17th April 2017

16.7 miles

Hawk Mountain camp (7.4) to Lance Creek Camp (24)

Last night a bear could have come into my tent and slept next to me and I wouldn’t have known. I was in a very deep sleep. I guess my body needed it. As a result I woke refreshed and ready for another day.

It was around 7.45am when I started hiking. Sunrise is around 7am so I got moving quite quickly. The hills were rolling and the views were great from the top of the countless mountains I climbed today. Many of the trees are just coming to life after a leafless winter. This aids with the extensive views through the Georgian scrub.

I started to catch up to other hikers. Mostly the ones with very big, very heavy backpacks. I don’t really want to help them with lightening their packs. I don’t want to be the guy that might come across the wrong way. I did help two hikers with their packs and other information only after they started asking me questions about my gear. In the next town they should each lose 10 pounds of unneeded gear from their packs. I hope this helps the strain on their body.

I passed maybe 20 hikers today. There seems to be two types of hikes on the Appalachian Trail. The younger guys and the older guys, girls are not very common on the trail in my first couple of days, very different from the Pacific Crest Trail so far. Respect to all the hikers out here. 

I’ve talked with a few hikers and found two who hiked other long trails, both the PCT. Par 3 hiked the same year as me (I never met him) and another guy who hiked last year. Everyone else is on their first long trail. I know that magical yet painful feeling they have right now so early in the trail.

So far my body is holding up fine, no blisters or sore feet. Though I am a bit tired as I sit in my tent typing up this blog post listening to the Georgian rain outside. I suspect I’ll sleep very well again tonight. My tent is pitched right next to the bear poles, so I’ll be the first awake if a bear comes into camp. The guy sleeping in the tent right next to me did mention that he wanted to wrestle with a bear, ‘it’s on my bucket list’, he said. I’m sure he could use one of the 7 knives he is carrying. Welcome to the Appalachian Trail.

Home made cookies, thank you Crunchmaster’s mum.

Fresh buds on the trees

10am. I wonder if Bill Bryson or his buddy are in the trail. Anybody read the book?

Loads of people for the first time


Par 3 from the PCT15 and Carisa.

Waiting for those clouds to turn into a thunderstorm

26 Responses

  1. Nomadic Pawprints

    I’ve heard so many times about the amount of stuff most AT backpackers start with especially if it’s their first long trail/ thru-hike.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Unfortunately there’s been a lot of trash and clothing in the trail, I even found some unopened beers which I drank and cleaned up the trail!!

    • BikeHikeSafari

      A pole or wire is suspended above the ground to hang food at night away from bears.

      • Lucie

        Shhhhh, you should have gone with “it’s where the bears come and dance a little show to beg for food” (… and now I have images of a bear pole-dancer!) 😉

  2. Mike D.

    So great to see you back on the trail! Please share some facts about the AT when you have a chance. Highest elevation, distance, expected time to complete, etc.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Thanks Dave, I’ll try. I’ve done little research in the trail but I will relay what I find out.

  3. Greg

    On transam bike trip last year met a couple hiking AT with a French press. Made great coffee. Good luck my third thru hike following you.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Cheers Greg, I drink filtered coffee when I cycle tour, I carry a coffee filter. Not when hiking.

  4. lifetimetrails

    Wow! Such a great pic when you are waiting for the thunderstorm to arrive…!!
    Everything looks so familiar. Like hiking here in Germany. It’s a shame I cannot be out there.
    Enjoy every step!!

  5. andy

    how are they going to lighten their packs? less pairs of shoes? less knives?

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Only the essentials, only the essentials….. the rest is just an unneeded luxury

  6. Mike D.

    Have you seen the Ohuhu wood burning backpacking stove? It’s cheap and burns word very efficiently. You won’t have to carry fuel.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      My small titanium stove can also burn wood if I remove the alcohol stove section. So I’ll be fine

  7. Karen Benjamin

    Great pictures of course. I am so happy to be following you on the AT!!!

  8. Wright

    LOL…yes, i did read the Bill Bryson book AND saw the movie! Good luck on the AT!! I’m looking forward to living it with you….

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Bill and his buddy might be on trail. I also enjoyed the book and movie

  9. Laurence Penman

    Hi Brad, Walk in the Woods is my favourite book, I laugh out loud reading some of the passages. The real laugh is Robert Redford playing the part of Bill Bryson.I haven’t seen the movie, but it must bring a smile to Bill Bryson’s face. Jennifer and i are starting to plan a trip to Canada July Aug next year. I fancy a week in Baanf doing short walks, Jen wants to see bears and orcas.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Hey Laurence, good to hear from you. The book is better than the movie. Loads of great walks around Banff, you guys will love it. I saw a load of Orcas and Whales at Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island, search that place on the search tab of my blog. It was amazing.

  10. Heather

    Loved reading A Walk in the Woods and also seeing the movie. For some reason, I thought bears weren’t as plentiful on the AT. Do people use bear canisters there? Those Indian marker trees have always fascinated me.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      From my understanding bears are more common on the AT the both the other trails combined. I think just north of here in the Smokie Mountain NP is the most dense. I guess I’ll find out soon.

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