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  1. #41
    mountain squid's Avatar
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    Concur with everyone . . . this is a nice story.

    For the last several years I have been going down to Springer for a week or so. Every year I see numerous hikers that are not prepared and I always wonder Why?. There is so much information out there (WhiteBlaze, Trailjournals, Blogs, books, - hasn't everyone read 'A Walk in the Woods'?, etc, etc) that it just boggles the mind that year after year hikers begin their journey with inadequate gear or gear that is just not needed; heavy packs; a bird; a cello; a hand-cart; or they are not prepared for the mountains or the weather (it can be snowing one day, violent thunderstorms the next and 75f the day after that); push themselves too hard (I can make it to Neels Gap in 2 days) . . . Every year there is something that'll make me scratch my head.

    I know that WhiteBlaze is full of opinions (and some from cyberhikers that haven't hiked and don't really know what they are talking about) and it might be difficult to sift through it all, especially if you are inexperienced. But all the lurkers out there should be able to get a reasonable idea of what to expect and at least not be completely clueless.

    There are enough of us here that will still reply to the threads with money questions, or the weather related questions and unfortunately it seems that the original poster will inevitably argue their point and disagree with the conventional wisdom offered. Often times a reply to a thread might actually be more for the lurkers and not the original poster, especially once it is obvious that the op isn't going to change their mind. Just maybe a lurker will wise up and decide that a 40f bag is not a good idea in Feb.

    So my question for Capt Nat is: Why? Why were you clueless? Why were you not prepared? What led you to seemingly believe that 'walking uphill' would not be difficult (especially with a 40# pack)? I'm just wondering out loud here . . .

    Glad that you are OK and reasonably certain that you will be better prepared next time around. And maybe some lurkers will learn from your experience and be better prepared.

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

    read some observations thread for additional observations about that first week on the trail

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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountain squid View Post
    So my question for Capt Nat is: Why? Why were you clueless? Why were you not prepared? What led you to seemingly believe that 'walking uphill' would not be difficult (especially with a 40# pack)? I'm just wondering out loud here . . .

    Glad that you are OK and reasonably certain that you will be better prepared next time around. And maybe some lurkers will learn from your experience and be better prepared.
    I'm glad you are safe, and glad you are looking to get back out there. But I wanted to ask the same thing Squid did.

    Maybe someone can learn from you.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    I'd rather hike 1% of the trail with positive attitude than hike 99% of trail and feel defeated for not finishing.
    Hear, hear!

  4. #44
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    Mountain Squid, I get where you are coming from but NO ONE knows everything. That includes you AND ME. With all the worthwhile and possibly applicable info available my hiking knowledge is constantly spiraling upward. I'm constantly evolving in so many ways. Heck, I'm consistently adapting my hiking kit, hiking knowledge, hiking style, etc. to find the balance that's currently right FOR ME. Some of us know more than others hence some of us can be more prepared than others so it's no surprise to find different hikers differently prepared. If you think about it there are undoubtedly areas in both of our lives where someone knows more or is better prepared than each of us and can be wondering why we aren't as prepared or knowledgeable as them.

  5. #45

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    Squid, I just went back and read your post in the thread you linked. Good stuff! A nice "one stop shopping" location for a goodly portion of the bare bones wisdom one will find here on WB. Thanks!

  6. #46
    Registered User Capt Nat's Avatar
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    I'll try to answer your question Mr. Mt Squid. When I thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail, I went to the internet for information and landed here at White Blaze. I read a lot about gear, cooking, sleeping, resupply, etc. The information that I got here was invaluable and I had no problems and complaints about my equipment. I read a lot of trail journals and tried to determine what separated success from failure.

    What I was completely clueless about was just what a mountain really is. And it's one thing to read about weather, but I only related to weather in Florida. In Florida, if there is a thunderstorm, you see it coming for an hour. I trained till I was carrying my pack 8 to 12 miles. I read about weather in the teens and twenties, but those were only numbers. Without a walk in freezer, there was no way to experience that.

    So, I got out of the Car with no idea how sharp and penetrating cold air is. Luckily, I had clothes and sleeping gear that was adequate.
    In thinking it was just walking, I had built up enough strength to do that as evidenced by no muscle or feet problems. So, I studied on the trail and determined why I was having such a hard time. I realized then that I can put a car in neutral and push it, but I couldn't push it up hill. Not having access to slopes, I had not discovered that. Now I know walking uphill is not the same as walking on flat ground.

