Okay, so you are going to have a great adventure either this coming year or in the near future (which is always sooner than you think!). How can you get ready, gear wise, health wise, mentally?
We've got several great ways to get ready for your backpacking trip so it will be an adventure of a lifetime!
1. This blog. You are at a great resource for many hiking topics. Look up the topics on the right or do a search to pinpoint topics you are interested in. Gear reviews also are available as well as guest blogs. Enjoy exploring, like this blog that starts a series on northbound vs southbound Appalachian Trail thru hiking.
2. Attend a Hiking Event. A Calendar of some good events are coming up. It's great to get together with hikers learn and share your passion for backpacking.
Read. Yes, there are lots of published books by hikers, especially on the Appalachian Trail. And some great ones, too. I want to highlight this one - Mountains, Madness, Miracles - 4000 Miles Along the Appalachian Trail, the ONLY account that covers the Appalachian Trail north and south in one book. It's not a publication of a day by day trail journal. It also delivers advice from a teen hiker as well as from a mom and a solo hiker. There's even questions at the end, perfect for a reading club or for personal reflection. Endorsed by Jennifer Pharr Davis - the world record holder for hiking the trail, the late Bill Irwin - the first blind hiker to complete the trail, and Paul Stutzman - author of Hiking Through.
Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
What a few reviewers have left on Amazon in recent months:
"I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in hiking the trail and wants a woman's perspective. I plan on hiking a lot more of it this year and found her book to be inspiring. It is very well-written and an easy, enjoyable read."
"If you ever wondered if you could do a through hike on the Appalachian trail, Lauralee's book will give you the feeling and information to make that decision!"
"I so enjoyed the journey with Lauralee. A truthful and enlightening tail of what it really is to hike daily thru nature, hardships and miracles. Do yourself a favor and take the journey...."
4. Join some social network forums and trail groups. Facebook (like the group we founded - Appalachian Trail Section Hikers) and White Blaze are popular for Appalachian Trail enthusiasts. And become involved in a trail advocacy group like the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and many others like:
Continental Divide Trail
The Long Trail
The Long Path
The Finger Lakes Trail
Great Eastern Trail
North Country Trail
Mountains to Sea Trail
Benton MacKaye Trail
John Muir Trail
Natchez Trace Trail
Ice Age Trail