May 13, 2017

My sister informs me that I need to let friends know “the end of the story” of my collarbone.

“Oh no,” I protest.  “Surely everyone is sick of reading about that broken bone.”

My sister’s voice takes on a patient tone.  “People want to be reassured.  Are you truly all the way healed?  What’s happening with you?”

So, I’ve decided to do a bit of housekeeping, letting friends know what’s up in my life, and answering “behind the scenes” type questions about hiking the AT.

1.  Clavicle – I broke it six weeks ago.  Spent two weeks camping near the Dismal Swamp of North Carolina during the most fragile part of healing.  Then spent two weeks hiking in a sling, going slowly, grateful for Jay’s help.  Two weeks more of hiking without the sling, slowly regaining the use of my arm and shoulder.  Today I gave the sling to Goodwill.  Hurray!  Just a normal hiker now!

I’ll be swinging from vines soon!

2.  Food – We resupply every four days, whenever we come near a store.  We don’t carry a stove, and we eat the same food three times per day, every hiking day.  This simplifies our life tremendously!  Other hikers do not eat like this.  Many carry stoves, and most seek variety.  However, being bored with our food has so far been impossible when hiking eight to ten hours per day.  Hunger is the best sauce!

What do we eat?  We eat a mostly paleo diet on the trail.  Sardines packed in olive oil, extra sharp cheddar cheese, dark chocolate, cashews or pumpkin seeds, and raisins.  We also sometimes carry one unusual item for a leg of the trip.  One week it was toasted coconut from my parents.  Once it was a bag of figs and dates from a hiker box.  A small bottle of home-made molasses from our friends, Alan and Mary, lasted five days.  Yum!

Sardines, raisins, cheese, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and one spoon! The ultimate hiking diet and utensil!  (This is enough food for one person for three days.)

3.  Sleep – The Appalachian Trail has shelters about every eight miles.  These three-sided structures are used by many hikers.  We prefer the comfort of our tent, which is bug-free, rain proof, and private.  Every 100 miles, we stop in a town and stay at a hotel or a hiker hostel, doing laundry, getting a shower, and sleeping in a real bed.  Ahhh!

Home sweet home!

4.  Shoes – We hike in zero drop trail shoes, light weight and with no built up heel.  Our old shoes have now hiked nearly 700 miles of the AT, and more than 400  miles in Nevada.  They are done for!  Hurray for new shoes!

These shoes are done with walking!