How I’m Preparing to Hike 2198.4 Miles

Like most aspiring via hikers, I turned to YouTube to begin researching after I determined to via hike the Appalachian Path in 2023. With the press of a mouse, we’ve entry to actually hundreds of movies of profitable via hikers, part hikers, and every little thing in between. With conflicting recommendation on what did work for some, and what bought others off path, it may be overwhelming to know the place to begin. Can anybody actually be ready to spend months mountain climbing throughout the nation? Essentially the most real looking reply might be not, however there are a number of issues that I’m engaged on doing now to be as ready as I will be to hit the path this spring. 



I as soon as heard an AT via hiker say, “the one factor that prepares you to backpack all day, on a regular basis…is to backpack all day on a regular basis.” I do know that the path goes to kick my butt (particularly these 600+ steps on the Method Path to Springer Mountain). In my spare time, I’ve been throwing on my absolutely loaded pack (with weights to complement the burden of meals) and aiming to go for a stroll or hike no less than as soon as per week. In fact I do miss some weeks, and generally all I can handle to slot in is a one hour stroll round city, however something I do is healthier than nothing. My condo has a fitness center with a stairclimber, in order my begin date will get nearer, I’m going to intention to make use of the fitness center tools a few occasions per week (wanting like a weirdo with my pack on). 

Apart from making an attempt to get used to carrying a backpack all day, there are additionally a number of issues I’m doing to bodily put together my physique for my via hike. Ensuring I’m updated on my dental cleansing, getting a routine bodily, and being type to my physique now earlier than I put it by the problem of a via hike are on the prime of my record. I’m prioritizing sleep, consuming nutritious meals, and taking good care of my ft. A number of months in the past, I had some painful spots on my ft that made even strolling barefoot on carpet uncomfortable. Paying particular consideration to my ft now by utilizing a pumice stone, switching out my work footwear to one thing with a wider toe field, and utilizing toe separators to assist stretch out my ft has made all of the distinction. 

Strolling by city with my absolutely loaded pack


Whereas mountain climbing 2,200 miles in a single stretch isn’t any simple feat, many hikers say that the psychological battle of a via hike is essentially the most tough problem of their journey. As a lot as I’m understanding my legs, again, and ft for my trek, I’m exercising my thoughts even more durable. To place it merely, I know I’m going to have unhealthy days on the market. It’s not if, it’s when. I do know that I’m going to have days the place I’m completely soaking wet and chilly, and different days when the warmth doesn’t appear to relent and I’m being swarmed by mosquitoes and black flies. I do know I’ll placed on the identical damp, smelly garments day after day, crouch my sore bones and muscle tissue out of my tent, and throw on a heavy backpack stuffed with protein bars I’m bored with consuming. A part of me is glad to acknowledge what I’m getting myself into, and never go into this hike with rose coloured glasses. That is going to be arduous. However I do know I can do it. And I do know why I wish to do it. Studying Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis (no, nobody instructed me to say that) was an enormous assist in serving to me pin down my why from being a conceptual concept to concrete causes. I took Zach’s recommendation and wrote out three lists, pinpointing my “why,” in addition to what it will really feel like if I wasn’t profitable. (I’ve additionally added a fourth record, cataloging the issues I wish to see/expertise on the path: getting my Polaroid taken on the Appalachian Path Conservatory in Harper’s Ferry, assembly legendary path angels, and getting a pizza delivered to the Partnership Shelter, to call a number of). I actually took the time to sit down with these lists, and I overview them usually. I’ve put them in my cellphone and promised myself that I’ll learn them after I’m having a nasty day on path. In a separate notes web page on my cellphone I’ve compiled an inventory of inspiring tune lyrics, quotes, Bible verses, and private ideas to tug out to encourage me. One in all my favorites is by Muhammad Ali, “You don’t lose if you happen to get knocked down. You lose if you happen to keep knocked down.” I’ve promised myself that I gained’t stop on a nasty day, so when days come after I’m simply not feeling it, I’ll get off path, take a bathe, eat a burger, and browse my lists. Quitting after I’m clear, dry, have an excellent evening’s sleep in a mattress, and with a full stomach shall be a more durable cut price than after I’m chilly, sore, and consuming my millionth Cliff bar on path. 



My religion is a vital a part of my every day life, so it’s inextricably weaved into my pre-trail prep. As a Catholic, I’m making ready for the path by persevering with to do what I do in regular life; praying, going to church,  and reconciliation. I’ve been in a position to join with different former hikers who share my religion to get their expertise on path and recommendation. Whereas I’m not aiming to plan too far into the long run as a result of unpredictability of a via hike, I’ve organized for a candy path angel couple to choose me up and drive me to church on my first Sunday out on path. I’m very excited to satisfy them and it has put my thoughts comfy understanding the start of my hike has a well-recognized cease. 



I’ve heard former hikers say it over and over, save more cash than you suppose you’ll want. I’ve by no means been a giant spender; I thrift most of my garments, and all of the elements in my bed room furnishings set have been pieced collectively secondhand. I’ve at all times completed my finest to put aside cash to avoid wasting, however as soon as I made a decision to via hike, I began saving particularly for the path (and life after it). One of many first episodes of Backpacker Radio I ever listened to was “Methods to Afford a Through Hike.” I nonetheless bear in mind getting residence from work that afternoon and downloading Qapital, a financial savings app advisable by Chaunce whereas nonetheless in my automotive. Qapital works by permitting you to avoid wasting with completely different “guidelines” that correlate with completely different occasions/habits. I’ve three guidelines on my app, my favourite one being my Spherical Up rule. This works by each time I take advantage of my bank card, the app rounds up the change to the subsequent greenback and saves it within the Qapital account (so if I spend $19.81 at Walmart, my account will withdraw an additional $0.19 so as to add to my Qapital financial savings). There’s a small month-to-month price to make use of the app, however since I save greater than what the app expenses, it’s properly value the price and I plan on persevering with to make use of it after my via hike. 

