Wow, I cannot believe Ambassador Val is going to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail! Of course we at Hike Like A Woman are going to be following her like a hawk. In this eddition she talks to us about preparations.

Okay, so I’ve decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Terrific. Now what do I do?

Hiking the AT is a vast undertaking. The trail is approximately 2181 miles +. The trail starts and ends on mountain tops, thus the plus sign – you have to hike up to the start and down after you finish. That mileage also doesn’t include the extra miles needed to get to towns for resupply, to water sources or to shelters.

When you add it all up, it’s just a really, really long hike. So, if I want to be part of the estimated 20% of registered thru-hikers each year who actually complete the trail, I have a lot of preparation in front of me. So much so, in fact, that it can seem overwhelming. I think it’s best to break it down into manageable categories, so I made a list and I plan to tackle and share my insights as I work through it.

These are my categories:

Planning –                             Registrations, permits, direction, etc.

Physical fitness –                   Preparing my body

Psychological fitness –           Preparing my psyche (and my family)

Gear –                                   So much gear

Feet –                                    Yes, an entire post about shoes and caring for feet

Weight –                                What do I want and need and is the weight worth it?

Navigation –                            How do I find my way? What if I get lost?

Nutrition –                                Snickers, ramen and jerky. Oh my!

Water –                                   How much to pack, where can I get more, how do I make it safe?

Critters –                                  Keeping myself (and my food) safe

LNT –                                      What does that mean with regards to the AT

Zero days –                             Taking a break, seeing the sites, and EATING!

What if? –                                Tips, tricks and hacks to deal with the unexpected

Resupply –                              How much food should I bring? How do I get additional supplies?

Misc.  –                                     Everything else (charging electronics, weather, social aspects, getting around when not hiking, etc.)


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Hey, y’all! Ambassador Michelle, @dignthegarden here with you from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today’s hike was to the magical land of Porters Creek Trail in Greenbrier. This is a wonderland of wildflowers, from the hillsides of White Trillium to the fields of White Fringed Phacelia. Enjoy! #hikelikeawoman #hikerchat #hlawamBADASSador #instagramtennessee #outdoorwomen #forceofnature #optoutside #sharetheadventure #wildwomenadventurers #womenwhohike #easttennessee #865life #tristaradventures #365challenge #10kwomen #smokymountains #friendsofthesmokies #yourlead #whereiwander #getoutside #mtnchicks #sheexplores #SHEnanigans #stompingdirt #tennesseegirl #wildflowers

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Whew! I’m already tired. It’s quite a list, but I’ll work through each step over the next few months and by the time I’m ready to go, I’ll be READY to go! Let’s get started!


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