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Lasque Tiarc

The frequently asked questions from non-hikers

Vaseline 2 months ago

I will briefly answer the common questions I am usually asked.

Are you going alone?

This is the first question of every woman. Yes, I’ll start alone. I may walk alone a lot. But every evening there will be people at the shelter/campsite. Everyone will hike at different paces and styles, but at the end of the day, many of us will meet again at the next shelter/campsite. Together we will slowly build a walking family that travels like a kind of gypsy pack. Some we will choose to walk with, others we will only meet at the end of the day. Some take a day off today, others tomorrow, but we continue to connect. These friendships will continue; it really is a close-knit community. We are not alone.

Those who start in Georgia at its peak in April can expect about 50 people each day. When I do that, only about six to twelve people leave from Harper’s Ferry each day.

Seems AT to me

How long is it?

The route this year is 2,197.4 miles (it changes a bit when the route is changed), so let’s say 2,200 miles. My goal is to average about 15 miles per day. That’s 105 kilometers per week. But let’s say 100. That’s 22 weeks or (at about 4.34 weeks per month) almost exactly 5 months.

What is your husband doing?

Mom is not as crazy as dad and prefers certain amenities that you don’t find along the way. So she has a summer planned lazing around visiting friends and family she normally doesn’t see. Win/win.

How do you stay in touch?

Unlike the PCT or CDT, mobile phone coverage is very good. I may be out of contact when I go around a mountain, or I may be in an area without coverage overnight where I am camping. But usually not a problem. The path runs straight through the megalopolis on the east coast.

Have you practiced to prepare?

Yes. I built up from 3 miles on a flat paved trail with a 25 pound pack to 15 miles and significant elevation. It was in Arizona, where it is dry, but I grew up in New England and am used to the wonderful humidity.

As with the AT, you can see the trail for miles

How do you charge your phone, etc?

I will bring a power bank that is about the size and weight of the phone. I can charge the power bank and everything periodically in the city.

Where do you sleep?

There are shelters that average about 8 miles apart, but these can range from 5 to 15 miles apart, or even as much as 20 miles apart if there is a town with some sort of accommodation in between. There are also designated campsites. Many cities have hostels and hotels. Finally, it is (almost) always possible to drive off and set up on the side of the course. The choice of where I stop depends on the weather, food, water, how tired I feel, etc. Shelters are nice when it rains, but are filled with snorers and visits from the local mouse and raccoon clans.

Where do you get water?

Where did the Indians get their water? There are springs and lakes every few kilometers. I filter the water and fill my water bottles. I have spare water purification tablets in case my filter breaks.

Where do you get food?

I start with freeze-dried meals for about a week. I can send such food parcels by post and collect them from any post office; But I am not. You can easily get supplies in the many towns along the way. Even gas stations have realized the tractor market.

Where do you answer the call of nature?

Are bears concerned about this? All shelters/campsites have outbuildings. However, I don’t always sit next to an initiate when nature comes knocking (sometimes urgently). So, like everyone else, I also carry a trowel so I can dig a hole far away from the path and then cover it. Leave no trace! (The PCT and CDT are much more challenging with areas where the hiker is required to pack due to environmental concerns).

Before trying a new venture, it is best to consult the professionals.

What about those bears?

The AT has brown/black bears, but no grizzly bears. They don’t want to see me (unless I’m sloppy with my food). Hikers pass on news about bear locations. We do our best to avoid the bears and let them know we are coming. In short, bears are only interested in FOOD. No food, no problem. Unlike the many Darwin videos online, I won’t be trying to take a selfie with a mother bear or her cubs…

How do you hide your food from the bears?

Many shelters/campsites have bear-proof storage. In addition, all my food is stored in special odor-proof bags. Most hikers put on a “bear bag,” a bag with their food in it, throw a rope over a tree branch and pull the bag out of reach.

However, I will also use a special kind of “bear canister” called an Ursack, made of Kevlar. In either case, the real trick is not to eat near where you sleep (a few miles away before heading to camp is my general plan), and not to be messy with food. I will not have any food in the tent/shelter. I also don’t have anything that smells like it could be food (e.g. toothpaste).

What are your concerns then?

Usually none. However, I take special precautions against ticks by spraying my clothing with Permethrin. I can also use the insect repellent Picaridin. Every time I stop I will do a thorough tick check.

Did I miss something?

Let me know.

Last message before start

This is my last post before I start, so I’ve reset the stats.

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