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Wcgornto - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2009

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William "Wanderlust" Gornto
City: Valdosta
State: GA
Country: USA
Begins: Jun 14, 2009
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Dec 20th, 2009

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 875
Journal Visits: 36,677
Guestbook Views: 3,416
Guestbook Entrys: 26

Appalachian Trail Map

Gear Review - Cooking, Water, Misc.


I used a Snow Peak LiteMax stove throughout my hike. It performed perfectly from beginning to end. I carried this stove because it weighs almost nothing, and takes up almost no space. This stove worked well with many different brands of canister fuel. In high wind, like most canister stoves, this stove would need some form of wind screening. However, I had very little issues with wind on my hike. I highly recommend this stove to anyone contemplating a long distance hike.

I used a Snow Peak 700ml pot with my stove. I freezer bag cooked and only used my stove to boil water, except for an occasional hot beverage. Thus, I only needed a small pot for boiling a sufficient amount of water for rehydrating my dinner. I usually ate Mountain House freeze dried meals, but I also ate Knorr Sides from time to time. My stove and pot combination was perfect for this style of cooking / eating. If I had chosen to cook food in a pot, I would have needed a slightly larger pot, 900ml to 1L. As is, I never had to wash out a pot, not even once. If I was to thru hike again, I would use the same stove and pot combination.


I filtered most of my water. I did not chemically treat any water. I used a Katadyn Hiker Pro filter. I have used this filter for several years, but this is the first time I used it for a long distance hike. I like to filter water, not just to remove potentially harmful bacteria, but also to filter out silt, mud, crunchies, etc. In one stretch in Virginia between Waynesbro and Daleville with almost dry mud holes, I silted up a new filter in about 100 miles. Otherwise, I went 500 miles or more with each filter element. As I went further south, I began to pre-filter with a coffee filter attached outside the intake. Occasionally, I drank water without filtering it, but only when I came across a spring at its source.

I carried my drinking water for the day in a two liter CamelBak. I have never had a leak in a CamelBak and this one performed perfectly. However, I began the hike with a two liter Platypus with a drink hose attached. The Platypus quickly began to leak at the seams. I heard from several other hikers that they also had leak issues with Platypus containers. After I switched to a CamelBak, I continued to use a Platypus, but only for carrying and storing water at camp, not for putting water under pressure in my pack. A Platypus does a great job for storing water at camp, and folds up to nothing for being carried in my pack during the day.

My most versatile water container was a one liter Powerade bottle. I used this bottle for water in camp, for transferring water to my CamelBak, for drinking water during the day at a stream along the way and for mixing and drinking my usual breakfast, a shake mix of protein powder, Carnation instant breakfast and dehydrated whole milk. For a Powerade bottle, the price is right and it was the most durable of all of my water containers.


For storage of items in my pack, I used Sea to Summit and Walmart stuff sacks. The Walmart stuff sacks kept water out better than the Sea to Summit bags. I quickly learned not to trust any stuff sack to keep my belongings dry. I used an abundant amount of Zip Loc freezer bags to keep anything dry that I wanted to preserve within the stuff sacks, particularly any electronic equipment.

Trekking Poles

There isnt much to say about trekking poles. I used Leki poles. Most people used Leki poles. I am sure that other brands are fine as well, but Leki has one very important thing in its favor on the AT, its dominance among the available options. As a result, if you need maintenance on your poles along the way, which is almost inevitable over 2200 miles, Leki parts are far more available at the various small outfitters than parts from other brands. I replaced my pole tips in Harpers Ferry, WV and replaced a failed pole section in Hot Springs, NC (free as a warranty replacement after 2000 miles). The relative ease of maintaining poles along the way in my view makes Leki by far the best trekking pole option for the AT.


I used a Black Diamond Spot head lamp. I like this headlamp because it has the usual three LED lamps for reading and doing things around camp, and also had a single, bright, focused beam for night hiking. Each has low, medium and high settings.

I used a Canon Powershot 1000IS digital camera. The defining feature of this camera for me is that it used two AA batteries. I can take over 500 shots with lithium batteries without having to replace them.

I used a TracFone cellular phone. I paid for the phone and 400 minutes (doubled to 800 with the double minutes for life feature). This phone worked well all along the trail where service was available and in the various towns. I had service in most places as good as hikers with AT&T or Verizon phones, and better at some times.

I used a Peek mobile e-mail device for my trail journal. This was one of the most perfect items in my pack for its intended use. I was able to write a journal entry whenever and wherever I wanted to along the trail, every day whenever I felt like it. Sometimes I had a signal for sending an e-mail and sometimes I didn't. With the Peek, you can save messages as a draft and then send several at a time when you have a signal. The battery lasts for a week to ten days when the device is turned off between uses, enough battery power to get from town to town, from charge to charge. I bought the Peek on eBay for about forty dollars and I paid forty dollars per three months for service. I used for my trail journal rather than because I could post directly online from my Peek on Postholer, without the need for someone to transpose or cut and paste on my behalf. I highly recommend the Peek for anyone who wants to maintain a trail journal during their hike with frequent and convenient postings to their journal. I found its size, weight and convenience to be ideal for its purpose.


I carried Kelty Triptease cord in my pack. It weighs an ounce for 50 feet. I used it a number of times for a number of purposes and it was worth the one ounce weight penalty. Most notably, in one shelter in Maine, I used it to tie my tent footprint above the sleep platform to divert the leaking rain water away so that our group could use the shelter. This is one piece of no-brainer gear. Take it.

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Journal Photo

Wanderlust SOBO 2009 Journal

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more:


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