As soon as I used to be inside the true countdown of via mountain climbing season beginning, I actually targeted on lowering my bills wherever I can. I fully bypass sections of shops like Walmart and Goal now except I actually want one thing there, to assist me keep away from an pointless spending temptation. Earlier than the AT got here into my life, I couldn’t presumably go away Goal with out passing by the candle or earring aisles and choosing up no less than one factor to convey residence with me. I now suppose to myself, “is that this going to assist me get to Katahdin?” and if the reply isn’t any, I often cross on shopping for it. One other thought is, “the price of x merchandise is equal to a keep at a hostel/dinner on path” which helps put issues into perspective. I’ve opted to convey my very own leftovers for dinner for weekly meetups with pals quite than getting takeout, and joined in on ice cream runs with out truly getting ice cream. I’m in a position to nonetheless take part within the social facets of life whereas saving a number of {dollars} right here and there.

Together with lowering bills, I’ve been choosing up further shifts at work a number of occasions a month. I work an hourly job the place I’m in a position to make time beyond regulation. I nonetheless actually worth an excellent work/life steadiness, so I don’t often work full further shifts, however coming in an hour or two early right here and there provides up over time. 

Dwelling as much as the caption on my mug by bringing my very own cup when on a night ice cream run with the roommate


After months of planning, telling my pals, household, and coworkers that I used to be going to embark on a 2000+ mile journey was an enormous aid. Whereas some individuals are anxious for my journey, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people who find themselves supportive of this loopy journey. It’s one thing they could not absolutely ever perceive, however I’ve had constructive suggestions and encouragement from everybody I’ve shared my plans with. Making an official announcement on Fb and Instagram has made the dedication that rather more actual. I used to be shocked to see how many individuals, from youngsters I went to preschool with, to others that I labored with over a decade in the past reacted to my announcement, and the feedback, texts, and messages I’d obtained after making issues official. It’s holding me accountable to persevering with to press on when this journey will get powerful, and I do know that I’ve so many individuals backing me in my nook. In these previous couple of weeks earlier than I begin the journey of a lifetime, I’m doing my finest to be intentional with my time with these round me. I do know that I’m by no means going to be on this identical season of life once more, so I wish to take pleasure in time with family and friends earlier than I set out for half a 12 months. 

Making the official announcement on Fb and Instagram


Resupply bins. I do know each AT via hiker is rolling their eyes at this one. I’m making an attempt to comply with the recommendation of others earlier than me that sending resupply bins turns into an costly, pointless headache. I plan on doing most of my resupplies on the town, nonetheless, I’m placing collectively a number of small bins forward of time to complement my resupplies.. During the last couple of months, I’ve stocked up on luxurious objects I’ve discovered on sale, like dehydrated backpacking meals and Liquid IV packets, in addition to treats that could be tough to seek out on path. (I completely love the Sweet Cane Joe-Joe’s from Dealer Joe’s, that are solely seasonal and at all times promote out.) I attempt to get plenty of recent vegatables and fruits into my every day eating regimen in “regular life,” so this month, I’ll dehydrate some carrots, peppers, and different veggies so as to add some diet to a Ramen Bomb or Pasta Facet. 

Except for resupplies, I’m honing in on my gear setup for the path. I’ve examined most of my gear on tenting journeys and an 80 mile part hike, making a number of tweaks right here and there since then. I’m pleased with the gear I’ve now and really feel snug utilizing it, so it’s what I’m beginning with. I do know I’m prone to do away with issues on path or swap them out for one thing else, and that’s okay. It’s far too simple to go down a rabbit gap over analyzing each minute element of your setup, and I do know if I try this, it’ll drive me loopy. 

A couple of of the objects I’ve stocked up on to have despatched out to me on path to complement my city resupplies

Tying up Free Ends

Whereas part mountain climbing on the AT final 12 months within the midst of The Bubble, a via hiker instructed me that I ought to simply proceed mountain climbing north, and that there “are not any unfastened ends” again residence. In actuality, there are fairly a number of issues I have to get completed earlier than I head out for the path. A brief record of issues that I’ll full as my begin date will get shut are:

  • Getting my 2022 taxes completed
  • Forwarding my mail
  • Canceling an automated supply from Amazon
  • Turning on my Garmin inReach subscription
  • Parking my automotive at my mother and pa’s home
  • Altering out the batteries within the headlamp I borrowed from my brother and by no means gave back- Thanks, Matt!

There are a number of extra issues on my “Issues to do earlier than AT” record on my cellphone, however having an inventory to entry at any time when I have to is useful  to tie up these unfastened ends earlier than I go away.



To sum it up

Taking over a 2000+ journey isn’t any small feat. You possibly can learn each ebook and watch each video there may be, however that’s not the identical as doing it your self. Will I chuckle at a few of these steps afterward? In all probability, but it surely’s all a part of the method and helps put my thoughts comfy that I’m ready as I will be to toe the beginning line in Georgia in only a few brief weeks.