I wasn’t enjoying the hike as much as I thought I would so I decided to cut it short and return home. There are a few things I’ve learned from this hike that will allow me to make changes for the future.
It is best to get in shape before starting a hike. Hiking will eventually get you in shape but being out of shape will make the first few weeks hiking unnecessarily uncomfortable.
August isn’t the best time for hiking. It is too hot and too buggy. Maybe if I had been hiking before that I would have gradually acclimated to the conditions like a boiling frog but just going from the couch in my air-conditioned house to the warm and muggy outdoors wasn’t a pleasant transformation.
Sometimes you have to spend more on gear. I bought a cheap tent and it would probably work well in the winter or early spring. In the summer thought it is just too hot because it doesn’t have a separate rain fly. There might be a cheap tent that would fit my needs but it is hard to find. For any future hikes I’m going to splurge and buy a tarptent. My rationalization for this is that if it keeps me out of staying in a hotel a couple to times it will pay for itself.
Sometimes cheaper gear works just as well or better than more expensive gear. I bought a Camelbak type bladder to use while hiking. I couldn’t stand the plastic taste of water from the bladder though. It also leaked when I didn’t tighten the tube connection to the bladder tight enough. A $1 Gatorade bottle worked as an adequate replacement to the bladder and didn’t have any leaks.
Another bonus to using the Gatorade bottle is that replacements can be bought in just about any town.
Referring to both the bladder and the tent you should test your equipment in the conditions that you are going to be using them. Doing that would have let me know the tent wouldn’t work and that I wouldn’t like the bladder.
I spent way too much on this trip. My budget for the entire hike was eclipsed in just the first few days and my trip total is about double what I had planned on spending for the entire hike. My budget probably wasn’t realistic for someone who hasn’t been hiking recently. I still think it is a feasible budget but I wasn’t able to resist staying in hotels on this trip. Maybe with a better tent and more time getting acclimated to being outdoors I could change that.
I did have success in getting home relatively cheap despite deciding to come home at the last minute. Airfares were too high since I would have only been booking a day or two before traveling. The train wasn’t a good option since I would have had to take a bus to a town with a train and then take a train to Chicago and then a different train to KC. That made taking a train almost as expensive as flying. Going home on the bus would have been the cheapest option at about $150. The trip would have taken a day and a half though. I’ve had unpleasant experiences on Greyhound in the past and will avoid taking any long trips on their buses if at all possible.
Renting a car one-way from Reading, PA to KC ended up being the cheapest option. Their rate was $87.99 a day but they wouldn’t let me reserve it for less than one day since the distance between Reading and KC is almost 1100 miles. I made the trip in about 20 hours though and they didn’t charge me for a second day. With insurance, taxes, fees, and gas my total cost was about $200. I think that was a decent deal for traveling on the spur of the moment.
I also learned that my readership quickly declines when I am not updating this blog. My daily visitors has fallen by about half. That does make sense thought that people would stop visiting if there is nothing new to read. I’m now going to work on getting that readership back up.
10 thoughts on “I’m Back from my Hike”
Dont feel too bad about it – next time you will know how to do it better. Treat it as a trial run!
Hey Andy, I didn’t even know you had a blog. I have really enjoyed reading it and getting tips, so keep up the good work!!!!
Welcome back. As for readership you should have scheduled posts in advance..
Dreamer – I am viewing it as a learning experience.
Phil – I don’t usually tell people I actually know about my blog. Now that I’ve put the feed on Facebook though I guess people will find out. Glad you like the blog.
BB – That was my plan but I never got around to doing it.
Actually, one of the cheapest ways to travel is to go to craigslist and buy travel vouchers (i.e., $50 Southwest voucher for $35) and buy enough of them to cover your flight 🙂
April – Thanks for the suggestion. I’m actually using a Southwest voucher I got for free from SwagBucks for an upcoming trip. It didn’t occur to me to look for discounted vouchers. I’m not sure why since I buy discounted gift cards off Ebay fairly often.
I just looked at my local Craigslist and they didn’t have any vouchers right now but I’ll check again.
Look at Chicago’s craigslist, New York’s, etc. Since the codes are simply numbers, you can pay for them via paypal and have the codes emailed 🙂
April – Thanks for pointing that out. It should have been obvious to me but it wasn’t.
I’m glad that you are back! And I really enjoyed hearing about your trip.