In 2014, at just over 200 miles into our southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, injury ensued. And not in some badass way that I can turn into a riveting story either. The knot I tied for one end of my hammock was loose and the toggle slipped out. The result? I landed straight on my tailbone. Oops! Crippled over in immediate pain, I knew it was bad. I could not fathom the thought of dropping off trail — it was not an option to me. So we took 5 days off in Gorham, NH where I laid motionless for the first 2 days, slowly walked around the 3rd day, slowly walked around with an empty pack on the 4th day, and repeated with a half-full pack the 5th day. It didn’t help that we were just getting into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, arguably one of the toughest sections of the AT.
Planning to thru-hike an extended version of Roper’s Sierra High Route, I knew the dreaded bear canister had to join for the escapades. Shortly after becoming enamored with my Gossamer Gear “Kumo” backpack, the question popped into my head: Can I carry the Kumo with a bear canister? Research online proved little-to-no-help, so I set out to test not only the possibility but also the comfort of carrying a bear canister with my beloved pack. The results, a resounding success!
“Let’s see here. Allright, two dozen Reese Cups, gummy bears…”
Here it comes.
“Ramen…yep. Uh, jar of peanut butter, tortillas, M&M’s. Instant potatoes, um, two three, ok. Ten Snickers, bag of Fritos, and, oh yeah, donut holes.”
The heavily bearded, slightly emaciated hiker in front of me nararated as he packed his foodbag. Let’s call him Redbeard (a common moniker along the AT).
“And I could never do without these.” He held out a sleeve of off brand sandwich cookies; the kind you find on the snack tray in the fellowship hall before church a service. I looked at the Oreo knockoffs, nodded that I understood, and waited, expecting a punchline. He shrugged and dumped them into a ziplock and crammed them in his pack, next to a few tuna packets and instant oatmeal. His friend exclaimed from the trash can just outside the entrance of the grocery store.
“Dude somebody bought Triscuits!” He was gazing into the recepticle, full of hiker trash.
“Amateurs.” muttered Redbeard as he pulled the lid from a pint of Edys Moose Tracks. Continue reading
When your main form of travel is your feet and travel is your life-force, then the health of your feet becomes a top priority.
The old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” rings true if you replace “momma” with “your feet”. For this reason, I have tried with many trials and errors to find a way to move about in the world that will keep my feet–and therefore myself and those around me–quite happy. Continue reading
Sleep: One of the most natural of animal needs and recurrences, necessary for growth and revitalization. It’s as free and simple as lying horizontally, closing your eyes, and relaxing your muscles and mind away from stimuli and toward a shifted consciousness of dreamland. Ahhh…sleep.
However, if you’re not planning on sleeping in a house, hotel, RV Park, or designated campground (i.e., if you want to sleep for free), then sleep is, um, not always that simple. Sleep shouldn’t be ‘illegal’ and you shouldn’t have to always pay for it. It should be free and simple, so we intend to make it that way! Continue reading