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An Appalachian Adventure January 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.

Wikipedia ~ Backpacking (in Public Domain)

“Man, this pack is heavy.”

“You’re right.”

“I know I’m right.  We should have hired Sherpas.”

“Sherpas are few and far between in Georgia.”

“OK, then . . . donkeys.”

“Don’t be an ass.”

“I’ll stop being an ass if you stop being such a stubborn mule.”

“What do you mean?”

“C’mon . . . let’s toss in the towel on this boondoggle through the boondocks.”

“I’m not tossing in the towel.”

“Fine, be a mule.  So . . . how far have we gone?”

“About 7 miles.”

“That’s all?  It seems further . . . like 107.”

“Nope.  Just 7.1 miles since we set out this morning.”

“How many miles to the end of the trail?”

“From this point . . . we’ve got 2,171.2 to go.”

“I’m never gonna make it.”

“Sure you will.  Let’s play a game to make the time pass more quickly.”


Appalachian Trail Conservancy ~ About the Trail

“Here’s a fun fact . . . the elevation gain and loss on the Appalachian Trail is like hiking from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest . . .”

“You’re kidding . . . ”

” . . . and back to sea level . . . 16 times.”

“16 times?!”


“I’m never gonna make it.”

“You’ll do fine.  See if you can list all the states the trail passes through.”

“Well, it starts in Georgia and ends in Maine . . . and Maine can’t get here soon enough.”

“Two states down and 12 to go.”

“Hmm . . . North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.”

“Great.  You’re on a roll.  Don’t stop now.”

“West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania.”

“Yup.  Keep going.”

“New Jersey, New York, Connecticut.”

“Only three more.”

“Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.”

“Yay, you did it!”

“Whoopee!  How much does this pack weigh, anyway?”

“Your pack weighs 40 pounds.  Mine’s a lean, mean 37 pounds.”

“Man, that’s like carting around a small child . . . or two.  Just thinking about it makes me tired.”

“OK.  Let’s take a break and stop for lunch.”

“Great!  What have we got?”

“Power Bars, GORP, Candy Bars,  GORP, Peanut Butter, and GORP.”

“That’s it?!”

“What did you think I was going to offer you?  A fresh out of the oven pizza?”


“Hey, that’s an idea . . . let’s find the closest pizzeria.”


“OK. No pizza.  What’s GORP . . . or do I even want to know?”

GORP = Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.”

“Are you nuts?  All we’ve got to eat is fruit and nuts?  After this workout?”

“No worries, mon!  It’s high caloric Trail Mix . . . designed to keep us going and going and going.”

“What?  Like the Energizer Bunny?”

“Sure . . . hippity hopping down the trail.”

“Great.  By the way, where are we staying tonight?  And, more to the hippity  hoppity point, are we almost there yet?  I could use a bath, a massage, a hot meal, and a Sleep Number Bed.”

“Keep dreaming . . . we’re staying at a shelter.”

“With all the modern conveniences?”

“Sure . . . sort of.”

“What do you mean sort of?  Does it have running water?”

“Yup . . . the stream runs right by the shelter.”



“Sure . . . dig your own.”


“Only if there is lightning.”

“How did you rope me into this adventure again?”

“The promise of Amazing Vistas . . . ”


Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Andra Watkins - January 30, 2012

Ah yes. Are we there yet? On a trek like that one, that would be me. 🙂

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

I’m with you, Andra. I prefer dayhiking to backpacking for days or months on end. A dayhike to a waterfall for a picnic lunch followed by a hot meal around the campfire before retiring to a cozy bed. 😀

Glad you enjoyed your hikes at Zion. What a gorgeous place to commune with Nature.

2. BrainRants - January 30, 2012

Someday I hope I have time.

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

We went to a presentation at the library on Saturday by a couple who retired in 2007 and completed the trail in 178 days in 2009 ~ that included 7 “zero days” (with no hiking). They stayed in shelters 48 nights, in tents 64 nights, in hotels 44 nights, in hostels 20 nights, and in houses twice.

Of the first 100 days on the trail . . . 50 were rainy. The most troublesome feeling was “being so dirty all the time.”

The idea of trekking the distance from start to finish holds little appeal for me . . . but we have hiked portions of the AT in NJ, PA, NC, VA, and TN. It’s gorgeous . . . in places. Other bits are mucky and muddy and messy and you can’t see the vistas for the trees.

