What an epic trip. The goal was to hike the AT/BMT north loop in four days. Unfortunately I had one slow day and had to leave the trail early to get back to studying. But I managed 138 miles in 3 days, 6 hours and can’t be disappointed with what I learned and accomplished. 42 miles on the first day, 32, 44, then 20 out to the road on Wednesday. I wanted to travel further, faster, and more efficiently than I ever have and I think I accomplished that. Going into the woods with only 7.8 pounds (3.5lb base weight), I managed to sleep decently comfortably through the three nights I was out there despite low temps in the high twenties. I learned a lot about my gear and my body, notably that on the second day when I was moving slow, there was absolutely nothing I could do to press my stubborn legs to move faster. And then on Tuesday I learned about my body’s resilience and easily cruised to a 44 mile day. The next morning I woke up again feeling fresh but unfortunately, with a looming immunology exam this upcoming week, had to abandon my adventure and return to the stressed studying I so desperately had needed a break from. Continue reading Appalachian Trail self-supported thru-hike
I’ve posted several theoretical gear lists over the past few weeks and just wanted to post an update of an actual gear list that I’ll be using on a trip down in the Smokies this upcoming week. I just got done with a string of five exams in the last two weeks and with my first med school spring break having just begun, I am stoked to be getting out in the woods for a short fastpacking trip. I’ve laid everything out and with low temps in the low 40s, think I can get away with a base weight of just below 3.5 pounds, FSO (from skin out) base of 5.74 pounds. The trip is the 170 mile North loop of the Benton MacKaye Trail/Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park starting from Twentymile Ranger Station near Fontana Dam, heading north on the BMT, resupplying at Davenport Gap, then back south on the AT. The theoretical total was 8.7 lbs. but it ended up coming out to 7.8 with 2 days with food and 1L water.
My name is Grayson. I like my name. Do I go by Grayson? Of course. I have always gone by Grayson and have never had a nickname.
But on my hike I need a new name. I need what thru-hikers call a “trail name”. I have never thought of myself having a different name. The only other name I respond to is Andrew or Andy when someone mistakes me for my brother. I have also been known to reply to any of my family members’ and sometimes dogs’ names when my mom is too angry to think straight. But another name solely to define me?
I am stumped. I like the name my mama gave me. Not many people have a name that starts with “G”. I like that letter. It’s humbly placed a few letters in the alphabet so as not to seem cocky, but it is close enough to the front to display confidence. Additionally, the name grace is just absolutely beautiful…and my name contains that sound. However, contrary to popular belief, I am not the son of Gray, it is just a name.
There is a book called Grayson. It is about the son of a gray whale. I own it (of course) and its my favorite book (of course) and should be yours too.
Upon further inspection, my name does have a low side. Take the first four letters, g-r-a-y. Most people have heard that word before. Some of its synonyms are old, hoary, aged, ancient, dreary, and to top of the optimism, depressing. Huh, well the color isn’t to shiny either.
Grayson is not a stern name like Fred, John, or Chad. It has a sensitive side to it. I like that. So if you would like to suggest a trail name, feel free to leave a comment on this post.