Last of the generally sporadic updates!
From this point forward, they will be very sporadic, if at all. It is entirely possible that I don’t post anything until I actually hit the trail at this point. We will see. So rambling thoughts about what I have been up to, what I am about to be up to and having Tom Petty perform a concert in honor of my hitting the trail.
The holidays were insane. Leslie and I had something going on virtually every single day. It was a fantastic time. We saw family, family and more family, some old friends and kept up some traditions. We cooked and ate a lot of really really good food, helped to train a celebrity chef in the making (go Connor!), spent two nights seeing Lucinda Williams in concert, and finally I spent a full day just packing up 100 days of meal replacement and vitamins, which I am calling my daily nutrition bomb!
The daily nutrition bomb has several components. It has a meal replacement, which generally has protein, veggies, probiotics, vitamins, and fiber. The main one I used was LIVfit Superfood Blend, which blended well in my shaker and did not taste hideous (which is about as high a bar you can have when dealing with meal replacement mixes). The other one I used, since I had two cans of it, was Vitacost Earthblends Whole Food Shake. This one is close to hideous, but since I had two cans, I’ll choke it down. The one I did not use was the Vega One All In One Nutritional Shake. Thankfully I did not have extra as I was able to purchase sample packs. Gross. The next component is an additional scoop of protein powder. I got mine from Life Extension Foundation. Then a Comprehensive Nutrient Pack, also from Life Extension Foundation. (http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/item02098/Comprehensive-Nutrient-Packs-ADVANCED) This pack is great, not only covering the essential vitamins and a health booster but also omega 3 oils, CoQ10 and curcumin. Finally, two more components to help my body recover from the daily grind, extended release magnesium and l-glutamine capsules. I have put together 100 of these packs, which is designed to be 5 times per week for 20 weeks on the trail. I am going to put together 40 individual vitamin only packs as well for the other 2 days per week. The thought there is that at least a couple days per week I will either eat in town or be at a resupply location where I will bring real honest food with me. These nutrition bombs are around 160 calories, weigh on average about 2.2 ounces per bomb and when vacuum sealed are quite small. Hopefully they will help with recovery after each day.
Another thing I did over the Christmas break was to replace my phone. I ditched my LG 4 and upgraded to an LG v20. I thought long and hard about going to the iPhone 7, but given that my background is Android, I decided to not poke that bear. The reason I am doing this now is that I need to get up to speed with the applications for the trail and camera control. I can have my GoPro4 Silver attached to my pack above my head and control it with my phone. It is pretty slick. I also have downloaded several location, information and weather type apps. The last thing I downloaded which should be very cool, is an application called Hikerbot which is a crowd sourced app where users update information as they come across it. If enough use this, it should be very helpful on the trail with respect to water availability, campsites, shelters, and other activities along the trail. You can apparently also share location data with other hikers that you meet along the trail. I understand that there is an amazing “telephone line” up and down the trail in terms of information exchange (kinda like the old tin cans with the string in between them I think), and I would think that applications such as Hikerbot will completely revolutionize the exchange of information up and down the trail.
On the physical training front, I recently read an article, and I cannot find it again or I would link it here and give them proper credit, which suggested a training program to get ready for a thru hike. It was quite simple and frankly makes a certain amount of intuitive sense. It is a twelve week program and it is broken down into two week sections. The first two weeks you would hike for 3 miles on three days (such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and then 5 miles on one day (either Saturday or Sunday). The next two weeks you increase the three days to 4 miles and the one day to 7 miles, keeping up with that one mile and two mile increase. By the end you are hiking 8 miles on the three days and 15 miles on the one day. I am already well beyond the 3 miles, but think I will attempt to do this as it is not overly time consuming. I am doing it with a pack weight of between 35 and 40 pounds. I am going to do Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with Sunday for the long day. I am still playing racquetball for an hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Finally, I will be working on the details of my food drops so that Leslie’s job is hopefully relatively easy. For now it is all going into the chest freezer for safekeeping. Eventually I will setup a staging area for Leslie and we will lay it out in the manner which makes the most sense to her.
Oh, I almost forgot, Tom Petty is going on tour this year, calling it his 40th anniversary tour (even though it is year 41 for him). He heard about my hike starting late April and scheduled a date in Atlanta on April 27th to celebrate the start of my hike! Leslie and I will be attending that show, then staying at Amicalola Falls State Park the night of the 28th and I’ll hit the trail sometime the morning of the 29th. Hopefully I’ll have the capability to post some video of those first few steps towards Maine. The 100 day countdown is coming up pretty quick now on January 19th.
PS – For those of you who have not (which is basically all of you except Leslie), you can sign up as a member of this blog and you will then get updates anytime I post something new or update an old post. The way to do that is to scroll down to the META category on the right side of the page and click on register. Since Leslie and I are the only “members” of this blog, I thought I would mention that that is a good way to make sure you do not miss something.