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The Appalacian Trail: survival and gear test?

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posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 07:29 AM
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Hi all,
Making my final preparations for my long awaited first attempt at completing the Appalacian trail.

i have done many day hikes and even a few for more than a week but the past few years i have found myself more inclined to going the whole 2000 miles. If all goes well and as planned
, i will be leaving for Mt. Katahdin sometime shortly after May 1st.

Im hoping that i will be able to make the summit and start from there but i may be a bit early and the weather may not allow me to summit Katahdin, in any case if the weather does not permit meto go there it is ok with me, i have been there many times before and will start my journey from the nearest point on the trail that i can get to.

So you may be asking why am making a post about this...

I am hoping for two things, the first thing i would like is, if anyone who has been along or near the trail to tell me of any special places that they would recommend i visit.
It does not even have to be on the trail as i have much time to explore and will be doing so for as long as the weather permits as i am trying to reach Springer mountain (the southern end of the trail in Georgia) before it gets too cold for my gear...

The second intent i have in posting this to test out some survival techniques and if funds allow some survival gear.
If anyone has any ideas or perhaps a peice of gear in thier BOB that they think would be usefull but just are not sure i would be willing to give it a shot and put theory/gear to the test.

It is my understanding that there are many "civilized" outposts along the way and i should not ever be too far away from an internet connection, so i should be able to communicate easily enough. Though i will not be taking a computer the phone i am bringing has minimal video and photo capabilities and verizon says that i should have decent coverage for most of my journey.

Thanks to all in advance who have any places to recommend or survival ideas for me to try out,
wish me luck


edit on 25-4-2011 by RadicalRebel because: my spacebarisbroken....




posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 07:51 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


Good Luck!



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 08:01 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


How are you going to keep your phone charged? Even when they are turned off they are still on and drain power. After 3 or4 days it will be completely dead with no recharge. I guess you could disconnect the battery when you weren't using it.



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 08:20 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


Good Luck Radical! I've been hiking the Appalachian Trail since I was 7 years old, 34 years ago, so I have alot of experience on the trail from GA to NY. I never got further north than that and have only hiked it in sections. My favorite places along the trail are any of the overlooks in Shenandoah National Park (remember you have to have a permit to camp along the trail there, and only at designated spots, at least when I was there in the early 2000's). The highlands of Southwest VA, Thomas Knob especially will give you a 90 mile view on a clear day (You can see the Black Mountains from there). From Thomas Knob you can take the short side trail to the top of Mt. Rogers. There is no view from the top, however, it is the highest point in VA and the forest surrounding the summit is a leftover from the Ice Age. An biological island in the sky! Along the NC/TN border, take the time to find the summit of Grassy Ridge, at 6200ft above sea level it is the only Southern Bald to have a 360 degree view. The view is amazing on a clear day if you are lucky to have one in that region. Of course the Great Smokies are awesome.

Your most essential piece of gear will be your boots. Please, please, please take care of your feet. You don't want to be like one of my long distance hiking partners and earn the trail name "Blisters" and have to climb down the mountains only 2 days into a 7 day trip.

I hope you will find a way to keep us updated on your progress. A facebook page perhaps or keep updated here.

I'd even volunteer to post here on your behalf and give you my email address to send updates to me for me to post for you.

Once again good luck and remember: A trail shelter is never full until the last person is in for the night!



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 08:21 AM
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reply to post by yourmamaknows
 


Yeah i had concidered that, i do have one extra batteryim taking with me and i do plan on keeping them both disconnected unless i am using them to take pictures/video or such. Unfortunately the appalcian trail is not as secluded as i would like it to be. It runs along a very populated corridor even in the south. Hopefully i will be able to recharge them as needed at some of the towns the trail passes through.



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 08:25 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


I forgot to mention survival gear. You don't have to go all out on name brand clothing, but a good, breathable, jacket shell is my favorite piece of gear. In winter, I layer a silk undershirt, long sleeve shirt, fleece jacket and the shell and keep warm even below 0F. In summer, I can wear it when it rains.

Water filter is essential to prevent Giardia. Never pump water from below a cow pasture, always above it. If you run into a Ranger or hikers coming along the trail, ask where the springs are in the area and their condition. They are not always apparent to be found and not always wet in summer.

Hope this helps!!



