Accounts payable

Lessons learned early on the Appalachian Trail


Graham Nash’s song “Teach Your Children” comes to mind. The Trail teaches well. You prepare, you read, you watch videos. All the right ways to spend some time before hitting the trail. Then, as in any business, doing is much more powerful than thinking about doing. Glory belongs to those on the playground etc. Teddy Roosevelt’s famous tale, and the Trail is no exception.

The first lessons learned

After walking the first 101 miles of my seesaw (101 is the closest prime number to 100, I love the unique quirkiness of primes), here are some early lessons I learned.

The lesson of the acceleration of gravity: backpacks are much heavier than you think when going uphill. Backpacks are also much heavier than you might think going downhill.

The weight loss lesson: You can’t eat enough, no matter how hard you try, to avoid losing weight.

The lesson of restocking: hiking meals are great at a large outdoor store, however, they are not close to the trail, so the lesson to be learned is to get really good at knowing what to buy at Walmart, Dollar General and miscellaneous gas station convenience stores. These places stock very few light freeze-dried backpacking meals.

The lesson of packing our fears: Everyone needs a more experienced hiker to do a shakedown on their pack. Everyone brings too much to the track.

The Lesson of “Hike Your Own Hike”: This is the most commonly freely given advice on the Trail, you really don’t fully understand its application until you resist the temptation to try and follow someone. one with a faster pace, or try to coordinate being in a certain place at a certain time to be part of something that seems worth doing, or until you coordinate the departure time or place of the night with a newly known group. This must of course be balanced with the desire to be part of the social structure of groups that travel for camaraderie and friendship as the Trail itself sorts out the different people as the Trail is very wise and has seen it all.

The lesson of Einstein’s special theory of relativity: the shelter will move away as you get closer to its actual location. This distance increases in proportion to the intensity of the rain falling on you at that time.

The Vault Mice Lesson: All Vaults have Mice. The closer your head is to the wall of the shelter, the more likely you are to be introduced to someone close and personal in the middle of the night.

The lesson of going to bed early and getting up early: trail time is 5am. Bedtime is at 8 p.m.

The lesson of Hermoine’s handbag (from the Harry Potter films): the shelter can expand to accommodate as many hikers as needed, no matter how small, when it rains.

The Camp Shoe Lesson: Bring Camp Shoes

The lesson of White Stag (an outdoor leadership program): drink your water, love your feet.

The Lesson of Trekking Poles: Eventually everyone uses trekking poles at some point (or gets creative with poles from the ground)

The Accounts Payable Lesson: On the trail, cash is king. Credit cards are useless at best on trail resources.

The lesson of food, water and showers: Never miss out on offered food, a refill source of water or a free shower

The Snore Hostel Dorm Lesson: The loudest snore will come from the person who finds it easiest to get back to sleep

The Lesson of Toilet Paper and Zip Lock Bags


: On the Trail commodity exchange, these are the most valuable asset classes

The Lesson of Weather Forecasting: Weather forecasts can be somewhat accurate in the normal world, however, the adjacent long strip of thin land on either side of the AT is its own special weather corridor where supercomputer models and the calculations of the real world don’t. to apply.

The lesson of humidity: Everything in your bag will always be damp. Not necessarily wet, but definitely damp.

Many more lessons still to be learned.

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