Thursday, September 24, 2015

Walking the Appalachian Trail from 1,800 miles away.


Almost a year ago, I started a Faux Appalachian Trail Hike.  One of my friends attempted to hike the trail and so I became curious and read some books about people who hiked it.  And then I read some more, and still more.  For awhile I seriously entertained the idea of hiking the AT.  But then reality came back and I realized that hiking the trail wasn't real likely for me.  And so, I came up with an alternative plan that would allow me to follow the trail while staying where I am.

The plan is simple:

  1. Take walks in my area and track the mileage
  2. Use a mileage chart from the Appalachian Trail to track your progress
  3. (Optional) Read trail books up to the point of your AT mileage i.e.  if you've hiked 41.5 miles, you're at Low Gap Shelter, so only read up to that point in the book's progress.
Then, realize that by walking 5 miles a week, you'll reach Mt. Katahdin in about eight years.  Time to step it up.

I'm currently at Sheep Rock Top, 40.94 miles in. Of course I'm reviving this walk at the time that I'm dealing with tendinitis in my ankle.  So my mileage is low and slow.  However I'm finding this a lot more fun now that we've moved to Montana.  There's so many trails to try and it encourages me to be outside and in nature.  Even a 3/4 mile walk is worth the effort.  And someday soon I'll be able to add on more miles each week after the ankle recovers.  

These are the books that I'm reading along with my trail walking:
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (classic)
  • Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail by Gary Bond
  • Skywalker - Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker
  • Between a Rock and a White Blaze by Julie Urbanski
  • Timberrr!!! Or How I Fell Down the Appalachian Trail by Amy "Timber" Hiusser
  • Lost on the Appalachian Trail by Kyle Rhorig
I'll add another one, since my kindle folder can hold eight titles on a page.  And since Hiusser didn't complete the trail, I'll add another book when I finish that one.  Each night I read the book that's on the bottom of the list on my kindle.  Then I'll read to the point of how far I am on the AT.  As I've slowed in walking to let my ankle recover, I'm often not reading more than a page or two.  Hopefully I'll be recovered before it gets too cold to hike.  

And that's it.  I get to hike the Appalachian Trail vicariously through other people while still sleeping in my own bed at night.  Now this, I can do.


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