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 08:42 AM
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reply to post by tsawyer2
 


that is great info TY!
Probably wont be in VA till sometime mid summer but i AM looking forward to it. I have done some day hikes in the southern ranges but nothing to speak of really, most of my trail experience has been in New England and the tri-state region so i am looking forward to the new experiences.

To ease your concern i have 3pairs of boots i have been wearing in all winter long one i will be wearing, one in my pack and the third on standby if/when needed
i also have sandles and enjoy going barefoot when i feel comfortable doing so.

hopefully my phone will allow me to keep connected and upload pics and vid when i am near civilization, as well as post here and keep this thread updated.
Thanks for the support!



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 08:51 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


For charging your phone, there is always something like this, cheap, and you can hang it on the ouside of your pack while you walk
solar charger
cgi.ebay.com.au...



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by sprocket2cog
reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


For charging your phone, there is always something like this, cheap, and you can hang it on the ouside of your pack while you walk
solar charger
cgi.ebay.com.au...


bookmarked that for later concideration TY
i had considered an option like that butmy concern is the extra weight it will add to my already heavy pack, though it may be fairly light every # counts but i have not completely ruled it out. As it stands now my pack weighs just about 87lbs. a bit heavier than i was hoping for and that is not including my tent.
I have been going over my supplies to see what i can leaveout but most of itis supplies i willbe needing on a daily basis.



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 09:14 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


Yeah i know what its like, ive done a few long week long treks, but nothing on the scale your doing, it can get a bit like like that with the weight . Good luck on your trip. and remember one lighter can replace a lot of matches...
now im starting to think i should organize a some sort of trek soon too

oh and sunscreen might be handy, as you most likely know UV at altitude can be a killer.(not sure what altitude your at)
but as your planning such along trek, im sure you have a good survival head about you anyway.



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 09:20 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


That's great that you have multiple pairs of boots. Blisters have been to one injury I have seen too much of on trails. I remember one time I came across a group of college students on Pine Mountain in SW Virgina and one girl had been walking for three days in an old pair of sneakers and no socks. It took me an hour to patch her up enough for her to continue down the mountain. Worst case of blisters I have ever seen. I also was then down a pair of socks since I gave her a pair. None of her companions brought an extra pair. Ridiculous! I'm not a doctor, just skilled in first aid. I hope she took my advice and went to the first hospital or clinic they could get her too, infection was setting in.

I hope you will keep a small journal of your travels too. I keep notes on my days on the trail with sketches of the things I see, then later on turn them into full fledge stories. I think I will make a thread and share one of those stories with everyone here in the short story section. :-)



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by RadicalRebel

Originally posted by sprocket2cog
reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


For charging your phone, there is always something like this, cheap, and you can hang it on the ouside of your pack while you walk
solar charger
cgi.ebay.com.au...


bookmarked that for later concideration TY
i had considered an option like that butmy concern is the extra weight it will add to my already heavy pack, though it may be fairly light every # counts but i have not completely ruled it out. As it stands now my pack weighs just about 87lbs. a bit heavier than i was hoping for and that is not including my tent.
I have been going over my supplies to see what i can leaveout but most of itis supplies i willbe needing on a daily basis.


87 pounds! Wow! Can you mail some of your supplies ahead of you for pickup later? Most of the time the postmaster at post offices will hold your packages for you until you arrive. You can mail them to General Delivery c/o yourself and they will hold them for you to pick up.

Have you read the Thru Hiker's Handbook?



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 09:31 AM
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reply to post by tsawyer2
 


Something i had not considered...
While i have a somewhat detailed map of the water sources given by the ATC i was concerned about the lack of info on this, i suppose local hikers would know more about other sources available, thanks again for the tips and yes i have a filter and iodine tabs for emergency. Boiling water is always my intent but good to have backup just in case the weather does not permit fire.

was thinking of trying out some simple distilling techniques i have been reading aboutlike solar stills and an emergency distilling using a funnel and small hose but those are just more added supplies i dont want to carry

though a simple plastic sheet is easy enough so i definitely will be trying the solar still method.



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 09:45 AM
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reply to post by tsawyer2
 


Yeah i know, heavier than i wanted...most is food and emergency gear...extra boots, rain parka, pots for cooking, warmclothes like heavypants and a sweater, a small fleece blanket...you see where im going....
not sure how much is gonna be needed and im sure i can leave some of it behind till later in the year, but i am still hesitant because in this case i would rather be safe than sorry...



