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AngryMetalsmith's A.T. Thru Hike Thread

AngryMetalsmith

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Jun 4, 2006
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Yeah, you read that right.

As some of you may recall, back in October I mentioned something about not having Gout anymore and no longer needing to take the meds. It’s been a significant change in my life as I can eat a lot of foods that were off limits for the past ten years (like pizza, mmmm). Having to adhere to a very restricted diet, take meds, and abstain from all alcohol related culture, has made my life quite isolated. Not very good company if you don’t drink and can’t eat at most restaurants. So this means things in my life are changing.

However, I have been stuck in this hole for so long that I don’t have a clue how to get out of it or what to do next really. I started my career as a smith when I was probably a bit too young and am getting burned out. Haven’t had a proper vacation in more than a decade at least. Hell the longest I have been away from the studio is three days and that was a few years ago. My anger and depression have been getting worse with each passing year. I desperately need a break.

Last year I started hiking a lot more because I was sick of closed mtb trails do to rain and needed to be in the woods. Often finding myself getting caught in thunderstorms on a mountain side. While not quite the same as riding, hiking does keep the depression at bay.

My hiking buddy had been planning to thru hike the Appalachian Trail and I was familiar with it via my father who’d hiked it in sections in the late 80s and early 90s. I never thought about doing it myself as I can remember how impossibly heavy my Dad’s gear had been and didn’t’t think my back could handle it. Also having a restricted diet was another huge deterrent. But after listening to my friend talk about all the light weight new gear and the challenge of a thru hike, I started looking into a bit on Youtube.

After watching a couple documentaries in November it just clicked. I remembered the life changing experience I had in ’95 when I went to Penland School on scholarship with all it’s intense, concentrated experience. Being fully immersed in that environment was something that I will never forget. And now I need another positive, life changing experience.

Since deciding to thru hike the A.T. back in November I have a growing sense of urgency that I don’t think I have ever felt before. I have been obsessed with this and locked on like a pitbull. Every waking moment has been in preparation for this massive undertaking.

The latest I can leave would be around the second week in May. It takes anywhere from 4-7 months to complete. My Dad and my buddy think I can complete it in 5 months. Baxter State Park in Maine, the Northern terminus at Katahdin, usually closes around October 15.

I had planned on funding this with a good Christmas season. Unfortunately my Mom fell and broke her arm in mid December. And I have been tied up with her until just a couple weeks ago. Not being able to work much threw a big wrench in my plans, slowing me down a bit. I have been buying and testing gear. Should have the bulk of it in the next week or so. The on trail expenses are what I don’t have yet. It’s a long shot, but a good wedding season could do it for me.

Regardless, I am going to keep pushing forward with training and gear testing. If I miss my window to leave, then I’ll have to come up with plan B to get out of town for a while. Just want to share this with you assholes cuz yer my virtual peeps.



tldnr; The reason I want to thru hike the A.T. is to get away from this place long enough to gain some perspective on how to climb out of the hole I’ve been stuck in for far too long.
 

SkaredShtles

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I considered it back in the early 90's... but decided it wasn't really something that really spoke to me. I *did* thru-hike the Colorado Trail in '94, which was an incredible way to sped the summer.

I wish you the best on your journey - may the Trail Magic be good to you.
 

AngryMetalsmith

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I considered it back in the early 90's... but decided it wasn't really something that really spoke to me. I *did* thru-hike the Colorado Trail in '94, which was an incredible way to sped the summer.

I wish you the best on your journey - may the Trail Magic be good to you.
Thanks

That's supposed to be a good trail for bike packing as well.
 

SkaredShtles

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Sep 21, 2003
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Thanks

That's supposed to be a good trail for bike packing as well.
I wouldn't recommend it for bike-packing, TBH. It would be STELLAR to do as a supported thru-bike... but the elevation and the pitches of most of the climbs would mean you were pushing an overloaded bike up for hours at a time, and then riding an overloaded bike down gnarly shit that would be way more fun to shred.

Of course, bike-packers are a bunch of masochistic fuckers, so I wouldn't try to talk them out of it. :D
 

Adventurous

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Mar 19, 2014
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Good luck! It’s on my list of things to do in life, we shall see if it ever comes to fruition.

I would recommend this book (and movie), I laughed my way through both. Highly entertaining read.

upload_2019-4-3_14-33-18.jpeg
 

SkaredShtles

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Good luck! It’s on my list of things to do in life, we shall see if it ever comes to fruition.
Try the CT - way more manageable timeframe-wise... at least it was for me. And arguably way more spectacular.

I would recommend this book (and movie), I laughed my way through both. Highly entertaining read.

View attachment 133642
Second - that's some funny shit.

