Saturday, August 15, 2009

Backpacking Extravaganza

Tomorrow I am leaving for a few days to go backpacking for the first time in my life! I will be taking off on the Appalachian Trail in an area located in Maryland/West Virginia. Since it's my first time, I'll only be going for two nights, 3 days, but I feel that this will be long enough to at least introduce me to the joy of backpacking. Hopefully after this I can find time in the near future for a longer endeavor.

Just from packing for this I feel like I've already learned alot... Like the fact that I'm gonna be one smelly girl, who will extremely desire a massage after I get back haha. But for real, I've learned just how important every pound, 1/2 a pound, even 1/4 of a pound matters when packing your pack. All of these semi-pounds start to add up, weighing your pack down. And I'm pretty sure that the lighter the pack the more enjoyable the hike will be for you, the hiker. However, lighter gear often equivalates to being more expensive gear. It's like underwear, the less cloth you get the more you have to pay (makes a lot of sense, right?). But from what I've heard from fellow backpackers, light gear such as tents and sleeping bags is often worth spending the extra dollars.

I've also discovered that I'll be eating a lot of nuts! I have like 3 bags of nuts that I'll be taking with me. Since hiking all day with a heavy pack requires a lot of calories, nuts are the perfect way to pack in some energy with a punch of protein. I'm also taking some cereal, a couple PB&J's for the first day, and a few dehydrated meals for dinner....who knows how those will taste... I'm going to set my standards low so that I won't be dissapointed but instead maybe pleasantly surprised? Even that last statement however is likely to set me up for dissapointment, haha, but who knows, maybe they're better than I imagine. Either way, this diet is definitely off track from my normal diet which is packed with fruit and vegetables. The closest thing I'll be getting to fruits and vegetables is freeze-dried carrots and some raisins in my trail mix. Maybe I'll throw in some apples for the first lunch. But that's just part of the experience of backpacking...roughing it.

I'm pumped to get going (walking) and begin yet another first-time experience of my summer. I've already done long day-hikes on the Appalachian Trail, and all of my experiences have been wonderful and beautiful. I have yet to do any hiking in West Virginia, so I'm hoping it too is a scenic stretch of the trail. The AT stretches across 14 different states and is 2175 miles long. Thousands of hikers attempt to do the whole trail each year, but statistics have shown that only about one in four ever make it to the end (10% quit in the first week!). The youngest person to walk to the whole trail was just six years old, the oldest, 81! Wowzaaa.

Wish me luck, and hopefully I have lots more to say for when I get back!--Peace and Joy

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