I'm all about empowering women. This story tells about a 28 year old female who sets a record hiking the Appalachian Trail . This is her third thru hike. I'm glad she did her first one the old fashioned way: backpack, tent, and food, an "unsupported" journey of self discovery.
I have some fond memories of nights spent in trail shelters. Wondering who would pull in and how bad they'd smell. Wondering if I would find space in a shelter on a rainy night, or if I would have it all to myself. I learned if I didn't set up my tent, I could pack up in minutes and not worry about condensation either.
I fondly remember hikers spread across the shelter, laying like so many peas in a pod while Radio Flyerr asked How much would you need to be paid to eat a night crawler? He ended up with the lowest bid, and if it hadn't been so late, we'd probably have pooled our money to come up with the $20 bucks and someone would have found the worm for him. Course, Radio Flyer was a Tennessean dude, and probably had experience eating worms.
I fondly remember that last night trying to sleep while my stomach growled in anticipation of the morning hike into town. A resupply meant eating as soon as I got to anyplace selling food, grocery shopping, another snack before heading out. It probably meant running into trail friends I'd met and lost track of along the way. Not all of signed the same trail registers or slept in the same trail shelters.
I fondly remember peeling off socks and shoes in a trail shelter in Maine and the grandmother pleading with me to let her massage my thru hiker feet. Her grandkids were maybe a bit embarrassed, but they also wanted to listen to everything we talked about.
The miles of pain and agony I seldom even think about. Thats why I kept a good journal. I fondly remember so much of it that I would gloss it over when telling the stories, stories that hopefully will also inspire women to get out there and enjoy life.
I'm not against slack packing. One guy had his wife meet him every 20 miles and take him to a motel or established camp. Like our record setter, he made good time, saw his family every night. We scrounges called the white van she drove The Slack Mobile. I think he missed out, maybe we're the ones who did.
We'd live on ramen and oatmeal and slept on the dirt, made cups of coffee instead of pots of the brew.
The same clothes worn daily for months on end. Who knew one pair of shorts could last five months.
I post this just to give hikers the memories side of the story, and a warning, don't try to set the new record. I heard a few other kinds of records: Ed Garvey visited every shelter on his thru hike, my life partner had the longest thru hike in '92, how about the cheapest thru hike? How about the most nights out without seeing a person. On the PCT we went 10 days without seeing another soul up in section O, I believe it was.
Anyways, happy trails. Just saying.