AT NH Day 2: Gummies and Glowworm Go Home

Hanover – Trapper John Shelter
16.1 miles
I slept like a rock in our comfy Airbnb bed last night, and woke up feeling rested and ready to hit the trail. Before leaving, we had breakfast with our host Jeff and got to meet some of the other Airbnb guests, which was really nice. We dropped our car off at a lot in town, walked maybe about a mile on the road to get to the place where the trail leaves town, and started hiking.

Gummies and Glowworm back in action!

As we were headed out of town, we met some more thru hikers named Survivor and Tadpole who we leapfrogged with a bit. There was some climbing to start off (the rule that there’s always a climb out of town still holds), but after that the trail was super chill for a while, which was quite nice to get us warmed up and back into the swing of things.

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AT NH Day 1: Terra incognita

VT/NH border – Mile 1750.4
~1.4 miles
Well, this trip started out in possibly the most classic way possible – with grief caused by the United States Postal System.
Our original plan had been to leave home early Saturday morning and drive most of the way to our starting point in Hanover, New Hampshire, stopping just an hour short for the night at an Airbnb, and continuing on to Hanover early Sunday morning. However, while getting ready for work on Thursday morning, I was suddenly struck by a thought. We had packages at the Hanover post office. And we would be arriving in town on a Sunday. The post office closes up for the weekend at 12:30 on Saturday.
We scrambled to come up with a new plan, which had us leaving after work on Friday and driving into the night, stopping at a rest area somewhere in Maine a little after midnight. We initially parked our car directly in front of a “no camping or overnight parking” sign, but then moved to a spot farther from the sign, but where overnight parking was definitely no more allowed. However, my logic was that since it was already early Saturday morning by the time we arrived, it was just a long break where we happened to nap.

Our ability to adapt to the sudden changing of plans brought me right back to the PCT. I definitely have my journey there to thank for the way I can now go with the flow with relatively small amounts of worry. Changing plans, jumping into new things, exploring new places… Terra incognita.

I got some surprisingly high quality sleep in the leaned back passenger seat of our hatchback, waking up at 5am to make the rest of the drive. We made fantastic time and ended up arriving in Hanover at 10am, with plenty of time to spare before the post office closed.

First meal on trail : breakfast at Lou’s! They also have thru-hiker-worthy sized pancakes.

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THE CAFFEINATED HIKER RETURNS

Greetings blog followers! I apologize for my almost year and a half of silence. Life after the PCT has been weird and exciting and amazing and really, really hard.

Here’s the Sparknotes update: After a long and difficult 7 months of long-distance, Gummies finally moved to Canada with me at the end of May 2018. We got married on July 21, 2018, and about one month afterwards, relocated from Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Gummies is currently pursuing his masters degree in urban planning. About one year after he moved here, we received the exciting news that he had been approved to become a permanent resident of Canada!

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Wedding photo by the amazing and lovely SN Photography.

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What I Ate on The PCT – A Horror Story

Food. Thoughts of it will consume your mind on a long hike. When will you eat next? What will you eat next? How soon is it acceptable to stop for lunch after stopping for breakfast? How can I fit as many calories as possible into my body during one sitting? How can I make the instant mashed potatoes that I have for dinner tonight somewhat bearable?

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A fairly typical resupply.

When I was researching and preparing for my thru-hike, I really enjoyed and found it very helpful to read posts where people laid out the kinds of things they ate on their own hikes. This year’s class of thru-hikers are currently feverishly preparing to set off on their journeys, so I decided to try and be semi-helpful and write a food post of my own. Plus, I just really like talking about food. Below, I’ll write a blurb about what I typically ate for each meal, as well as my final thoughts on my food strategy and if I would eat the same shit on my next hike.

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A taste of the horrors that lie ahead: this is a tortilla with peanut butter and mayonnaise. 

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Every Problem Feels Smaller in the Woods

Hello again, friends. It’s been another month since I’ve last posted, and it feels like my plans for the future have changed about every other day during the course of that month. I spent most of the time between my last post and now in Indianapolis, staying with Gummies and his family, which was lovely, but slightly tinged with sadness. When I stepped on the plane in Toronto, it was still with the hope that Gummies and I would be returning to Canada together, where he would be staying on a somewhat permanent basis. Well, within the first couple days of my visit, the universe decided to remind us of probably the most important lesson we learned on the trail: life doesn’t often go to plan.

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Glossary of Thru-hiking Terms

There are now exactly 3 weeks left until my Pacific Crest Trail adventure begins! I cannot believe how close it is, and I feel like I still have a ton of little things to do before departure day arrives. This also means that before too long, the posts on this blog will probably be filled with hiker jargon that, if you haven’t thru-hiked before, may get confusing. But never fear! I have prepared this handy guide to common thru-hiker terms to help you figure out what the heck we are all talking about.

Base weight (noun) – the weight of everything in a hiker’s pack, minus consumables (water, food, fuel, etc.)

Bushwhack (verb) – to travel off-trail, often requiring fighting through thick brush or trees

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Backpackers Bushwhacking in Donoho Basin

Camel up (verb) – to drink a large amount of water at once (usually while at a water source) in order to decrease the amount of water one has to carry to the next water source (whether this actually works or not is rather dubious)

Cat hole (noun) – a hole one digs to poop into

Cowboy camp (verb) – to camp under the stars, with no shelter (the solution to being too lazy to set up your tent at the end of the day)

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The Caffeinated Hiker Thru the Ages

The Caffeinated Hiker Thru the Ages

I’ve been thinking about my “hiking backstory” recently. I’ve been hiking literally longer than I can remember, so I went straight to the source (my parents) to gather information about my early hiking days. We all had a good time going through family photos (warning: this post will be photo heavy) and reminiscing about hiking trips of old.

Awenda

Elora Gorge

Travelling in style during my earliest hiking experiences

My first hiking experiences began at the age of 5 months, although I’m not sure those really count seeing as I rode along in a pack carried by my dad. Early hiking excursions included trips to Awenda Provincial Park here in Ontario, Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, and Mackinac Island in Michigan.

Hiking in Awenda - Kristin's 5 km trek (first hike)

My first ever (self-propelled) hike! Now my little brother is in the backpack.

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To Train or Not to Train

There are now less than 6 weeks left until I head out on my Pacific Crest Trail adventure. It’s a very exciting time, but it’s also around the time that I’m starting to stress about all of the little things I have to do before I leave. I did all of my major planning months ago, and I’ve been procrastinating on finishing up all of the little things (which have added up to quite a long to-do list!). But, one thing that I have been consistently doing in preparation for this hike is training.

Every thru-hiker has their own take on training, and strategies range from not training at all, to religiously hitting the gym. While the former may not be the smartest strategy, the latter may not be entirely necessary either. Relying on “on-the-job” training during a thru-hike might be feasible for many people, but the person whose training begins at the trailhead will likely be moving much more slowly and in a lot more pain than the person who spent months getting physically prepared. It is probably impossible to fully prepare your body for something as intense as a thru-hike. The only thing that can do that is, well, doing a thru-hike. A couple of months into the hike, someone who didn’t train may be in just as good of shape as someone who did, but there’s a good chance the person who trained saved themselves from a world of pain in the first few weeks.

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All loaded up for a training hike!

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