Hiking Trail Journals
Appalachian Trail 2003 -
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
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
- 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
- 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.