Monday, February 25, 2013

Gear Trip #1

We’re on our way to the local Black Creek Outfitters to test out some packs and shoes and things. Probably won’t pick up anything today, but it will be nice to finally put my hands on the things I’ve been looking at on the Internet for weeks now. When you're not very familiar with all of this outdoorsy stuff, it really makes a difference being able to walk into a store and handle something.

Also, the local REI is opening this having it's grand opening this weekend, which means there will be lots of opportunities to get free REI money and sign up for credit cards and memberships. Oh, and did I mention there will be free breakfast?! So stoked!

I’ll update later with what I tried on, liked and didn’t like. Either way, it’s a step in the right direction!


Well that was unproductive! Black Creek Outfitters had very little selection and absolutely no customer service. We were the only customers they had and still no one came by to assist us. I'm pretty disappointed. Thankfully Chase knows his way around packs and boots and things, but they didn’t have any display size small packs to try on. I tried on two pairs of boots though, and determined I probably need a 7.5, which makes sense since I normally wear a 6.5. It's all about how the shoe fits though, so there are many more brands and styles to try on.

The search continues!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Student loans and the AT

At the time that I will be hiking, my student loans will be in full repayment swing. I’m graduating this semester, so I still have 8 months to pay off as much as I can. I am just going to put as much as I can afford toward my student debt, and put the rest toward saving up for the trip. I’m planning on just making the minimum payment while actually hiking, or maybe the minimum + $20, just so I know I’m working down that principle some. I'm also going to budget for 7 or 8 months of paying that loan payment, so I have some cushion when I get back and have some time to find another

I was also looking into the various types of repayment plans. We shall see how it all pans out...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crunched some numbers today....

If I move out of my apartment and we split a storage unit and I put my phone on hold, AND I pay minimum amounts on my loans and credit cards, then I only need to save around $1100 to take care of all of my “at home” nonsense.

That’s not so bad, right? Right?


Bell's Expedition Stout

Bell’s “Expedition Stout”

88 B+

This robust winter seasonal is built to last through a long expedition, or at least an evening of slow sipping thanks to a respectable amount of alcohol. Layers of chocolate transition into a bitter coffee and dark fruit combination. It’s got sort of a chocolate orange vibe, merging with blackberry and espresso. Alcohol creates a cherry syrup aftertaste that peeks out despite the heavy body. I can’t help but be distracted by the slick thickness of the mouth feel, often syrupy in consistency. More carbonation could have leveled this out. Aside from that, the flavor of the roasted malt is quite good, but hops bring upon a good deal of sourness that doesn’t work to much advantage.

Overall, I could do for a tad less alcohol, because I find it adds a bit too much of a cherry cough syrup aftertaste, offsetting what is otherwise a very good beer. The malt layering of chocolate, coffee, and fruit is interesting and hits with a richness of depth not often found. This makes the 4th or 5th stout from Bell’s and each one is good because of the attention given to malt. Despite the alcoholic negatives, I quite like it. However, I can’t quite recommend this one because I realize it isn’t for everyone.



Grand Rapids, Michigan
Courtesy of BeerRitual 

This is an “A” beer in my book. And aptly named!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Physical Preparations

Being physically prepared for thru-hiking is something I’m really concerned about, and this article addressed my concerns and made some great points. I know that being mentally prepared for the long journey is key to finishing, but I know that if I’m struggling physically, I’ll be more moody and more easy to break mentally.

Today I started on the road to fitness that I’ve attempted a hundred times before but this time with a new ultimate goal in mind; to be in shape so that I can thru-hike the AT without absolutely hating my body for being weak. Granted I didn’t do much besides a little jogging and stair climbing, yet I still felt like I was making progress.

That being said, I need to come up with a routine that I can adjust based on how I’m progressing. For now, I think I’ll start with:

  • 2 miles of walking/jogging/running,
  • Climbing the Empire State Building (on the stair-master),

  • 30 squats,

  • 30 sit-ups,

  • 20 push-ups

I’m really out of shape, so I probably won’t do this much at first, but I hope to work up to it and then surpass these limits. I hope to go at least 3 times a week from now until we leave in February.


It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.

This will be my mantra as I take my first steps on the Appalachian Trail come next February.

If I move with deliberation and purpose, I will surely reach my goal: Katahdin. Baxter Peak. The Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. And I will surely be a more open and fulfilled person for having made the journey north from Springer Mountain, Georgia.

Accompanying my boyfriend and myself on our 2,184 mile journey will be our faithful companion, Sheila, the 4-year-old Australian Shepherd.