A Day in the Life of An Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker
Many of my posts attempt to paint broad strokes of life on the Appalachian Trail. Whether it be the social dynamics, the concept of trail magic, or the personal growth that comes from a few challenging weeks- I have a tendency to try and place all events into a larger, overarching theme.
But not every event on the trail fits under the category of a challenge, learning lesson, or cultural oddity. Some days- are just days.
And some days- are just good days.
Allow me to paint the picture of a good day on the Appalachian Trail for you.
8:06 AM: Wake Up
This is late. Even by my standards. I don’t do mornings. I’m almost always the last person out of camp. This morning, however, the location of camp is what stands out.
There is an extremely friendly older couple who operate a cafe on the first floor of their two story home in Falls Village, Connecticut. I say extremely friendly because they are gracious enough to allow hikers to tent in their backyard. Because of the large gap in between shelters in this area- their backyard is a popular spot. They could very easily charge hikers for this (as many campgrounds do)- especially considering they offer access to potable water and electrical outlets (both big hiker draws), but because they don’t, is further proof of their large hearts.
9:03 AM: Head to Post Office
After nearly an hour of staring into space, I eagerly walk in the direction of the local post office to celebrate a new holiday I have dubbed “Care Package a-Palooza”.
When I get to the PO- I hand the worker my ID, she comments on how I look nothing like the person in the picture and immediately proceeds to go find my packages (not reassuring at all). She returns carrying so many boxes that her head has disappeared behind the mass.
Four. Four packages. Hiker Xmas apparently happens in July.
A replacement, brand new, 3L bladder courtesy of CamelBak (no questions asked over the phone- great customer service), a package from Mom and Dad, a package from Tim and Katie (lifelong friends), and a massive package from Chuck L, a fan of the site. I get so much food (and whiskey) that I have to send some of it forward to Future Badger (Future Badger loves whiskey). I went from literally only having honey left in my in my food bag- to having too much to carry. A good hiker problem.
10:15 AM: Head to the Liquor Store
Not only is this a tad early to be going to a liquor store- but I usually don’t feel the urge to load up on more liquor after receiving two care packages containing whiskey. But trail magic has decided to rear its head in a very creative way…
Apparently Jacob and Tim R, fans of the site, were inspired by my trail magic post, live in the general region, and wanted to get in on the fun. Jacob and his dad stopped by the liquor store next to the PO, and gave the owner $20 in an envelope with my name on it. I got more whiskey- and again shipped it to Future Badger. Future Badger thanks Jacob and Tim very much. Future Future Badger punches Future Badger in the face for consuming too much whiskey. Future Badger blames Badger for the entire debacle. We all settle our differences over some whiskey.
12:38 PM: Get Back on the Trail
After a few hours of not moving very quickly, retrieving packages and whiskey magic, chatting with the very friendly cafe owners, and writing a post for Tech Cocktail, I finally decide to pursue my lone life task- walking.
1:21 PM: Gravity + Water = Fun
I’m not more than two miles into my already conceded short day when my zen walking mode is abruptly interrupted. What I hear is both distinct, rare, and exciting. It’s the sound of a large water fall (thus the name of “Falls Village”) combined with the sound of a human jumping into the body of water that lies approximately 20 feet below.
I look up- and sure enough, standing on top of the falls are about 6 local youth (am I too young to use that term?) enjoying a hot afternoon with the adrenaline rush that comes from such a short burst free fall.
Of course I join.
2:45 – 6:45 PM: Short Work Day
After a short day with many beautiful vistas and almost as many breaks (my pack is heavy- whiskey and food is a lot of things – light is not one of them) I arrive to the shelter. It’s situated atop the summit, next to a great stream, with a clear westerly view of the sunset.
There’s a couple there cooking dinner. I join them- we drink whiskey- we laugh- we eat – we share trail stories – we part ways.
I set up my tent inside the shelter (I have it to myself) and take a few moments to replay the day’s events.
I fall asleep saturated with good energy.
Or is that redundant?