Taking on a great outdoor adventure like the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail means navigating a world of blog posts, YouTube channels, and gear lists that can make planning overwhelming. So when it is all too much? At what point does our preparation begin to infringe on the experiences we’ll have on the trail?
This season, I hiked from ‘C to Sound’: the Canadian Border in New Hampshire to the Connecticut Sound connecting thru-hikes on the Cohos and New England Trails. This was the gear I used.
Hiking with a dog is different. A thru hike is a unique, individual experience no matter the level of solidarity. Some choose to hike with a partner; some end up in a group. Others, bring along a dog that, while unable to express their needs through speech, will become an extension of you. So in sync that words become insignificant. A giddy, energetic, lovable presence that can change the energy on any given day.
There’s a lot that goes into preparing for a long distance hike: Resupply strategy, getting to the start, gear, and perhaps most importantly…how to prepare your body for the physical challenge of walking daily. This, without a doubt, can be one of the most fun steps in the whole experience. It doesn’t involve running or starving yourself. But rather, alternative means of transportation and bulking up dat ass.
Dawn’s first rays sparkle off my sleeping bag, offering tranquil warmth on a dampened camp. Aromic and dark vices give off steam from inside a foldable mug, while I peek at the ridges that lie in the day ahead. Sipping slowly to delay the chill that will inevitably come when I emerge from the sanctuary of goose down. Cup in hand, everything is all right.