ETA: had no idea it was a movie - just watched the trailer. Ima watch it JUST because Offerman is in it. That guy is fucking HILARIOUS. :rofl:
 

6thElement

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Jul 29, 2008
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I've done chunks up and down the east coast and seriously considered doing the whole thing 10ish years ago. It's fun start down in GA once you've got your lift up to the trailhead from town.

I'm sure you'll have a blast.

Many of Bill Bryson books are a good read.
 

jonKranked

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I would recommend starting in April based on your planned duration. I've been to BSP. That far north starts getting cold than you think a lot sooner than you think.
 

jonKranked

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More info re: BSP. It's the camping that closes in October. The park itself is open year round. Weather wise, it can snow any month of the year. My wife and I were there in early September and we needed our 20° sleeping bags. It was legit cold at night.
 

AngryMetalsmith

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Jun 4, 2006
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Thanks y'all. I was waffling about posting this because at this point it's such a long shot that I will actually be able to start this year. And didn't want to make some big announcement only to not follow through with it. But after mentioning it to some local people I realized I may never pull it off if I don't start talking about it. So this is what I have been consumed with for the past four months.
 

jonKranked

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Also, when you're passing through southeast Pa we should meet up. I could probably come hike a day or 2 with you, or at the very least arrange a resupply.
 

jonKranked

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Thanks y'all. I was waffling about posting this because at this point it's such a long shot that I will actually be able to start this year. And didn't want to make some big announcement only to not follow through with it. But after mentioning it to some local people I realized I may never pull it off if I don't start talking about it. So this is what I have been consumed with for the past four months.
If my kids weren't so young I'd take a leave of absence from work and join you. An AT thru hike is a bucket list item for me.
 

SkaredShtles

I love NEWCASTLE and will ONLY drink NEWCASTLE!!!!
Sep 21, 2003
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Thanks y'all. I was waffling about posting this because at this point it's such a long shot that I will actually be able to start this year. And didn't want to make some big announcement only to not follow through with it. But after mentioning it to some local people I realized I may never pull it off if I don't start talking about it. So this is what I have been consumed with for the past four months.
Yeah - try your damnedest to make it happen. There's something strangely therapeutic about waking up, packing your shit, eating, walking, looking at amazing shit, eating, resting, walking some more, pitching camp, eating, and going to sleep. And then repeating the procedure for weeks. Good times...

 

wyatt79m

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Dec 30, 2007
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I recently moved to Houlton, ME. I could probably help you out with a ride or whatever when you finish.
 

jdcamb

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Feb 17, 2002
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Also, I don't think there's a whole heck of a lot in the way of lodging in Milllinocket.
The Black Flys are unrelenting. The Swamp before Baxter is a mind fuck. You're pretty much sleeping on the ground as the mice will keep you up in the leantos. A wet sleeping bag is always better then no sleeping bag.
 

jonKranked

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The Black Flys are unrelenting. The Swamp before Baxter is a mind fuck. You're pretty much sleeping on the ground as the mice will keep you up in the leantos. A wet sleeping bag is always better then no sleeping bag.
Black fly season is usually over by mid July (usually) but the worst of it is in May-June.
 

AngryMetalsmith

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Hiked the Profile trail at Grandfather Mountain two Sundays ago. Had been wanting to do it for a couple years.

There was still snow and ice in places, and of course more, the higher you went.

shanty-spring.jpg


On the way up:

the-way-up.jpg


The view at the top:

the-view.jpg


Icy goat path back down:

icy-goat-path.jpg



And for reference, this is located on the front side of the mountain that @jstuhlman hits on FuckiFridays.

Schteeep...
 

jstuhlman

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Dec 3, 2009
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mmmmm . . . . grandfather. might need to do a beacon/yancey run for two-wheel-thursday tomorrow! :D

total noob question - is there a reason not to start in maine and work your way south? that would seem to give you a much bigger time window to work with, as you'd be going into the warmth in the fall . . .

also, @wyatt79m - jeebus, man, that's up there. i knew a bunch of presque isle peeps in college. my fam lives downeast.
 

AngryMetalsmith

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mmmmm . . . . grandfather. might need to do a beacon/yancey run for two-wheel-thursday tomorrow! :D

total noob question - is there a reason not to start in maine and work your way south? that would seem to give you a much bigger time window to work with, as you'd be going into the warmth in the fall . . .

also, @wyatt79m - jeebus, man, that's up there. i knew a bunch of presque isle peeps in college. my fam lives downeast.
There are several logistical reasons for not wanting to do it south bound, but mostly it would be a rather anti-climactic finish at Springer Mountain in GA. Kind of like finishing at Warrior Creek when you could summit Mt. Mitchell.