I think I have finally found a pair of boots! Merrell Moab Ventilator Mids. This is very exciting because I was getting a bit nervous that I had tried on all the boots in the world without finding a pair. They are not waterproof, so I am going to have to hike a bunch in January & February to make sure my feet will stay warm in the cold temps. (I think they’ll be fine).
I’m wearing blue superfeet insoles for now. Still trying to get them broken in.
I need to start walking more.
I certainly learned a lot about how awful blisters are, and how important footwear is to a successful thru hike. I had a pair of waterproof lightweight hiking boots that I *thought* I really liked, but it turns out my feet sweat too much to be comfortable in waterproof boots. (What keeps water out also keeps water in). I also wore a pair of SuperFeet insoles that may have contributed to my blisters. I also forgot my liner socks (it’s the trifecta of blisters).
Since the trip I’ve tried on 10+ different pairs of shoes and boots, trying to find TheOnes. I think I have finally settled on the Moab Ventilator Mids – they are very comfortable. I need to make sure to hike plenty in January & February, so if I need less ventilation during winter, I have time to break in some waterproof boots.
- When I *first* feel a hotspot, I need to take care of it immediately instead of waiting until I get to camp.
- If I can get out of camp just after sunrise, I can cover more mileage.
- I don’t need a trowel or a full sized moleskine notebook.
Time will tell whether L. and I end up being compatible speed-wise. I fear that she will get frustrated with my slower pace. I hope I can get into shape quickly so her frustration is minimized. Even with awful blisters my average speed was 2mph – not too shabby for starting off.
I was surprised at the amount of cell coverage I had. I thought about getting a personal locator beacon or a SPOT device, but think I will hold off for now. If I end up doing the trail by myself I’ll get one.
I learned that I am ready to do this, and I am capable of doing it. I want to hike the AT so badly I am willing to do it alone, if I need to.
Low is 27 degrees (above zero).
- I need to wipe off the bottom of my canister before putting it into my pot. Otherwise I get a bunch of dirt in my pot. Or cut a piece of tyvek to be my porch. Or maybe both.
- I can lean my pack against a hiking pole. Kind of.
- I can fit my backpack (the gregory z65) in my tent. Hurray!
- The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti my brother & sister-in-law got me for my birthday is the bomb! Especially now that I have the pre-filter that fits a wide-mouth nalgene; I can submerge the nalgene in water and then treat the non-silty water with the UV lamp. Super easy.
- I need to brush my teeth immediately after eating, *before* getting in my bag. Otherwise I want to just go to sleep/stay warm!
- I don’t need my puffy vest.
- I probably don’t need half the shit I have in my first aid kit.
- I definitely need to get a handle on my food – I’m packing way too much food and it is weighing my pack down.
- Also I need to trust the water supply – will be easier with a guidebook on the AT to know where reliable water is at. But water is also super heavy – at 2.2 lbs per liter – so if I can carry only what water I need it will make a big difference in pack weight.
- Putting a hot water bottle in my bag before sleeping is the key to success. (And I managed to stay cozy warm the entire night).
- Sleeping in smartwool compression socks is the way to go.
- My camelbak won’t freeze if i wrap it in my jacket and put it between my bag & my sleeping pad. I blew out the water in the hose back into the reservoir, too. (Not sure it was really cold enough to freeze, anyway, but it sure didn’t with my precautions!).
- I get claustrophobic in my bag if I cinch the mummy hood up. (Like, waking up in a suffocating panic). I was a little panicky going to sleep – it was cold, and I had trouble breathing earlier because of the cold – and I had a “what am I doing, I should be at home in bed with E. while I have the chance!” moment. But I tied a bandana over my mouth which helped me breathe warm air. I still woke up panicky – figured out it was the mummy hood – so once I un-cinched the hood I was ok – and still warm. And the bandana ended up above my head, so I didn’t really need that, either.
- My super thick sleeping pad (the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad) is AMAZING. Best sleep I have *ever* had while camping. Serious.
- Right now – when it’s cold – I want to have a cup of tea and hot oatmeal before getting up. But maybe that will change when it gets to be “less cold”. Even with a very leisurely waking process/breakfast/camp breakdown, we were on the trail by 8.