Hive athlete Devin Everett completed the Appalachian Trail last fall, and loved it so much she’s looking to start the Pacific Crest Trail this spring. She shares with us the lessons she learned in 2018 that she’s bringing with her on her western trek north.
You need less than you think.
After reading about this concept in various thru hike blogs, I really thought I understood what it meant. But within the first few weeks, I sent home a box full of gear I wasn’t using or didn’t need. I did not do a shake down hike or have any past thru hiking experience to go off of, but hindsight is 20/20 and less is more. Some things I sent home: hiking pants (I wore shorts everyday), extra first aid materials (I kept a couple band-aids and anti-inflammatory meds), 1 of my 2 shirts (you just don’t need two shirts), go pro, and a book. My rule of thumb was: if I didn’t use it for a week, I didn’t need it. I was always close enough to a town to get something if I really needed it, and I was also surround by other hikers who could most likely help out in a pinch.
Food is Fuel
The amount of food I ate each day was directly related to how much energy I had. It was helpful to eat snacks every 1-2 hours. This was just as much a mental reward as it was a reward for my belly. My go-to snacks were Honey Stinger stroopwaffles and energy chews or trail mix. Snacking is also great because it allows you to eat while hiking which helps you make the extra miles! The other trick that helped keep me going was to consume most of my protein at dinner. This allowed my body to slow down and process the food while fueling me up for the next days trek.
Take photos of people just as much as the landscape.
Looking back through my photos, my favorites are usually the ones that captured friendly faces and silly moments. On the trail, a few days will go by and it can feel like months so I love having pictures to help me piece the days together.
Honor your experience and recognize that everyone you meet is on their own journey.
Honor that too. I think honoring your own journey can be a bit more challenging when you’re in a group. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing if that’s what feels best. There were times when I stayed back a few miles due to injury, exhaustion or to stay at a campsite I was excited about. ‘Hike your own hike’ is a mantra you will hear over and over again. Do just that.
Write it down.
As many details as you can remember. It is already therapeutic and hilarious to read through my journal entries, I can only imagine how grateful i’ll be in a few years to have these memories documented. Some things to keep track of: how many miles you hiked that day, what you ate, where you slept, who you’re hiking with, your mood, your expenses, the weather, how many times you tripped or how many bogs you fell in, etc. And unless you REALLY love to write, ditch the journal and keep a log on your phone. I started out writing but eventually found it more convenient to keep a daily log on my phone- more accessible, lighter pack weight and I didn’t need a firm surface to write on.
The trail provides.
In friendship, magic, sunrises & sunsets, chafing, tears, growth, independence, courage and love. Embrace every moment for it is fleeting, and stay open to the journey.
Many of my favorite moments on trail stemmed from unplanned and spontaneous opportunities. “Do you want to skip the last 3 planned miles of the day and sleep on top of the mountain to watch the sunset/sunrise?” says a tramily member, yes. “Do you need a warm shower and a place to sleep?” offers a stranger, yes. “Do you want to spend an extra day in town to lay in bed, watch TV and eat ice cream all day?” says Professor, yes. Be flexible in your schedule, be open to adventures, and be grateful for every beautiful moment that is about to come your way.
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