Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Day in the LIfe of an AT Thru-Hiker


There are literally hundreds of videos on YouTube about the Appalachian Trail.  Most are very good, some are funny, others are serious, for the most part they are real, (shot with poor to average equipment and edited uniquely) but at times I find one here or there that really says it nicely.  This is one of those...



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where dreams and realities meet...

Dreamer here-

As Terri & I approach the 90 day mark, the realities of a six month backpacking journey from Georgia to Maine are slowly coming into focus through the years of dreaming about this adventure.  It seems as though, most every day now, the fine pricks of reality are becoming more and more apparent to me.  Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to our close friends Mike & Lynn who will be leaving for their winter home in Arizona.  Because we will be leaving for Springer Mt. before their return, we will not see them again until we complete our thru hike in late August or early September.

Obviously, this fine prick of reality is not enough to explode the balloon of our dreams; however, it is another reminder of the cost in order to see our dreams come true.  We will miss Mike & Lynn.  They are some of our closest and dearest friends.  Our many dinners and date nights together, combined with week ends at their cottage during the sweet summer months here in Michigan will be sincerely missed.  Terri & I are hopeful that your dreams and our dreams will meet up again soon!  Until then, we are encouraged knowing that our times together in the future will be that much more meaningful, because our lives together will be that much richer because of our experiences.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Finally, my 1st Clothing/Gear video is finished!

Dreamer here –

Yes!!  I was finally able to upload the first of five videos on my clothing and gear I have produced.  Can anyone relate to “Learning Curve” here?  For an old guy with limited geek skills, the learning curve has been mighty steep.  It simply seems like every small piece along the way has to be learned, tried and then retried.  The old saying around our home is, “If it isn’t one thing, it is another.”

To see the video, click here:

Like I said above, this is the first of five videos I will be producing.
1.     AT 2013 Clothing/Gear I will be wearing.  (Not what is in the backpack)
2.     AT 2013 Clothing I will be carrying in my pack.  (Mainly my safe clothing)
3.     AT 2013 Gear I will be carrying in my pack.
4.     AT 2013 Terri’s Clothing/Gear (Not mentioned above.)
5.     AT 2013 Charlie’s Clothing/Gear he will be using.

Obviously, a mere amateur here!  I would love to hear your comments and suggestions on the video.  My goal is to learn, so that my video & editing skills will increase in order that one day I will be able to create a nice DVD of our 2013 AT thru hike attempt.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clothing/Gear I will be wearing at the beginning.

Dreamer here –

To say that we are getting excited would be a serious understatement!  96 days and counting!!  It is beginning to get real serious.  Terri, Charlie & I are just over three months away from the adventure of a lifetime for us!  A journey of journeys!!  We have been very busy with the typical day to day real life kinds of stuff that keep all of us busy; however, on top of that, we have been making lists, shopping, building more lists, working on spreadsheets, hiking almost everyday, building our food cash, and on & on…

The list of gear (below) was intended to be used with a video that I created.  But, it is just one more learning curve for me.   I am discovering there is a lot to learn about cameras, memory sticks, software, YouTube, etc.  A LOT!  It seems like every time I do something, I learn something.  For every three steps forward, I move two steps back; at least that is how it feels at times.  Here is my latest lesson, after working very hard to: create a list of gear I will be wearing, (everything not actually in my pack) assembling it all nicely on a table, setting up the camera and filming myself going over every item, loading it all into “Final Cut X”, watching tutorials, and creating a very amateurish video, I was ready to upload it to YouTube.  It is then I discovered that You Tube has a 15-minute limit on videos with out prior authorization.  Rats…  So, now I am waiting for authorization to come…  In the mean time, here is the blog post.  Which has been and continues to be a learning curve all by itself!

Nice picture!  Not blurry at all...  You get the idea!
I thought I would do four videos on our gear:  The clothing I will be wearing, all other clothing I will be carrying, all remaining gear and a final one on Charlie’s clothing and gear.  So, hopefully, when I get it all figured out, you will see them in the near future.  Until then, here is a list of clothing/gear that I will be wearing when we begin our thru-hike attempt of the AT on March 1st, 2013.

Tilley (Hat)
Gossamer Gear Hiking Sticks
Small (Swiss Army) Knife
Special Forces Compass
Salomon XA3D Ultra 2 Shoes
Orthotics (insoles in my shoes)
Gators (high cut) Mountain Laurel Designs

Windbreaker with Hood              (Houdini) Patagonia
Icebreaker Socks (Crew weight)
85% Merino Wool
Royal Robbins (zip-off) Pants
Icebreaker Short Sleeve Shirt
100% Merino Wool

Icebreaker Long Sleeve Shirt
100% Merino Wool
Underwear (Reebok)
Watch (Suunto) Observer
Carmex or Burts Bees
External Battery for Iphone
Video Camera Case
Sony HDR-CX580 Video Camera
Battery for Video Camera NP-FV50
Sandisk 32GB Extreme Pro SDHC-1
Total Worn
7.54 pounds

Two other potential layers depending upon weather

3-Layer Jacket with Hood (Mountain Hardware – Quasar)
Synthetic Vest (Arc’Teryx)

Friday, November 23, 2012

98 days to wait and getting excited!!

Dreamer here –

Today is Friday, November 23rd, 2012 and we are 98 days from beginning our journey on the Appalachian Trail.  It is getting more and more real with each day that passes!  And what I mean by real is scary exciting!!  Terri, Charlie and I will begin our adventure with the hopes of making it all the way from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine, which is almost 2,200 miles. 

The goal is to make it there together on or before my 60th birthday, September 14th, 2013.  This will allow us 198 days (28 weeks & 2 days, in other words, we need to average at least 11 miles per day.) to complete our thru-hike of the A.T.  In reality, we need to average better than 15 miles a day, because we will be taking planned "zero days" (hiking no miles) for rest and to return to Michigan a couple times to see our new grand daughter.  (Due 1/14/13)

Here is a look at my best guess on how this will work out:
184 = Total time away.  (I think we will finish by the 1st of September.)
-10 = Zero days visiting Michigan x2.
-26 = A zero day each week
148  = Total hiking days available
60 = Number of days averaging 12 mile days.  (720 miles)
(During the 1st month ‘we will getting in shape’ & the last month ‘because it is tough going up in New Hampshire and Maine.)
88 = Hiking days averaging 16 miles per day.  (1408 miles)
1408 + 720 = 2128 miles (Gets us close)

Well, there you have it!  My best guess at what it will take to complete our journey!  Obviously, there are many, many variables here:  I am assuming normal wear and tear on our old bodies, there will be many days we will exceed these averages because of perfect weather and nice terrain, we may not take a zero day every week – we may do a few near-O’s (This is where we will find ourselves near a town where we will spend the night, but not take a whole day off.)  Only time will tell how far off I may be…

God Bless!

98 DAYS!!!

~ Dreamer