    Having been walking on flat ground, my ankles had a normal range of motion. Going up the hills pushed the toe end of the foot further upward than was normal for me. Walking downhill pushed the toe of the foot further downward than my normal movement. The result was moderate tendinitis in both ankles. The pain felt more than moderate to me though...

    I attempted to be prepared. I trained as best as I knew how. I think you need to be exposed to mountains, cold, ice, and snow to be acclimated to those. I struck out acclimated to warm sunny weather and flat walking. I am going to spend this summer, as my tendons heal, trying to train for inclines and declines. It would probably help to try to find a walk in freezer to live in also.

    In the end, it's all good. I had a great time. I learned how different the trail environment is from the one I live in. I'm excited about a new, different training routine.

    I am interested in hiking and enjoy it. I don't need to be "successful" at it and don't need it to define me. I also scuba dive, metal detect, fish, sail, fly airplanes and helicopters, operate a ham radio, and dabble in wood working. I loved hiking in the mountains and am going to get better at it. I've already been hit by lightening, next time I'll have to be attacked by a bear to top that!

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    Without a walk in freezer, there was no way to experience that.
    Okay that just flat made me chuckle. Can you imagine the laps you'd have to do in even a good sized walk in to get 8-12 miles?

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    Having been walking on flat ground, my ankles had a normal range of motion. Going up the hills pushed the toe end of the foot further upward than was normal for me. Walking downhill pushed the toe of the foot further downward than my normal movement. The result was moderate tendinitis in both ankles. The pain felt more than moderate to me though...
    Walking on a treadmill might help with that extra range of motion on the uphills. I've never found it exactly mimics actually walking up mountains, but as a fellow flat-lander that's what I turn to if I want to climb a "hill" work that's more than a few dozen meters tall. Climbing stairs (in a multi-floor building) helps with the leg strength but doesn't get the range of motion you're probably finding on a slope.

    Don't underestimate the beating your quads can take on the descents either.

    As someone else alluded to, walking on constantly flat terrain is its own skill. I've had more than one acquaintance from mountainy realm visit flat land and suffer hip pain from the monotony of motion.

  9. #49
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    Thanks for sharing this story. I think some of the best stories involve adversity followed by success. One of the best is by triple crowner Ice Axe who had a "challenging" first attempt. He followed up years later and complete all three long trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee Rules! View Post
    Okay that just flat made me chuckle. Can you imagine the laps you'd have to do in even a good sized walk in to get 8-12 miles?
    i had a visual of training in the walk in beer cooler... just walking in circles with a pack on....drinking beer

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by gizzy bear View Post
    i had a visual of training in the walk in beer cooler... just walking in circles with a pack on....drinking beer
    I don't think that would accomplish much in the way of training, but it sure wouldn't suck.

  12. #52
    Registered User Capt Nat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gizzy bear View Post
    i had a visual of training in the walk in beer cooler... just walking in circles with a pack on....drinking beer
    The whole cooler needs to be tilted. How bout a keg of beer strapped to my back?

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    The whole cooler needs to be tilted. How bout a keg of beer strapped to my back?
    Can't be lite beer, then

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    The whole cooler needs to be tilted. How bout a keg of beer strapped to my back?
    we MAY be on to something here!!!!

  15. #55
    Registered User FatHead64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    The whole cooler needs to be tilted. How bout a keg of beer strapped to my back?
    No - beer on a table (whatever kind you want) and just move the treadmill in there too. Crank up the tilt and you're off...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    Can't be lite beer, then
    maybe...if he is a UL kinda guy?!?!?!

  17. #57

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    Oh come on now! If he goes for light beer he might as well just train to walk from his bed to a recliner in the living room.

  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    How bout a keg of beer strapped to my back?
    I think you're onto something here. The diminishing weight would easily simulate depletion of food and water as you went along.

    Stick with this crowd and we'll have you ready in no time!

    Ready for WHAT, well, that remains to be seen.

  19. #59
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee Rules! View Post
    Squid, I just went back and read your post in the thread you linked. Good stuff! A nice "one stop shopping" location for a goodly portion of the bare bones wisdom one will find here on WB. Thanks!
    I didn't know WB existed until long after leaving the trail. There's no way I can throw rocks... guaranteed I've made more and bigger bad decisions than the OP...anyone out there that never has made a bad one?

  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drybones View Post
    ...anyone out there that never has made a bad one?
    I divorced my worst decision about six years ago.

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