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Appalachian Trail 2003 - Chelsea's Journals

Entry #52 - May 20, 2003

8:00 PM - Came about 12 miles today, to Racoon Branch Shelter. Went into Troutdale to get our package. Was definitely not the best town to go in to. No cars were going by to hitch a ride from, so we started walking. Not a good idea. There was barely a shoulder, as the road seemed to run alongside a mountain. Almost the only traffic going by were semis, barrelling along at at least 55.

Finally a car came and, amazingly enough, stopped - an old guy in a 4-door. He was very nice and brought us right in to the Post Office. After we got our package, we headed over to the Troutdale Trading Post and had lunch and went through our box. We definitely had enough - maybe more than enough, but at least we won't have to resupply for a while.

Notes on Trail Days:

The gear manufacturers were very helpful. We got our PUR water filter all cleaned up & serviced. Andy's waistbelt on his Gregory Pack didn't fit anymore after the weight he'd lost, so they gave him a new (small) one for free. I have a pair of Mountain HardWear Nutshell Gaiters that seem to be deteriorating. They said it was normal wear, but that they'd send me a new pair in Troutville. Hopefully, it's true.

Saturday, after the hiker parade, was a good time. We all headed to the Old Mill for dollar beers - Radar, Hepcat, Shankadelic, Blaze, Kodiak, Sassy, Rumbler, Lion King, Jersey, and more. We had a great evening. Unfortunately, we might not see most of them again - we've all spread apart quite a bit on the trail.

Trail Thoughts:

- We may not be total "purists," but we are really annoyed by Slackpacking. This is the practice of staying in a town for days on end, and having someone shuttle you to a point up the trail from which you walk back (N to S) without your pack and then staying in town again. It drives me insane when we're doing big miles, trying to get away from the mobs, and here are people staying at a hotel keeping up with us or passing us by.

- If you are not staying in the shelter (you're tenting next to the shelter) hang a damn bear bag in a tree, instead of clogging up the shelter with all of your crap!

- Three phrases I don't care to hear again after I'm done with the Trail: 
      * "Have a good hike!" 
      * "See you up the Trail!" 
      * "How's the water?"

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Preparing to Hike the Appalachian Trail?

Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers include the Appalachian Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail Conference), the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters, and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent tools for use during a long distance hike.




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