Section hikes are less training, and more learning and practice at this point. With eight months until I embark on my 2,189 mile hike from Georgia to Maine, I completed a 75 mile section hike from Wolfsville Rd in Maryland, to Rt. 11 in Carlisle, PA.
With each hike I learn a little more to build my confidence for my 2016 thru-hike.
Here’s 5 things I learned on this one:
1. 55 degrees is cold in an ENO Hammock
I had the uncomfortable situation of my top half being too warm, and bottom half being too cold. My Kelty Cosmic Down 40 sleeping bag was more than warm enough over top, but the part of my body pressing the bag against the hammock, thus losing insulating value, was pretty cold. So this week I’ll creating a lightweight under quilt using a military poncho liner that is available online, or at any surplus store.
2. The right portion size for meals
A quart size Ziploc bag of dehydrated food is a bit much for one meal. I paid more attention to the amount I used for each meal, helping me plan better to keep my food bag at a reasonable weight.
3. It’s cool to have a designated “coffee guy”
I normally hike solo, I will do on my thru-hike. But this hike was with three friends, Silver Fox, Maverick, and No-Doz. Every morning I woken by the sound of Silver Fox starting his JetBoil to make the group coffee. So nice !!!
4. There are some cool shelter areas in Southern PA
The PATC does a great job at building and maintaining some very cool shelter areas in the southern region of PA. Quarry Gap Shelter even has a dedicated “Innkeeper.” Several of the shelters had two sleeping areas, marked “snoring,” and “non-snoring,” with a pavilion in the middle. Awesome!
5. I am more excited and confident about my thru-hike!
After days of 18, 13, 13, 15, 8 and 8 miles, I was ready to keep going to Mt. Katahdin. I don’t have a plan of where I want to be at certain dates during my hike, but a rough schedule of 10 miles a day for the first month, then 15 a day the rest of the way, accounting for zeroes and neroes. I feel like I could start tomorrow !!!
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