Last week I returned home from my hike on the Appalachian Trail. My intention when I started the hike was to hike until I reached the end of the trail in Maine. Instead I stopped the hike after three weeks of hiking. Based on my past hikes it appears that three weeks is about as long as I like to hike.
Even though I didn’t hike all the way to Maine I am still pretty happy with how I did on this hike. I started the hike at High Point State Park in New Jersey and finished the hike in Great Barrington, MA for a total of 193.3 trail miles hiked. There was also a lot of additional hiking (such as to and from towns, shelters, etc.) that aren’t included in this total. I completed the rest of the AT in New Jersey and all of the AT in New York and Connecticut during this hike and got started on Massachusetts.
I started the hike about 50 pounds overweight which did make hiking more difficult than it needed to be. Although I ate a lot during this hike due to the trail frequently passing close by to towns, restaurants, and convenience stores I still managed to lose about 10 pounds. Although the hiking never seemed to get any easier I think that three weeks of hiking had to have improved my conditioning at least a little bit.
I ended the hike in MA since I was mentally and physically tired of hiking, a week of rain was forecast, and it was easy to get from the trail to the Boston airport. For future hiking trips I’m going to plan ahead on the trips being about three weeks long. If I book my airfare ahead of time it will be considerably cheaper than booking it at the last-minute. My return airfare from Boston didn’t cost me anything out-of-pocket since I had plenty of travel credit with Southwest, but if I had booked the return fare in advance I could have got it for almost half the price I paid. That would have left me with enough credit to book my next flight to Boston for my next section hike. Oh well, I will chalk that up to a lesson learned and will apply that knowledge for future hikes. If on my next planned three-week hike I feel like hiking longer it would be easy to change or cancel my flight.
I’ll post my usual beginning of the month posts over the next few days.