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 10:04 AM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


If your phone is USB charged you probably should invest in one of these. Could be a life saver and it doesn't look too heavy or big.

Sorry didnt see the post above mine re: a similar solution...
edit on 25-4-2011 by Lost_Mind because: Didn't see the post above mine re: same type of solution.



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 10:19 AM
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Originally posted by Lost_Mind
reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


If your phone is USB charged you probably should invest in one of these. Could be a life saver and it doesn't look too heavy or big.

Sorry didnt see the post above mine re: a similar solution...
edit on 25-4-2011 by Lost_Mind because: Didn't see the post above mine re: same type of solution.


hmmm... i like that one as it doubles as a flashlight, that i could use as a replacement for my flashlight and save some room/weight by leaving behind the batteries...



posted on Apr, 25 2011 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by RadicalRebel
 


It seems that you take the attitude I do, "rather be safe than sorry". I'm happy I carried an extra fleece pullover on a trip into Shining Rock Wilderness. It was 70 degrees during the day, but second night out it got below freezing. Other times, like an early January trip to the Uwharrie Mountains, I didn't even need my tent, I slept outside on top of my sleeping bag next to my small fire.

If you can haul 87 pounds comfortably I say go for it. For me, I'm 40 years old now, 6 foot tall and weigh 162 pounds. I simply couldn't take that much with me.

Just some ideas for you as long as you don't mind. Take a small tube of toothpaste, nothing large. Bio-degradable camp soap can be used to both wash you and your dishes. On long trips I only take one small pot to boil water for dehydrated food. I try to get fresh food when I am near a town and only one day's worth at that. I use my extra clothes stuffed in a bag as a pillow. I like carrying an inflatable sleeping mat, but on long trips do without it. A bed of leaves under my tent does the same thing. I guess just go through your items and decide if there is something you can do without.

Maybe next time you take a long trip, find a hiking partner. My favorite partner was a grad student named Jandy (she was named after her mother's sisters Janice and Mandy). She was super athletic and we could share our common items easily. We never dated but got real close to each other on long trips. We'd share the same food out of a pot, share a tent, shower each other off at the end of long hot days, one night in a winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on us, we even shared a sleeping bag. Those are the trips you remember. You can cut out at least 20 to 30 pounds a gear with the right partner.

I am very much looking forward to seeing your updates from the trail. I am going to keep coming back to this thread often.



posted on May, 3 2011 @ 01:01 PM
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epic partial failure on my part here....
got an extension on the job i have been doing, so i am gonna be working for a few more weeks before i leave.

its a good thing though, i think...i took a test run with my pack and some gear over the weekend and didnt like the way i had it set up, this gives me more time/money to make sure i have everything ready to go the long haul.
More work=more $$=better supplies=happy trails

and i am definitely NOT carrying 87lbs. over 2k miles and for 6 months...im doing this to enjoy the ride and while i know there is hard work involved any ways, i am not trying to prepare myself for boot camp


so now i am shooting for a mid june departure for Katahdin, a bit more in line with some of the recommendations i have been reading.

BTW, thanks Tsawyer2..thanks for the bit about the sunblock, didnt have that on my mind, and i am already thankfull you brought it up



posted on May, 3 2011 @ 01:59 PM
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OMG
your a brave soul doing the AP. I really suggest you have escape plans.

If you want a hilarious read, read a Walk IN the Woods by Bill Bryson. It is about a forty something attempting the AT for the first time, but also has a lot of history.
The AT is stil the worlds largest volunteer coordination project. And highly under appreciated.

You should do what most people do, and only do a segment at a time.

Your gonna need serious maps, I can tell you that right now.



posted on May, 3 2011 @ 04:53 PM
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reply to post by nixie_nox
 


i will look into the read you suggested...maybe ill take it with me.

ive done the northern section once, as well as bits and peices of it over the years, and have hiked around the northern sections of the mid-atlantic as well as some short trips near springer int he south. As for maps i have already spent about 300$ and am only taking half of them with me, hopefully it will be enough to get me through the sections i am unfamiliar with.
Thanks for the advise too



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