trip that long, but have much shorter trips.

I always have small sized bag on minute rice and a pack of Ramen, for nothing else other than a back up. I think people over look minute rice. It doesnt need a ton of water, or heat. It has carbs and easily stored. Settles stomachs, can be added to any foor, and you can live off a small supply for a long time.

I know this is about food but I always have a pistol on me in the woods. I've found too many wierd people in the woods even on my farm growing up.
Minute rice along with those pouches you microwave are both good options.

For safety, I will probably just have my fixed blade knife.
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
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mmmc_35
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Yeah that's definitely more of hike then I've ever done. 4 months of tuna and rice probably would get old.
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wab
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I've never done anything quite that extensive, but I would imagine food on that type of hike is probably all about staying alive. Proteins, complex carbohydrates, and potassium are your friends. Good multi-vitamins are a must too.

If I were you, I'd definitely recommend consulting with a nutritionist.

I also agree with MMMC....a fixed blade knife is a decent start, but I'd also consider taking a light/concealable firearm. People suck (Appalachia is...well...interesting) and bears aren't as chill as they seem.

Highly suggest a good med kit too. An IFAK or trauma kit from Dark Angel Medical Supply or North American Rescue would be ideal.
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Burl
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Before setting off on such an adventure, I'd recommend doing several multi day trips to kind of see if you even enjoy it and to get used to your gear. Boots broken in, a sleeping system you're comfortable with, a cooking system you like, you dont want to be figuring out you'd rather have a sleeping pad than a hammock a week after you start hiking to Maine.

Just my opinion, but I would not recommend carrying a firearm. It's a lot of extra weight that you won't use. Laws for carrying would vary by state as you hiked up the trail, you'd need to know all that. I worked as a law enforcement ranger for 7 years before I took my current ecologist job. I never saw a situation where somebody needed/used a firearm in the backcountry. I'm in the woods/field 4-5 days a week now and never carry one. You're much more likely to need this sort of thing, statistically speaking, in a city rather than the woods. I worked in close proximity to bears for years. Black bears, no real issues. I'd probably feel differently in Montana or Alaska around grizz but its just not necessary on the east coast. Thousands of people are on the AT every day and are not attacked by bears. It is very rare. Lighting or a car accident would get you first.
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The Marshall Plan
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I don't know anything about super long hikes like that.

My PR are a few half marathon length hikes through woods and trails without my dog. Then with my dog it's usually 5 miles or so including in bad weather.

I do bring supplies for those because you never know. Camel back with water. For the half marathons I bring a protein bar. Buck knife is standard. A Snickers bar also will do wonders for me. Morale booster. Then when I bring my dog we share my water or if we are by moving water we'll drink that. Never drink stagnant water.

I highly recommend that you bring bear spray. For the animals and the people. I have no clue what the gun regulations are there, but I suggest that you follow whatever gun laws they have.

Bring two manual methods to start a fire. If TSHTF you can go a while without food. Dehydration or hypothermia are different deals entirely.

Bring a LifeStraw. You cannot be without water. If I was you I'd bring a couple books where if you had to burn the pages it wouldn't hurt your feelings. Read the book then use the pages you've read to help start a fire.

I've never had to do this, but a friend told me one time. If you ever get lost out there and you find a running body of water. Always follow the water downstream. You'll get to civilization eventually.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Atkins&Rebel
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For prep, I just hiked 10 miles in 10 degree weather. Still on flat ground, but feel good. Recovery is based on calorie intake. I'll do a few more 2-3 mile hikes before I throw on the pack and start training for real.

For water, I'm going with a sawyer Squeeze. You fill up a water bottle with unfiltered water, and squeeze it into a clean water bottle. you can filter on the go. comes with a small squeeze pouch if you break your bottle.

You can get to town every 4 days or so if you need to stock up and there's places to mail yourself gear and supplies as you go.

I don't have a pistol permit at any rate. And I've been in proximity to bears a few times and haven't felt threatened. Shit can happen, but I don't think the odds favor me getting into trouble.

I do have a med kit that I'm going to pare down into a ziplock baggy.