3. suzicate - January 30, 2012

Love the AT…only been on portions in VA. There’s an AT documentary on Netflix you might enjoy.

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

Thanks, Suzi. I shall check out the documentary. I’m sure we would love it.

You and Dirt Man would love the portion running through the Great Smoky Mountains in NC and TN. Gorgeous.

4. Judson - January 30, 2012

Love to walk … think I’d love to hike … would be doing it on my own … family scoffs.

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

We love “hiking” through the woods . . . but only with what we need for the day ~ including a delicious picnic to unpack on a rocky ledge or beside a babbling brook.

You might enjoy A Walk in the Woods, Judson. It’s about Bill Bryson’s hike through parts of the AT.

5. Ruth - January 30, 2012

Wow, that’s a long trail and does look inviting – I dream of setting out on this sort of adventure… but I wonder if I wouldn’t turn into the fretful whiner? 🙂

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

In 2009, 1425 started northbound intending to hike the entire trail ~ 343 made it to the top of Katahdin. About a 25% success rate.

Tim & Vicki spent somewhere between $5000 and $7000 on the 6-month trek for food, supplies, and boots! Between them, they went through 2 pairs of boots and 4 pairs of trailrunners.

Both lost weight ~ Tim lost 12 pounds and vickie lost 35.

Most hikers were in their 20’s or 30’s. The oldest they met was 72.

Wildlife spooted ~ bears, deer, moose, squirrels, loons, grouse, wild horses, wild turkeys, eagles, hawks, chipmunks, snakes, lizards, and more.

Coldest temperature they encountered ~ 17 degrees F in the Smoky Mountains. Warmest temps ~ in the 80’s, but rarely. Mostly they hiked with temps in the 60’s and 70’s.

“On the trail, a woman cannot care what she looks like!”
“If you hike the AT, you will find a new appreciation for flush toilets.” 😉

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

Here’s Vicki and Tim’s journal:

6. walterwsmith3rd - January 30, 2012

Great post Nancy. This is right in my backyard.

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

When we lived in NC, we headed to the mountains most weekends in the Spring, Summer, and Fall . . . to camp, to hike, to watch water fall at waterfalls.

We hiked bits of the AT here and there . . . especially in the Great Smokies.

I’m sure you enjoy all the natural beauty in your backyard. 😀

7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - January 30, 2012

Ha, ha. This makes me want to take a great indoors vacation.

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

As BFF and I left the presentation on Saturday, he asked me if I wanted to “follow their lead.”

I laughed. “Not a chance.”

Dayhikes to mountain waterfalls and babbling brooks, with a cozy bed and breakfast waiting to embrace us at night, is more my cup of tea than slogging up and down mountainsides for six months straight. 😀

8. sufilight - January 30, 2012

I love to walk, explore and walk so more, but hiking and not having modern conveniences would probably have me whining a little. LOL

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

I love spending time in nature . . . but I like hot showers and comfy beds and flush toilets too!

Balance! In all things, balance! 😀

9. ElizOF - January 30, 2012

I do hope they both make it! 😆

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

With GORP on their side . . . they’ll take it all in “stride.” 😉

10. souldipper - January 30, 2012

At first, I thought this was part of your new activities. 😀 I loved the facts you brought to us from the presentation. One of the homemakers at the Senior’s residence was a woman who walked the trail to honour her ancestors. She did the dance, in full Cherokee regalia, that represented the experience.

Of course, we all got up and joined in…hoping the ancestors wouldn’t fall back into life laughing at us!

nrhatch - January 30, 2012

At first, I planned to do a straight journalistic report about the presentation ~ the who, what, where, when, and how. I quickly rejected that plan and decided to have FUN with the topic.

I love watching dancing in full Cherokee regalia. In NC, we had the change to visit several Cherokee enclaves. Gorgeous people and gorgeous duds.

But they do have a sense of humor . . . so the ancestors may have been laughing. All in good FUN.

