Fatty walking awkwardly

Time is ticking till departure… really ticking. Like a big bloody grandfather clock.

12 weeks till my new start date: April 1st. Apart from the ever so slightly better weather,  that’ll leave me about 2 weeks after finishing work to make sure I tie up all loose ends I no doubt will have. Also more research and last minute gear shopping to make sure I’m not walking blind into this madness.

I’ll also get some extra time for red tape. Been having a few issues with the mail and paperwork the past month, though I think I’m on track now. Finally sent off my passport renewal application after receiving a vital piece of paper that I didn’t previously have. Then there’s the job of getting a 6 month US visa.

I see a lot of AT 2012 thru-hiker fellow-wannabes have most of their kit sorted, are physically well prepared, dehydrating food ready for sending to themselves at the various post offices along the way and so on. Fellow hikers yes, but I’d say my current level of preparedness is somewhere between “What 2200 mile hike?” and “Oh shit”.

Though I’m well read on the subject of the AT (Appalachian Trail), think I know what to expect, what I need, what I don’t but have almost zero experience, very little kit and a shopping list as long as your arm. I also have to lose some weight  running and hiking round Mexico city and up volcanoes when I have the chance.

I’m a chubby mofo at the moment.  my biggest worry isn’t the chance of injury, or the long wet walks in the snow and rain, or even stinking nearly constantly for months, not even the bears. No, my biggest worry is chafe. Chafe is a real killer. I guess once you get real big, chafe must be one’s biggest worry in life.

Starting to prepare myself physically, we’re eating much healthier (with the exception of yesterday!), stopped drinking the devil’s liquor and starting longer walks than I normally do. I did 12 miles around Mexico City with about 10 kilos on my back a couple days back. Ouch, and no hill in sight- Well, it’s the first step of many.

The first step of 5 million according to those who bothered to do the maths, impressive data, but I prefer the man-off winning statistic that the elevation gains and losses along the 2181 miles are equivalent to climbing up and down Mount Everest from sea level 14 times. A bit less extreme, one feels.

My inner thighs probably won’t think so, however.

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10 responses to “Fatty walking awkwardly

  • Tom Tanner

    Jake,
    Not that you asked for advice –
    Don’t over analyze it or get too aprehensive. While a thru hike is quite an undertaking – it is “only” a long series of 3-5 day hikes. You have pportunities to solve issues regularly.
    “Best” advice – Hike your own hike – but do start slow.(6-10 miles a day til GSMNP) If you have gear (not warm clothing) you haven’t used in 2 weeks – leave it. Keep one set of clothes dry at all times. Plan ahead 3-5 days at a time -so you can make intelligent choices (miles, meals, town stops, etc) vs. reacting to what happens ahead. Make daily progress to Mt. K. (& that does not always mean miles)
    My 3 favorite gear items that helped me succeed – Steri Pen, insulated Big Agnes Sleep Pad and Jet Boil. (Obviously I was not an ultra light hiker)

    Be Safe,
    Evil Eye
    GA->ME ’07

  • Jann Griffiths

    Jake,

    Thanks for the reminder of how soon we start. I have been working on preparing food to have sent to me (yes, I am one of those). I hope to have all of my meals and food ready by Sunday when I leave for a 2 week Florida and Caribbean vacation. When I get back home I will need to re-acclimatize to the mile high altitude of Denver, and do lots of hiking and snow shoeing in addition to getting all my tax stuff put together, and get my husband all squared away on running the household without me.

    Like you, I have my own apprehensions, but I am so mentally ready to be on the trail. I am also glad to hear that Evil Eye succeeded with those 3 gears items that I also own.

    Although I am starting in mid March, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we meet along the way to Katahdin.

    Brightflower

  • Jonathon

    Hopefully I’ll see you out there! Tho I may never know it once you assume your Trail identity. I’m starting ~ a week after you, so we may run into each other at some point.

    I have been planning for over a year, not out of need but out of having fun doing it! Like Brightflower I am doing mail drops. 24 of them, I just finished up the logistics (the easy logistics anyway, hiking extra miles and beating when the Post closes is not something I can worry about until I’m hiking!) today! Slow days at work are the best.

    Also, thanks for adding me to the blog roll! I’m not sure how I’m going to blog from the Trail – I’m not bringing a laptop, and don’t want to spend days in Trail-towns updating it either… though I would like to journal my experiences.

  • mackenzie

    i’m leaving april 1, too! well, i’m leaving my home on april 1, and will probably be starting my actual hike on april 2. see you then.

  • Timothy

    Most American chemists shops (pharmacies) and chemist sections of grocers carry Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid Friction Block Stick for about $5-6. I use this first thing in the morning and around lunch. Really works on the chaffing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Band-Aid-Johnson-Friction-Block-34-Ounce/dp/B000UVGRZ6

  • Joanna Reichert Photography

    Ha! Love the bear poking his head over the hill. Hubby and I did a NOBO attempt last spring and are heading SOBO this year. Swapped some gear but more importantly, swapped our attitudes. We weren’t “there” last year and it did us in. So just start exercising and do what you’re doing, and you’ll find yourself on Springer with an adventure ahead of you. : )

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