We have now heard it earlier than and know we are going to hear it once more on the path.
“Why on this planet are you beginning your hike in February?”
Often, that query is accompanied by a glance or a sound of incredulousness. That’s normally adopted up with feedback which are backed up by “suspicious” statistics.
“You’ve got a a lot better share probability of finishing the path when you begin later. Solely 3.5% of hikers end if they begin in February.”
Or another fabricated quantity designed to scare us right into a later begin. And naturally, we get suggestions and feedback concerning the chilly temperatures and unpredictable climate.
“OHHHH MAN!!!! It will be chilly in February! I do know somebody who bought frostbite on their earlobes as a result of they began so early. That is after they hiked by 10 ft of snow!”
Sure, somebody mentioned they hiked by 10 ft of snow and their earlobes had been frostbitten. Who is aware of? Possibly they did.
To all would-be commenters:
Simply because it didn’t work out for “frostylobes”, it doesn’t imply it received’t work out for us. And if it doesn’t? It doesn’t. We’re climbing our personal hike. We definitely recognize suggestions and options, however please don’t rain on our chilly, windy, and unpredictable winter climate parade.
Nearly all of Appalachian Path thru-hikers journey northbound from Georgia. Nearly all of these northbound thru-hikers try to start out in mid to late march, as you’ll be able to see right here. That giant variety of hikers that depart “collectively” in March known as the “thru-hiker bubble”. We wish to try to keep away from that bubble as a lot as attainable after we begin our journey.
Now don’t get us incorrect, we LOVE being round folks. Our mixed 30+ years in hospitality and customer support attests to that truth. As well as, it is without doubt one of the causes we’ve determined to hike this path. We love to fulfill new folks and listen to their tales. Personally, I’m trying ahead to immersing myself within the all-inclusive world of backpacking.
With that being mentioned, we additionally need a while with simply the three of us. A break from our 30+ years of hospitality is far wanted. We wish to deal with ourselves for a short time and get into the rhythm of our personal thru-hike. From what we’ve learn and heard, beginning your thru-hike later means that you’re coping with overcrowded shelters and campsites, significantly in Georgia and North Carolina. Tack on the truth that we’re climbing with Beo, our canine. As wonderful as we expect Beo is, everybody doesn’t really feel the identical method about canine. Due to these causes, we’re beginning our hike sooner than most.
Sure, we all know that leaving in February could make our thru-hike more difficult.
Waking as much as temperatures within the teenagers and freezing rain isn’t most hikers’ thought of an excellent time. Add in the potential for snow, and now you’re speaking about climbing changing into extraordinarily tough. We should carry additional gear, which is able to imply heavier baggage and extra ache for our legs. We have to be ready for the chilly climate because it might make sleeping at night time uncomfortable, and doubtlessly make climbing extra harmful.
Figuring out all of this, we’ve accomplished our greatest to organize for our cold-weather journey. Simply a few weeks in the past, we did a “winter shakedown hike” of three days and a couple of nights by the George Washington Nationwide Forest.
We didn’t do a lot mileage over these few days, however we weren’t involved about mileage. We wished to ensure our gear might stand as much as the chilly climate. The issue? The times main as much as our winter hike had been heat. Unseasonably heat. In only a nick of time, Mom Nature pulled by for us. Temperatures dropped on that first night time, and we camped and slept at temperatures under 20 levels. Due to that, we had been in a position to make use of our cold-weather gear and get a good suggestion of what’s going to work and what is not going to.
Right here is among the gear that I’m bringing particularly for the primary 2 months whereas we’re on the path. Hopefully, if the climate cooperates, we must always have the ability to ship again most of our chilly climate gear by the start of April.
Sleeping Bag Liner
My REI Co-op Magma sleeping bag is rated to fifteen levels, so including this piece of drugs offers me just a few extra levels of heat and helps to maintain the within of my mummy bag clear. As I mentioned in my final weblog put up, I had hoped that this liner plus my bag would maintain me heat in colder temps, and I’m completely happy to report that I used to be very heat throughout our shakedown hike. Brandee has the Sea to Summit Reactor Excessive. It price a bit bit extra however provides much more heat.
I didn’t use my puffy jacket in any respect throughout our shakedown hike. After we bought to camp, temps had been within the low 30s and we had been in a position to get a campfire began. I stayed heat sufficient with my base layers, a climbing shirt, and a mid-layer jacket/fleece. The within pocket on the Ecoball Hoodie doubles as a stuff sack, and I can use the bundled-up jacket as an additional pillow if wanted.
These maintain me so ridiculously heat. No, they aren’t low-cost, however the heat these base layers present is priceless. I put on my flannel shirt on prime of the Intraknit, and it really works nearly too effectively for me. I do need to ensure that I don’t begin sweating an excessive amount of, so I shall be shedding layers as wanted.
Yep, I’m layering my gloves. I’ve all the time had points with my arms getting painfully chilly after I spend anytime outside within the winter. I additionally know that I don’t wish to put on huge cumbersome gloves on a regular basis. It makes it extremely tough and annoying to try to grasp something with them, as effectively. This complete “glove system” remains to be a piece in progress, however to this point it has labored for me.
These are some heavy-duty socks they usually assist to do the trick of conserving my ft heat and dry. Spending $30 for a pair of socks appears loopy, however I shall be sporting these each day for weeks at a time. I suppose I have to be loopy. I’m bringing a backup pair, so I change them out every day till we discover a washer to make use of.
Brandee and I’ll have let our YouTube “analysis” speak us into bringing some additional gear: crampons. Admittedly, this shall be one of many first issues to go again to NoVa in the event that they aren’t wanted. Surprisingly, they don’t weigh as a lot as I believed they’d (1 lb whole), and they need to assist if we do encounter any icy situations. We went the inexpensive route with these, as our analysis and wallets steered.
I shall be capturing our journey on our GoPro Hero Black 9 and posting these movies to Instagram and YouTube. Up till not too long ago, I wasn’t conscious that the chilly climate will decelerate batteries till I learn a thru-hiking put up on Reddit. Goes to indicate how a lot time I used to spend exterior within the chilly! This battery is meant to carry out higher in chilly climate and can act as a backup battery for me.
As I mentioned earlier than, the plan is to ship most of this gear dwelling because the climate warms up. (And possibly need to have it despatched again to us after we method New England) As a lot as I shall be trying ahead to hotter climate, I don’t wish to quick ahead to spring. Properly, perhaps solely 1x quick ahead, not 4x. The chilly will suck, and I have to be comfortable with that.
The climate, the path situations, the overcrowding, and so forth. are all out of our management.
We are going to, as they are saying, be taught to embrace the suck. Or as I desire to say: “Get snug with being uncomfortable.” Regardless of the way you phrase it, we’re conscious of the actual fact our hike shall be harder after we begin our hike in simply a few weeks. And you realize what? That’s okay. Frosty lobes and all.