How are you preparing?

What does it take to prepare for a five or six-month hike?

Preparing for this trip has been a frenzied, glorious mess. We have read books, followed blogs, and have gotten lost in countless Google searches about food, gear, and preparation for our thru-hike. Two of our friends have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail on separate occasions; one even wrote a book on how to prepare, How to Hike the Appalachian Trail by Chris Cage, and we have relied heavily on their experience and wisdom. We took practice hikes, tested out our new gear, tasted some freeze-dried meals, and have been working to remain physically fit. Surprisingly, our “guides” both stressed preparing mentally - telling us that thru-hiking is as psychologically and emotionally challenging as it is physically challenging. Days without seeing anyone else, rain, snow, heat, black flies, walking hundreds upon hundreds of miles demands resolve and discipline. Another great piece of advice we’ve received is “know why you’re hiking”. This purpose will lift you out of your sleeping bag and carry you through the days when you don’t want to take another step. Part of preparing is knowing why we’re there - to help the hidden and hurting find hope.