Good thoughts guys!
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
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Atkins&Rebel
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Well time has ticked down, and I leave Saturday for Springer Mt. Georgia. Plan to be on the trail Monday. So many logistics I fretted over were answered to (my wife's) my satisfaction. I have several lists of hostels, shuttles, re-supply locations, mail drop places close to the trail and have gotten offers to have people meet me with a package on several legs especially in PA.

I have way more gear than I need, so I'm working on paring that down to get my pack a bit lighter. My down sleeping bag and sleep pad are a bit heavier than average and after reading about other peoples' experiences, decided to splurge on a two-person tent so I have enough room for me and my gear to dry out when it's raining.

A luxury item I may bring is a pair of camp toaster forks. They're about the size of a flimsy flyswatter. It's a ridiculous item to bring but may be essential for my plan to buy a steak every time I go to town for a re-supply. I need a way to cook the steak over an open fire, and the thought of being able to do that is a cling-to idea for me. Considered cutting some sticks but rejected that idea because some trees won't taste good cooked in the steak.

Found a hack about a cool work around for preparing meals. Some people swear by the boil in a bag technique to help save fuel and allow your pot to only be used for water. You portion out your meals in ziplocks and just pour boiling water into the bag, so you don't have to worry about cleaning your cook pot all the time to make water for tea or coffee. The problem is that sometimes the ziplock will melt. The workaround is to use 1 mountain house meal pouch as your food pot. It seals and insulates meals that need extra cook times and flattens down to nothing in your pack.

I bought about 3 weeks of food in a bulk purchase. I plan to mail myself 3-4 food packages to get me into North Carolina without having to spend too much money of food. Then depending on what's available in towns and how the mail drop goes, I can assess whether to send my wife grocery shopping and mailing me more, or just buy as I go.

Got several Knorr Pasta Sides (rice and pasta), a box of cheap instant potatoes and several instant gravy packets. Going to just portion those out together and carry a small vial of veggy oil with me to help hydrate the spuds. Got a large variety pack of instant oatmeal (strawberry, banana, peach, blueberry), Got a bunch of packets of chicken and tuna to mix in a dish or eat separate, and the staple of chicken and beef Ramen (maybe to mix in with the potatoes to make a Ramen Bomb). For snacks, starting out with Nutri Grain bars, Almond packets, hard candy (mints and root beer barrels), and the classic snickers bar for every day (you can get a pack of 48 regular sized bars for $12).

For a nice treat I'm bringing some creamer powder for my instant coffee (a little goes a long way for cutting down the taste of instant), and I bought some keto chocolate meal shake that I can portion out for some quick energy when needed on trail.

Overall strategy going into it, is to carry a little more weight and only re-supply when the food runs out. 5-6 days vs 3-4. Shuttle services exist from several trail points to pick you up and bring you back after you get what you need, and many of the hostiles will pick you up and take you to town if you stay with them.
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
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The Marshall Plan
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Atkins&Rebel wrote: Wed Feb 16, 2022 11:01 pm Well time has ticked down, and I leave Saturday for Springer Mt. Georgia. Plan to be on the trail Monday. So many logistics I fretted over were answered to (my wife's) my satisfaction. I have several lists of hostels, shuttles, re-supply locations, mail drop places close to the trail and have gotten offers to have people meet me with a package on several legs especially in PA.

I have way more gear than I need, so I'm working on paring that down to get my pack a bit lighter. My down sleeping bag and sleep pad are a bit heavier than average and after reading about other peoples' experiences, decided to splurge on a two-person tent so I have enough room for me and my gear to dry out when it's raining.

A luxury item I may bring is a pair of camp toaster forks. They're about the size of a flimsy flyswatter. It's a ridiculous item to bring but may be essential for my plan to buy a steak every time I go to town for a re-supply. I need a way to cook the steak over an open fire, and the thought of being able to do that is a cling-to idea for me. Considered cutting some sticks but rejected that idea because some trees won't taste good cooked in the steak.

Found a hack about a cool work around for preparing meals. Some people swear by the boil in a bag technique to help save fuel and allow your pot to only be used for water. You portion out your meals in ziplocks and just pour boiling water into the bag, so you don't have to worry about cleaning your cook pot all the time to make water for tea or coffee. The problem is that sometimes the ziplock will melt. The workaround is to use 1 mountain house meal pouch as your food pot. It seals and insulates meals that need extra cook times and flattens down to nothing in your pack.

