Lessons learned from my first 2 days

Favorite hiking item: Purple Rain granite kilt. When I woke up in the morning, my prAna Zion shorts were just as soaked as when I took them off the previous night. I hiked to Ramrock Mountain from Hawk Mountain in the kilt and it was glorious! Everytime I took off my pack, which were more breaks than I should have needed, the waistband had to be un-bunched from activities where I had bent over, but that was tax I’ll gladly continue to pay.

Best money spent: Trekking poles. I stumbled going downhill on rocky steps so many times and these things saved some priceless, unknown amount of damage to my hands, wrists, and face from NOT falling face-first downhill.

I spent a little extra money to get a pair Altra Olympus 3.0. That was well worth the money, too. My feet are not bruised! The Darn Tough socks with Dirty Girl gaiters worked well, too.

Lessons learned from my first two days on the AT:

  • The extra few ounces do matter. The poop shovel was silly. The privys were frequent enough, and while not pleasant, were good enough to leave a fancy $25 aluminum scoop at home.
  • I should find a different way to haul baby wipes other than taking the whole 14 oz container
  • Don’t leave the freaking Advil at home!
  • I need more IT band education on pain prevention, at least I think it is my IT band that hurts. I have a lop-sided body frame, which I read may contribute to IT band issues on only one knee.
  • Hiking with other people makes pacing problems, but just having the other person is nice.
  • I need to try more merino wool. Anywhere that had contact points with my backpack broke out in acne with my polyester shirt and underwear. My darn tough socks were fine. Maybe I adopt that in my general daily wear, too.
  • Next time I buy polyester, if I do, I’ll pay more attention to the options for smell prevention additives.
  • Leave the bottle of New Skin at home. Blood clots on its own.
  • I shouldn’t try to carry 10lb of water. I’m going to have to deal with my filtering avoidance more realistically.
  • I never really found a comfortable position in the Eno Singlenest, but I did sleep, and I didn’t miss the tent. It would be nice if I could try an asym hammock and underquilt without having to buy them first.
  • Bring a pencil for writing at night. The pen gave me problems at the start and I didn’t have a backup.
  • Research “ants” and “Garcia bear canister”
  • Since ounces do seem to matter, maybe I get a smaller USB battery than the 16500 mah one I brought. With battery saver and airplane mode, my phone didn’t fall below 60%.
  • 2 fl oz of hand sanitizer is still a bit much. I was generous with it and didn’t even use 14 of it.
  • I was worried I packed too much food, but I didn’t.
  • Getting into camp 20 minutes before sundown was stupid. I should have a campsite picked out at least an hour before sundown, if not an hour and a half.

This morning I filled an entire kitchen tall trash bag full of cotton shirts and put it in a different closet to use as rags or to give away.

I guess you have to stop and visit with strangers to get a trail name (surprise!), so this journal will continue to omit that bit of information until that happens.

See also