My Appalachian Trail unsupported record attempt this summer lasted little over three weeks, during which I covered over a third of the trail. But while the trip itself passed by in a flash (not to me-every step felt like an eternity), the planning beforehand took months. I plotted out dozens of spreadsheets of gear and Appalachian Trail resupply and depended heavily on the Thru-hiker’s Companion and the Data Book, trying to hone in on exactly what I needed to accomplish my goal. It was exhausting work that no one should ever attempt to manage on top of the curriculum of a first year med student. Continue reading Appalachian Trail resupply: unsupported record attempt
This summer I attempted to break Matt Kirk‘s Appalachian Trail unsupported thru-hike record. Unfortunately I was unable to complete the hike due to a torn calf in Connecticut but I am wiser because of the trip and better prepared to attempt it again in the next few years. Below is my gear list for the trip, which I don’t think is too absurd to say is the lightest and smallest pack anyone has ever attempted a thru-hike with. At only 3.5 pounds for the base weight, I used a 10 liter running vest pack instead of the traditional massive backpacks most hikers use. And if I were to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Of course I sacrificed some comfort in camp but it enabled me to hike faster and further than I ever could with a heavier pack. I hope you enjoy checking out my gear choices. If you have any questions about why I chose something or how I liked it, feel free to comment below. And if you like this post and want to keep updated on others like it, please consider subscribing! Continue reading Gear list: Appalachian Trail thru-hike record attempt
Today I had to make the tough decision of whether to resupply in Monson or try to make it another 35 miles to Caratunk to pick up my mail drop where I originally planned to resupply. I was running low on food but Monson was a 2 mile walk into town which would add 4 miles to my day while Caratunk was only .9 miles off the trail. It may seem like a minor difference but adding 4 miles onto my day would be a pretty big impact this early on.
I was up early and decided I wouldn’t decide until I reassessed my food situation at the trail that led into Monson. Early in the morning I startled a young moose which bolted off on the trail ahead of me. Fortunately they’re usually the most skittish animals in the woods because otherwise they’d end up being quite the obstacle. Continue reading Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to, Day 4, 32.4 miles
It took two trains, two buses, two cars, and one plane to get me to Millinocket but I had made it. By tomorrow morning I would be beginning my Appalachian Trail unsupported record attempt. I had a wonderful stay at the AT Lodge for the night and ate a big breakfast the next morning. We were in the van, on the way to Baxter State Park, in the pouring rain. It would hopefully be my last ride in a vehicle for nearly two months. The unsupported record requires no assistance from vehicles. I must walk to all my resupplies.
The muddy roads jostled us four as we talked about our upcoming trips. Two other hikers, a couple from Tennessee, intended on section hiking down through New Hampshire, certainly the hardest but also the most stunning section of trail. Ole Man, the owner of the Lodge and former thru-hiker, told stories of others who had attempted the record who had stayed with him. He told me about a young guy whose record was ended from being assaulted in his sleep and knocked unconscious and having his boots stolen. Fantastic. As the roads worsened, my anxiety rose. Not because of the fear of assault, but because of concern over my preparation. I knew I was ready, ready as I’d ever be, having meticulously planned out every detail. But the trail is a hairy place and will throw unexpected challenges at even the most experienced of adventurers. Nothing was certain.
I was heading deep into the heart of rugged Maine with only 3.5 pounds of gear, and the weather was going to test it all right out the gate. Continue reading Rainbow Stream Lean-to, Day 1, 30.1 miles