End of the 2019 Backpacking Season

It’s with a heavy heart to close out the 2019 backpacking season. I tried my best to attempt winter backpacking but ultimately as a solo hiker… it’s just not worth it.

My most recent trip led me back on the AT with a local hiking group and a projected low of 18 degrees. I made some gear changes with the hope it would change my mind. A 0-degree Montebell sleeping bag borrowed from a friend kept me warm and toasty with the warmest liner they offer on the market, a z-lit, a woman’s Therm-a-rest, and a Nalgene full of hot water. I slept warm and enjoyed the roar of the fire for nearly two hours. I enjoyed waking up to the sound of snow flurries hitting my tent and watching them from the said toasty sleeping bag. I even enjoyed walking in the snowfall on the way back to the car. However, the struggle to stay warm once being finished hiking for the day, the lack of daylight, and getting out of the tent in the morning and putting on nearly frozen boots is not fun. How I survived my longest backpack at the time in January in Georgia is questionable.

My hiking shoes have taken me many miles this year…

January 3rd-9th, 2019 Georgia Springer- Hiawassee, Ga. 69.6 miles 

At the time, my longest backpack trip attempted and the farthest from home. Highlights:

  • Summitting Springer Mountain
  • Meeting and sharing many laughs with Bootflap and Big Guy (and a bear encounter)
  • A warm fire and great company at Hawk Mountain Shelter
  • A warm fire and time spent with weekenders
  • Climbing Blood Mountain
  •  Staying at Mountain Crossings and meeting Jack and Isiah who I hiked with the rest of the trip
  • Finishing my hike how I started it… alone
  • Roaring wind through hiking through the Gaps
  • Retreating in the heat of Top of Georgia Hostel

 

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March 30-31 Backpacking St. Anthony’s Wilderness- 17.8 miles 

  • First time backpacking with AMC
  • Making new local backpacking friends

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April 19th-25th Shenandoah National Park (Spring Break)- 107.8 miles

Highlights/Memories:

  • Dad slackpacking me
  • Experiencing my first bear while hiking solo
  • Countless views
  • Hurting my knee and thinking I retore my meniscus
  • Backpacking a stretch that car did not have accessibility to the road
  • Finding little bits of spring on the trail

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May 25-27 Finishing New York (Memorial Day Weekend) 34 miles

  • Planning my first group trip
  • Hiking Bear Mountain on a Holiday
  • Learning group dynamics
  • Worrying about lost hikers
  • Completing New York
  • A learning experience
  • The Lemon Squeezer
  • Blue Blaze

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June 22- August 2 Katadhin- Manchester, Vermont 539 miles

Highlights:

  • Summiting Mount Katadhin
  • Meeting all the other Sobos at Katahdin Stream
  • Meeting a lady hiking with her cat
  • 100 mile Wildnerness-lakes, WhiteCap, Chairbacks, waterfalls
  • Hiking with Wild card and Coulter, Ben Runner, What’s up Doc, and Wombat through the 100 mile Wilderness
  • Eating all the ice cream
  • Staying at Shaw’s and meeting Poet, AJ, and Lavaer and all the Sobo hikers that I encountered on the trail Top, Charlie, Goat, and Kierra
  • All the breakfast foods
  • Meeting all the people across my travels: Chips/Phantom, One Step, Wet Foot and Arry, Fruitboot, McDouble07, Spice, Dreamer, Steady, Plank, PineCone, Hot Sauce and Cranberry, Pony Express and Diseal, Wags, Gail, Stump and Mandolin, Flower and Pyro, Tigger, Professor Fantastic, Ghost,  and Sawyer,
  • Maushooc Notch
  • Hiking over the Bladeplates, Bigelows, and the Avery’s
  • Crossing into New Hampshire
  • The Huts in the Whites
  • The White Mountains
  • the trail towns and trail food
  • The Rough climb up Mt. Madison
  • The descent of the Wildcats
  • Franconia Ridge
  • Countless trail angels
  • Jumping off the bridge near Blue Barn and bruising my leg
  • Experiencing the Yellow Deli
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August 13-16 Manchester, VT- Dalton, Mass. 82 miles

  • Crushing 20 mile days
  • Mount. Greylock
  • Finally catching up to Sobo hikers
  • Trail angels who took me back to my car twice
  • Reaching 600 miles
  • Finishing Vermont and entering Mass

    August 30-September 1- Dalton- Great Barrington 48 miles 

  • Trail Angel Tom Levardi
  • Running into Plank, who I met in Maine
  • Picking fresh Blueberries at the Cookie Lady’s House
  • Staying the night at the Upper Goose Pond Cabin
  • Realizing my Sobo journey was coming to an end IMG_2008

September 7-8 20 Miles from Border of NY into CT

  • Girls trip
  • Still having trail legs

 

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A few other backpack trips included finishing up the rest of Mass. and CT. which was one solo trip, and I led a group backpack trip. A chilly long weekend spent section hiking in Pa.

Although I miss the simplicity of life, I think the most memorable part of each of my hikes is the people. The kindness from the trail angels. The safety and security from having fellow hikers at camp. The laughs shared together. Free of distractions. Free of judgements. Full of hope and a common goal. Looking forward to what 2020 has to offer!

2019 total of hiked AT miles:  1,053.2 

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