Not the whole thing, mind you. That takes a long damn time and from what I’ve read, somewhat of a masochistic tendency on the part of the one doing the hiking.
And no, I don’t mean the kind of “appalachian trail hiking” done by our former governor, Mark Sanford. He was “liking the Argentinean Tail” – if he hadn’t been using a Verizon cell phone, that mistake never would have made the news.
98% or so of my hiking has involved a single night in the woods. I put my toe in the deep end last year, and stayed out for TWO nights (yes, two!).
The thing with backpacking is most of the work is the same, whether you go out for one night or five. The only real difference is the amount of food you carry. Not a big deal except when you get HOME, there is always the post hike cleanup. Even worse if you got rained on. Everything is wet and sweaty and dirty, and all you did was spend a night in the woods. Plus, there’s all the driving. Hiking is more fun when you can spend at least ONE day just walking. No getting to the trail head, or getting TO the car and driving home. Just get up, walk walk walk, rest when needed, and finally find a place to sleep. Its much more peaceful that way.
So, last year, after hiking strictly one-nighters for two years, I took a three day, two-night trip on the Foothills Trail in South Carolina. The FHT is like an “appalachian trail lite”, or so I’m told. Ups and downs, rivers, waterfalls, ridge lines, etc., but only 77 miles long. If you can do the whole thing that’s about what you might do between resupply stops along the AT, so it makes for good practice.
My hiking friends this year were saying, “Hey you know what would be fun? Lets do that foothills trail thing again this year”. So, we have a couple of three-day trips planned out. Hopefully the walks will let me know how I’m doing, hike-wise and fitness-wise. This will lead up to the fall, when we have some three night sections of the AT to do. THREE nights. That’s (1) Drive, walk walk, sleep (2) walk walk walk walk, sleep (3) walk walk walk walk, sleep (4) walk walk, Drive.
I’m a little apprehensive at this point, but we have all summer to get in shape and stuff before heading out on the grand adventure. I don’t really like summer hiking, so I will have to find another form of exercise to get in shape and stay there. I don’t like bugs and sun and heat and sunburn and sweating to death miserably, in general. When people talk about 3-season hiking, my mind goes to “fall, winter, spring”, NOT “spring, summer, fall”.
As crappy as Facebook is, with all the people whining and fighting about every little thing all the time (it really is like high school), I’ve gotten the chance to talk with a lot of hikers, even some published authors of hiking stories, and it makes me happy to talk about our mutual interests and share experiences.