AT blogs seem to be divisible into two fundamental categories. The travelog and the essay.
The travelog blogs appear to try and chronicle in as much detail each day more or less as the hiker progresses. In 2013 there were several outstanding writers of this genre. My favorite was Linda (Karma) Daly’s blog at http://thumperwalk.com.
The essayists pick topics and explore them. A lot of the travelog detail makes it into these stories, just not in chronological order. Clever Girl was, in my view, handsdown best in this class at http://trailkit.blogspot.com
My blog is a collection of essays. Either my imagination is a failure, or I’m too boring to write a travelog. I’ve spent 36 days hiking the Appalachian Trail since 10:08 a.m. Sept. 24. That’s enough to know that most of the days are pretty much alike. The first time something happens, it’s special. After that it becomes pretty mundane. I can’t make writing about hiking in the rain interesting more than once – if that – unless it turns into an adventure of sorts.
I’m telling you this because I have some readers who may be expecting a travelog. For instance, someone wrote to me correcting my mileage to date. It’s 400.8. What I said in my last blog was that I was writing from Hot Springs, NC. Due to the essay format, I did not say I hiked there. In reality, I got a shuttle from Davenport Gap where I’d stayed at Standing Bear Farm, to Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn in Hot Springs. Hence the missing miles.
I needed the shuttle because my wife was scheduled to pick up me, along with two other hikers who needed to get to the D.C. area, in 36 hours. With sore tendons from having to hike long days to reach certain shelters in the Smokies, I was in no condition to hike 38 miles that quickly. Moreover I was a day behind schedule thanks to the storm that dictated my side trip to Gatlinburg. So, I got a ride and took a zero in a great hiker town to make up the difference.
When I return to the tail, I’ll spend another night at Sanding Bear and start hiking the next morning from Davenport Gap. No way I’m going to miss Max Patch! I’ll also get another night at Elmer’s when I reach Hot Springs. That’s a bonus.
The plan for the hiking through the winter is simple. Since I’m solo, I am acutely aware that I need to be careful of the weather. My wife and I will be paying acute attention to 10-day forecasts with the intention of being off the trail during storms. The accuracy of 10-day forecasting means I’ll be hiking on average from three to seven days out of every 10.
In addition, from this point on, I’ll be trucking my full winter kit complete with snowshoes, microspikes, mittens, balaclava, including down jacket, pants and booties to supplement my sleeping bag. Everything is in dry sacks. The down garments are double bagged.
My winter goal is to reach by the end of March, Waynesboro, VA where I started on Sept. 24. If this is a stormy winter, that may not happen. If not, I’ll dive into the first 2014 hiker bubble that comes along in the spring.
I did hear that there are two men and one woman, each hiking solo, ahead of me. I hope to meet them before the winter is out.
So, family, friends and random readers, that’s the plan. More to come on gizmos and gadgets, the 2:3 ratio, the cost of trips to town, and more.