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Swagman1956 - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2018

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Swagman
Country: United States
Begins: Feb 4, 2018
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Nov 14th, 2017

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 31
Journal Visits: 921
Guestbook Views: 5
Guestbook Entrys: 0

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Providence

I feel blessed today. Ask and thou shall receive still works everyone. In my hiking buddy diatribe I lamented about any of my friends wanting to accompany me on my AT adventure; low and behold Montana Gal stepped forward and answered the call. Routinely I don’t like to hike with a group on two accounts. First is that I don’t like to keep up with someone who has a quick pace and second I don’t like to force someone to keep up with me. Hopefully our pace will be something around a 20 to 30 minute mile for a comfortable 12 mile day along the trail. One concern I have is how severe February is going to be in northern Georgia. Anyone who has hiked the AT in February, March time frame knows that the weather can range from balmy days and cool nights to frigid ice/snow storms and single digit nights. So what kind of cards will Mother Nature deal in 2018? Only time will tell and I have already formulated a bad weather step off in March if needed. Unfortunately, the loss of 28 days will cut into the 254 day February-October AT window but will only raise the miles per day (MPD) requirement from eight to nine so the original 12 mile a day pace and will still allow for a summit of Mount Katahdin before October 15th. 12 miles covered vs. 8 miles averaged per day will garner a linear surplus of four miles a day so a week of progress will net a 28 mile surplus. So 32 weeks on the AT we should rack-up 896 miles arriving approximately 75 days before the October 15th closing of Baxter state park. This hiking strategy will also allow for a maximum of 30 “zero days” with 45 days left over for foul weather or any other disaster encountered along the way. Funny, as a drummer in my high school marching band I remember our band director pounding the concept of cadence into our little heads over and over again. In retrospect I don’t think I could maintain a 160 step per minute pace on the AT without suffering a stroke or heart attack now days but these principles have helped me to adopt a more modest 90 paces a minute along the trail. On stiff grades this can be dialed back to 60 paces per minute with a walk fifty paces, count to ten, and then walk another fifty paces strategy. I am not preaching any specific hiking ideology but encourage anyone who is going to step out on the trail to at least have a plan that works for them. No doubt, the vast majority of thru-hikers who give up during the Georgia phase of the trail have no tactic to deal physically and mentally the stress and tedium of the daily rigors encountered along the way. It is hoped that by having a hiking companion that the physically and physiological barriers can be negotiated as a team with the burden shared equally. Funny, I never really pondered any of the positive aspects of hiking with a buddy. Some benefits that come to mind are a judicious distribution of weight, economy of equipment (sharing a stove and other equipment between the two of us) but most of all the verbal support mechanism when things get rough is very exciting. With the switch from daylight savings time darkness is falling now around five in the afternoon. December 21st can’t come fast enough for me and if I had my druthers if there is a way to put myself into suspended-animation the day before Thanksgiving to be awaken the day after New Year’s I would gladly give my eyeteeth. Unfortunately I don’t have my eyeteeth to give anymore so this fantasy is completely unfeasible. Thank you Montana Gal for stepping forward. I hope that my snoring doesn’t drive you up a tree and somehow together we’ll navigate all the concerns and situation placed before us during the holiday season before stepping off into the Chattahoochee national forest and as successful summit the following October. Every adventure begins with an idea; then a step, followed by another, and another and yet another…

Entry 10 of 12
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Postcards From Paradise

Enjoy the Hike... Swagman

 

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