Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Questions, Questions, Questions

Thanks for your questions -- I hope you three enjoy your Emergen-C! 

"So, realistically, what do you think your chances of reaching Katahdin are? This ain't no walk in the woods, despite what Bryson claims! =)" -Ryan Carpenter, Hiked the Appalachian trail in 2003 and Pacific Crest Trail in 2010 and is the creator of

Tough question, I like your style Ryan! Well, as I'm sure you know roughly 20% of hikers make it to Katahdin. That is why I frame the conversation about my hike as an "attempt" because there are so many variables. One careless step can force a hiker to leave the trail due to injury, which is not the even the number one sited reason for leaving the trail. I have had several backpacking trips under my belt, so the day to day camp operations are not much a worry. I think the mental aspect of the hike will be my challenge -- as it is for must. All and all if I have to put a number on it, I'd say I have a 67.33% chance to make it to Katahdin! My goal for this hike is to have an amazing journey and raise as much money for the Chicago Fire Foundation as possible. 

"Are you cutting your hair for your hike? this is a legit question. Cause if its going to be hot during your hike then you should buzz it." Katie Nava, Freeport High School grad -- Go Pretzels!, Studying Art Education at Western Illinois University, and a great date for any high school dance. 

That's an interesting question you pose there. Similar to an injured athlete I think this is going to be a "game time decision" as in when I'm sitting in your apartment and you have the clippers in my hand I'm going to have to make that choice. I've had my lovely locks for nine+ years and it will be hard to part with them. However, my receding hairline is already helping me do so, dang it! 

"Have you planned ahead on where you will be stocking up on supplies and what is the average weight of your backpack you will carry during the hike?" -- Frank "El Guapo" Cardenas, Legendary member of Section 8 Chicago and the best trumpet player on both sides of the Mississippi. 

The first month of my hike is generally planned out. I have post places that I will stop and resupply highlighted in my A.T. Guide. This book features most major landmarks on the trail (streams, shelters, intersections with other trails, roads, towns, etc.) At just 8.4 ounces this book maps out the entire trail. My pack will be about 19 pounds, without consumables (food, fuel, water) and about 29 pounds fully stocked with five days of fuel and food. My gear list with weights can be view here.


One week from today I will be summiting Springer Mountain in Georgia with my Grandmother and will begin my hike! 


  1. In terms of cutting your hair for the hike.... IMHO, it doesn't really matter if you choose to do so or not. At the beginning of my Florida Trail and PCT hikes I buzzed off my hair so I wouldn't have to worry about haircuts along the trail as often, and the first time I decided I wanted to do it, I wasn't sure if I'd have the guts to pull to the trigger. I did, though, and wound up finding it a nice change. =) (I still let it grow back, though!)

    When it comes to facial hair, though.... grow the beard! On the AT, I tried to shave in every trail town (and did so), but it was a pain-in-the-you-know-what. I totally regretted that choice and on future thru-hikes, let the beard grow. I didn't much like the beard, but I liked shaving even less! And it's still possible to trim the beard whenever you get your hair cut anyhow if it's length becomes too annoying. =)

    So my recommendation, the hair on your head.... doesn't really matter. That facial hair, though, not worth the fight. *shaking head*

    -- Ryan

    1. I have a good pre-AT beard, for the last year or so I've sported a full beard. My hair will be hard to part with, since I've had shoulder length hair for so long! Thanks for the feedback, Ryan.