Hello Everybody! I thought I'd share my experience on a short 5 day trip hiking 70 miles on the AT with the goal to, basically, test all my hiking equipment in preparation for a thru-hike next year with my wife.
-very fun, met a few people. The trail was not crowded during the hike. I started Monday, May 20th and ended Friday, June 3rd.
-learned A LOT. Realized I made many mistakes that made the hike way harder than it should have been.
-Mistakes- not taking care of feet, going too far, too fast, chafing and blister could have been avoided if I had been more thorough in preparation and prevention while out on the trail.
-equipment worked, but no rain so tent performance and use not completely tested (lightheart duo).
-dog did very good (he's not going on thru-hike). Kept him on leash while walking and off-leash while camping with everyone's permission. Dog stayed in tent on an old Army woobie.
-My lack of preparation for taking care of body. Old running shoes gave me blisters, didn't buy bodyglide before trip and got chafed. Liner of shorts rubbed heck out of my crotch area.
-I was in relatively good shape, but never did get my mountain legs in that short period of hiking. I hear it takes 200 to 300 mile to get your trail legs.
-carried too much food and dog food. The food back weighed 10 lbs. and the dog food weighed 5 lbs.; so, pack was 35 lbs. starting out which was too heavy. I nervous packed too much food and too many clothes that I never used.
-Duh! I forgot to bring bug spray. I looked like I'd gotten peppered with a shotgun by the end of the trip with bites I'd never seen before. Either spider or chigger bites. I just got chewed up.
Again, I learned a lot. Keeping everything organized in my pack and in camp helped me start earlier in the morning for cooler hiking. Water filter worked great (sawyer squeeze). And, if I would have kept my socks clean and feet clean and prepped I would have saved the feet from looking like hamburger at the end in Erwin, TN. Miles hiked per day were 11, 15, 15, 10, and 18; the last day being downhill most of the way.
Thank You for the site; I have leaned a lot by reading your site.