Post Hike

Its been ten weeks since I finished hiking the Long Trail and I’ve had a hard time deciding to write this follow up. Mostly because of how bad I felt after the hike. I had fatigue that lasted weeks. I was taking a nap every chance I could, which was about 4 times a week. My feet and knees were sore. I refrained from doing any sort of exercise for a couple of weeks, which is way out of the norm for me. I even exercise while on vacation! It is just part of my daily routine. When I started to exercise again it was just walking a mile or two. I felt like I had aged decades! I was depressed. I was wondering how I would ever be able to thru hike something as long as the AT. So after lots of thinking I have decided to just play my thru hike by ear and see how things go. I plan to do a flip flop starting in Harper’s Ferry West Virginia and hike north to Katahdon and hope like hell that I make it there with a smile still on my face. Then I will reassess. If I am able to make forward progress without too much pain and fatigue I will continue.

Hiking Long Trail really humbled me. I realized how I really need to pay attention to my body and rest when I am tired. Sleeping on the ground is really hard on the hips and I don’t sleep well. I am consistently doing what I call the “sleep pad roll”. Rolling from one side to my back then to the other side then repeat through out the night. But there is just something about trail life that I love. The trail was amazingly beautiful and some of the climbs were actually fun. While some were pushing my fear of heights panic button. There was never a day that I thought about quitting, but there were a few that I would have definitely loved to have stopped early.

I was very happy with the gear that I had and only changed a few small things. I had a hiking skirt with built in underwear that I decided to cut the underwear out of and wear some that I could change out and wash regularly. This way I could remove the underwear wash it put clean underwear on and not expose any of my girlie parts. And it just so nice to wear clean undies.

I also add a couple of things…gaiters for my feet. I was sick and tired if getting debris in my shoes and having to clean it out regularly. And I add a small cloth carry bag/backpack that I could put my water bottles, water filter and wash bandana in to carry everything down to the springs where I would get water. This way I could get enough water for the night and next morning and only make one trip to get water. Sometimes the water was a ways away and difficult to get to.

The only thing that I completely eliminated was my keyboard for blogging. I was trying to eliminate any excess weight that wasn’t necessary, when the climbs started to get really difficult and exhaustion was setting in. There were sections that I also did away with my umbrella and rain pants when the weather looked good, but that was only because we stayed some nights back at my Aunt and Uncles since they didn’t live to far from the trail. You can view my gear list at https://lighterpack.com/r/79r1ih.

Would I do it again? You betcha!

8 thoughts on “Post Hike

  1. I can relate to almost everything you wrote-from the things you got rid of to lighten your pack, to how you felt after your hike. Your cloth bag idea is a good one for your water bottles. I used a plastic grocery bag for that, which I also used to put my wet tent in.I had to replace them from time to time, though. It helped so much to have something to tote those water bottles/filter, etc., in!

    I also think your flip-flop plan is a good one. I now wish I had done the hardest part first, given that it was exhaustion and weight loss that got me in the end. This plan will also relieve you of the timetable to finish before Katahdin closes.

    I’m glad you are on the mend and feeling better. I’m looking forward to following you next year. Whether it ends up being a thru-hike or a LASH, it will be an adventure you’ll never forget.

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    1. I tried using a grocery store bag and my sawyer water bags kept puncturing the bag so I had to think of something else. I bag I used was on of those string backpacks. It worked great! I could through it on my back if I need my hands to pull myself back up the steep incline I had to trek down to get water.

      Yeah I thought the flip flop would give me more flexibility and I wouldn’t have to do the hard part at the very end. Plus if I only make it half way, I’ve at least done the hardest part and it will be easier for me to finish the southern part since I live in Florida.

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  2. Great post! I hear u on the post LT fatigue! I was so mentally motivated to walk mire when I got home but found I was totally physically drained. I rested a LOT! It was hard to motivate back into work gear an I had a really rough transition with that even tho I’m self employed and enjoy work.

    I have been trying to ask myself whether or not I need to hike the AT. I want to but I don’t want to be away from home for that long. If I wasn’t happily partnered I’d do it. But I missed my partner so much while on the LT that o can’t imagine being away longer. I think a month is my max. Might start sectioning the AT. I’ve done a lot of the northern parts and it would be fun to piece it all together…

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    1. Isn’t it great there are some many trails and we can hike them however and whenever we want. I just love the grand adventure of it all. Yeah, I hear you on not wanting to leave your partner. My husband was going to do it with me, but it is just so expensive for us both to do it and he’s not so fond of going without a shower and the lack of climate control while sleeping.

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      1. Yes! There r so many trails and endless options. And yeah hiking the AT is expensive!!! The LT was expensive! I could never go off hiking for 6 months unless we got a roommate and that would be so disruptive.

        Psychologically there is something really satisfying about completing a trail. But you remind me that we get to define our own goals and our own stretches of trail adventures that allow us to focus on the he joy of simply being out there. I have never backpacked alone and that is my goal next summer! A 2 or 3 day trip!

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  3. Hiking the LT was an adventure that I’ll never forget and you were an amazing partner on that trek, Amy! Your determination inspired me during the rough times and pulled this old lady all of the way to Canada. You can do anything!!
    Ten weeks after completing the hike and I’m just getting my legs back to pre-hike shape. Rest, foam rolling and yoga have helped but it just took time. Everyone says that you shouldn’t underestimate the LT and I agree. It’s a beast! Luv ya, Amy.

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    1. I believe it was you blazing the trail to Canada, with me pulling up the rear!!! You’re a bad ass hiker Aunt Julie, and my favorite aunt. I will always remember this trip. Thank you for joining me. Love ya, too.

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