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DMF - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2011

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State: Upstate New York
Begins: Apr 3, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Dec 14th, 2011
End: Upstate New York
Trip Distance: 1,011.9

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 877
Journal Visits: 13,139

Gear list

Appalachian Trail Map

(Click image for full size)


Post Hike Thoughts

Now that my 2011 walk of the AT is complete I wanted to share a few random thoughts. Before I started I had never done any serious hiking or backpacking. Although I spent a career in the Army none of what I did was considered light. I drove everywhere. I really didn't know what I was getting into. I did a lot of research on Whiteblaze, read numerous journals on line, talked to a lot of folks up and down the trail, made a couple of visits to Mountain Crossings, attended The Gathering and Warren Doyle's Appalachian Trail Institute. Like of lot of folks new to long distance hiking I spent too much time on equipment. In hindsight, it wasn't that important. My recommendation is just try to keep your weight down. Within the first few days of starting I really started to like walking. On my fourth night out I started to stealth camp. While that was an adjustment at first it soon became my preferred way. Unless I was going into town I'd walk until dark and camp near the trail. Most of the time I was out of sight but a few times I camped right on the trail. I think I slept in shelters a total of 6 times (not including work for stay at the huts in the White Mountains). I walked at about 2 MPH which wasn't difficult. In the Whites and southern Maine that pace certainly slowed. My longest day was 35 miles and my shortest was 1.5 miles. When I did go into town I usually stayed until noon the next day and was able to cover 15+ miles. I probably only cooked a dozen times on the trail. Probably not even that. I ate mostly junk food. I met some absolutely great people that I enjoyed being around. I also met the flip side of that. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease near Duncanon and left the trail for 9 days and Platar Fasiicitis in Gorham. Both were not fun but looking back, part of the experience. I never thought about quitting. Before I started my major concern was the cold. That wasn't an issue for me, even finishing up in December in Vermont. Heat was the issue. Heat in the mid Atlantic states and lack of water. Although I consider the White Mountains up to Flagstaff Lake in Southern Maine to be the physically toughest part of the trail the rocks (and heat and lack of water) in Pennsylvania made that section the most mentally challenging section for me. In summary, I think walking the AT is a good thing. If anyone has any questions about walking the AT please feel free to email me.

Dan / Sinister Pope

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Journal Photo

DMF Hike 2011



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