I bought about 3 weeks of food in a bulk purchase. I plan to mail myself 3-4 food packages to get me into North Carolina without having to spend too much money of food. Then depending on what's available in towns and how the mail drop goes, I can assess whether to send my wife grocery shopping and mailing me more, or just buy as I go.

Got several Knorr Pasta Sides (rice and pasta), a box of cheap instant potatoes and several instant gravy packets. Going to just portion those out together and carry a small vial of veggy oil with me to help hydrate the spuds. Got a large variety pack of instant oatmeal (strawberry, banana, peach, blueberry), Got a bunch of packets of chicken and tuna to mix in a dish or eat separate, and the staple of chicken and beef Ramen (maybe to mix in with the potatoes to make a Ramen Bomb). For snacks, starting out with Nutri Grain bars, Almond packets, hard candy (mints and root beer barrels), and the classic snickers bar for every day (you can get a pack of 48 regular sized bars for $12).

For a nice treat I'm bringing some creamer powder for my instant coffee (a little goes a long way for cutting down the taste of instant), and I bought some keto chocolate meal shake that I can portion out for some quick energy when needed on trail.

Overall strategy going into it, is to carry a little more weight and only re-supply when the food runs out. 5-6 days vs 3-4. Shuttle services exist from several trail points to pick you up and bring you back after you get what you need, and many of the hostiles will pick you up and take you to town if you stay with them.
That's so awesome. You got this man. God Bless.

Double check how you'll have constant access to water with either some kind of canteen or a filter. Bring two different ways to start a fire.

Keep us posted on your progress.
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wab
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This is so cool
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Otis Day
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Good luck AR and have fun. I am kind of jealous. Somehow keep us posted.
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thunderspirit
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I, for one, will be living vicariously through AR.

Good luck, man. Please make sure you periodically let us know you're alive.
KFFL refugee.
AZ_Bearfan wrote: Sun Apr 10, 2022 1:54 pm Poles went to a nice steakhouse, ordered the cheapest thing on the menu and is stuffing the bread rolls in his pockets for later. Poles is basically my mom.
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Atkins&Rebel
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Big Update:
I'm off trail for a few weeks with a severe calf strain. Another guy I was hiking with maybe tore some meniscus in his knee...all from simply trying to go as fast as a couple other guys we were all hiking around. Its possible to cover some miles without hurting yourself, but trying to go as fast as better conditioned hikers is not smart. Arriving at camp an hour or 2 later than guys you're hiking around isn't a bad thing ( they tend to have to sweep out the shelter, scope out the water access and warm up the seat on the privy (if one is at camp).

I don't think I'll get a full thru hike in now that I'm down for awhile to heal, but still looking at section hiking a few major spots.
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
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Otis Day
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Thanks for the update. Rest up, feel better and kick ass with the time you got.
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thunderspirit
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Otis Day wrote: Fri Feb 25, 2022 1:38 pm Thanks for the update. Rest up, feel better and kick ass with the time you got.
This.
KFFL refugee.
AZ_Bearfan wrote: Sun Apr 10, 2022 1:54 pm Poles went to a nice steakhouse, ordered the cheapest thing on the menu and is stuffing the bread rolls in his pockets for later. Poles is basically my mom.
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mmmc_35
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Good luck
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The Marshall Plan
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Atkins&Rebel wrote: Fri Feb 25, 2022 1:00 pm Big Update:
I'm off trail for a few weeks with a severe calf strain. Another guy I was hiking with maybe tore some meniscus in his knee...all from simply trying to go as fast as a couple other guys we were all hiking around. Its possible to cover some miles without hurting yourself, but trying to go as fast as better conditioned hikers is not smart. Arriving at camp an hour or 2 later than guys you're hiking around isn't a bad thing ( they tend to have to sweep out the shelter, scope out the water access and warm up the seat on the privy (if one is at camp).

I don't think I'll get a full thru hike in now that I'm down for awhile to heal, but still looking at section hiking a few major spots.
Sorry to hear that. Still enjoy what you can do on the journey though.
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