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Thought I would do a quick post for those who are thinking about a possible thru-hike, and the web sites and books and podcasts that I have found useful and enjoyed whilst planning for mine.
One thing I will pass on that I have heard time and time again before I get going, don’t get too bogged down over planning your thru-hike! I don’t mean stop researching because it’s a great idea to soak up as much knowledge as you can about the trail before you get out there, of course it is. You probably won’t be able to stop yourself in the run up to your hike, I am watching YouTube videos, reading books and blogs, following people on twitter and instagram, checking out Facebook pages, listening to podcasts and finding new websites, every single day! One word for it, OBSESSED! It will be on your mind constantly!
But I have heard it is way too easy amongst all the obsessive knowledge hunt, to plan every single step you take on the trail. Once again I can not comment on how it actually is on the trail because I haven’t done mine yet, but the majority of what I have heard from actual thru-hikers is that planning every mile, every camp or shelter stop, every mail drop every town visit along your thru-hike will just end up disappointing you and restricting your experience of the Appalachian Trail.
Of course it will differ from hiker to hiker as some like to be more organised others like to go with the flow and as you start doing your research you will most definitely come across the famous trail saying ‘Hike your own hike’.
I definitely come under the category of ‘go with the flow’ I would like to see where the trail takes me, too Katahdin hopefully hahahaha. I have opted for Zero mail drops as I don’t wish to be tied down to going into town for a certain time and also being stuck with food that I will probably get bored with. So I will be free to head into town when and where I need too, not to pick up a bounce box or mail drop. Some people prefer bounce boxes and mail drops to guarantee resupply but I have been assured there are plenty of opportunities to resupply in towns.
Anyway I’m getting way off subject which is incredibly easy to do when talking about a thru-hike as there is so much out there, here are some of the pages, books and podcast and so on, that I have found useful along the way.
Whiteblaze is fresh thruhiker hopefuls first port of call. This is a fantastic site which has endless information about the trail in the form of forums which talk over pretty much everything from gear to risks your worried about to food and water and so on. Every hiker has this bookmarked.
Appalachian Trail Conservancy this is the official site for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, they manage and look after the trail and will tell you all about the actual trail.
AppalachianTrail.com another great site and community with a ton of information about the trail and thru-hiking.
Trail Journals real accounts of people’s experiences on the Appalachian Trail and other hiking and backpacking adventures.
These are the main sites I visit to read up on and stay current with everything Appalachian Trail based.
Awol on The Appalachian Trail and The A.T Guide David Miller describes his thruhike on the trail in Awol on the Appalachian Trail. This was the first book that I read from a thruhiker and its a great one to start with. Very descriptive and gets you thinking about what you need for your hike. David went on to work with The A.T Guide which has become THE guide to take on a thruhike I will be pre-ordering my copy today for 2013 as they publish an updated version every year for each Class of thruhikers.
Skywalkers books were my next port of call he has hiked the AT, PCT, The Long Trail and The Camino. He started out with very little experience of backpacking when he did the AT so it was a good read for me as I have very little experience.
The Good Badger and Appalachian Trials Great for reading up on the psychological side of completing a thruhike and lots of other useful information.
The Pox and Puss Podcast hilarious podcast about what actually happens on a thru-hike. You can get a great feel for what it will really be like to thruhike from this show. I love it! Well worth a listen.
and for a bit more comedy of course there is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods not a thruhike but a great book anyway.
So this is a start to the absolutely humongous amount of information on The Appalachian Trail not to mention all the great videos on YouTube and all the people you can follow on twitter and Facebook that are more than happy to answer any question you have about a thruhike. I will leave you now with my favourite video of a thruhike. I hope this great couple don’t mind me sharing it.
Thanks for reading