Well, it’s a new year and 2 months till I hit the trail. I’m feeling anxious and excited to get started! I’ve been pouring over the internet resources reading gear reviews, trail logs, watching Appalachain Trail videos on YouTube, scanning trip planners and buying extra gear I’ll need. The unanimous theme behind all the research is to just plan for one section of the trail at a time and adapt as you go. An article on Trailquest.net summed it up with “The gear won’t get you there, you will”. So, I’m now collecting gear for the first cold, hard section in Georgia expecting temps down in the teens with possible mountain top snow hiking. #1 item on the list… a good sleeping bag.
After reading a zillion reviews online of the “best sleeping bags” from Outside and Backpacker Magazines, I ran into a craigslist add for a Western Mountaineering bag and mentioned to the seller I’m hitting the AT soon via email. Turns out he just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and not only will he help me out with selling me the bag, he’s going to help get me outfitted with gear/advice for the trip! He explained that distance hikers help each other out paying-it-forward. Before he started, others helped him with gear/advice and now he’ll help me out with my word that when I’m done with the gear he pays forward, I’ll leave it for another person on the AT that needs it. I’m not sure what the odds are of running into a person like this in Dallas, TX, but I’m guessing it’s pretty low. If trail life will mean randomly running into good people like this, I’m not sure I’ll ever want to leave it.