11. Pocket Perspectives - January 31, 2012

hmmm…..very mild mannered I would say….”I’m never going to make it…”????……..more like *##*#*#**#**%*^*####…and whose idea was this anyway???” Teasing aside, I grew up next to the Appalachian Trail in the Franconia Range in New Hampshire…beautiful hiking there, just beautiful. I’ve climbed Mt. Katahdin too…a veryyyyyy long hike. (Sherman Adams took a few other kids and me to hike it…he was a neighbor who took us on wonderful mountain climbing trips…not my kind of politics, but it sure was nice of him to take us on so many backpacking trips!)

nrhatch - January 31, 2012

That’s a great way to see the sights from way up high . . . one peek/peak at a time! 😉

12. jannatwrites - January 31, 2012

I like hiking, but I don’t think I would like 178 days of it in a row. At least they stayed at some places where they could get a decent shower.

nrhatch - January 31, 2012

I concur. When we camped for 2-3 days and came home . . . that “after camping shower” was stellar! Better than chocolate. I can’t imagine voluntarily going longer than that without a hot shower and a soft bed. I am no Daniel Boone. 😉

13. Tilly Bud - January 31, 2012

Wow! Totally worth it!

nrhatch - January 31, 2012

The views and vistas ARE breathtaking . . . of course, strenuous hiking takes the breath away with or without a view. 😉

14. Victoria-writes - January 31, 2012

Well done for making it up there, what a view!

nrhatch - January 31, 2012

Vicki and Tim hiked the entire length in 178 days in 2009. BFF and I have spent maybe 20 days (spread over 20 years) on the AT. Our favorite hikes in NC and PA always ended at a waterfall. 😀

15. thirdhandart - January 31, 2012

I agree with you Nancy, “I love spending time in nature . . . but I like hot showers and comfy beds and flush toilets too!” Got to give kudos to Vicki and Tim though. What an accomplishment!

nrhatch - January 31, 2012

They said that it was the hardest thing they’ve ever done ~ both physically and mentally.

Their next adventure . . . to spend 2 months biking across the southern US.

16. Perfecting Motherhood - February 1, 2012

I’ve seen parts of the Appalachians while living in the Northeast and they sure are beautiful. Gosh, I’d love to do that trail one day. My kids can’t even hike for a mile without whining so I’ll have to wait till they’re a lot older till we try hiking parts of it!

nrhatch - February 1, 2012

The youngest person who hiked the trail from start to finish in 2009 was 18 years old. The oldest was 72.

So, you’ve got time to let the kids build up their stamina. 😉

Perfecting Motherhood - February 1, 2012

I’m not sure I want to hike 2100 miles! But parts of it would be very nice, especially if it’s close to other places I’d really like to take the kids to when they’re older.

nrhatch - February 1, 2012

That’s definitely a good way to “test the waters.” Hike for a couple of days . . . then get off the trail and sleep in a nice comfy bed. 😀

17. 2e0mca - February 1, 2012

LoL – My son always dreads the moment in the school holidays when I reach for my coat and camera bag and say those words… ‘C’mon, lets go! 🙂 He’s lucky, the furthest I’ve walked him in a single hit is 8 miles.

Halfterm the week after next… time to reach for that camera bag again 😉 Unfortunately there’s no vistas like that near me but I’m sure we’ll find something!

nrhatch - February 1, 2012

Yay, you! Getting kids to head out and about to enjoy the great outdoors “and see what’s to be seen” . . . benefits their mental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual development.

Plus, it keeps them from playing video games ad nauseum.

18. Tokeloshe - February 1, 2012

Love it!

I only like easy hikes with a view.

nrhatch - February 1, 2012

I’m with you, Tok! And you’ve captured some marvelous views with your photos.

19. Booksphotographsandartwork - February 1, 2012

Thanks for saving me the trip. Not something I could manage.

nrhatch - February 1, 2012

I don’t know that many of us would find the internal motivation needed to hike for 2,100 miles, Linda.

Day hikes, walks on the beach, and walks around the neighborhood are more my speed.

20. Team Oyeniyi - February 2, 2012

I could SO do that! Not so sure about Mr O – he finds the “countryside” rather daunting!

nrhatch - February 2, 2012

There are city people and country people . . . I’m lost in cities. Too much noise, and stress, and hubbub. But I’d probably get lost in the wildnerness too. 😉

Maybe a few day hikes will make him love the wilds.

21. bluebee - February 4, 2012

Those views make it all worthwhile

nrhatch - February 4, 2012

Last night, we watched “10 mph” about a guy who crossed the US on a Segway Scooter ~ 4,000 miles in 100 days.

I hope he enjoyed the view. 😉

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