Free Spirit’s ( Al's )

Appalachian Trail Journal

Pennsylvania - Part 1

Dates .... April 22 through May 7
Miles .... 213 miles total 1999
From .... PenMar at the PA / MD state line
To ......... Wind Gap PA

Preparation and Planning

Years in the dreaming / wanna do it stage, real planning began in November 1998 and took hold with serious reading and list building in Florida December and January. Trail maps and guides and equipment were ordered. The backpack was packed and weighed, repacked, and reweighed until reduced from 50 pounds to a livable 36.5 pounds, including first week’s food and 1 quart of water. See Appendix a - Gear List and How it worked. The route, approximate time schedule and MAIL pickup points (Duncannon, Port Clinton, Delaware Water Gap) were established, food was purchased, tested and repackaged. Appendix B lists my food/menu.

Toiletries and consumables as well as map and guidebook sections were broken down into one week quantities and put into mail point distribution boxes, each weighing about 8.5 pounds, net. This was a critical and worthwhile effort in reducing pack weight. Example: 3 weeks worth of soap, shampoo, dish detergent and toilet paper weighed 14.5 ounces. Repackaged to one week, same items weighed only 6.5 ounces. Yes, I shortened the handles on my toothbrush and razor and only took one of the two pots in my cook kit.

Anticipation grew with each moment spent in preparation. Conditioning hikes - some in the rain - proved out gear and enabled me to keep pretty much to my 15 miles/day, 100 miles per week schedule despite the trail being far more challenging than anticipated. Three wonderful people helped/encouraged and supported me: John, of course, Jim Yeich an AT trail veteran, athlete, and all around great guy, and John Brinda the super hiker that solo hiked 4800 miles from Florida to the northernmost tip of Canada’s Gaspe` Peninsula in 9 months. And of course numerous friends that encouraged, supported or dared me to do it.

I hiked alone - but do not recommend it and probably will not hike alone in the future. It is reasonable to assume you WILL be hurt on the trail. Alone, assuming you are ON the trail, you may wait for days for help to arrive. Also, alone, you are very vulnerable to the kooks and wackos out there. If they are not “on the trail”, they are lurking at road crossings, road access parking points, using trail facilities for “party” grounds, or just out there waiting to make your day. Read the paper. This is the 90`s. Also, vandalism and trash will remind you that less desirable characters are everywhere.

Daily Journal Entries

~ Journal Part 1 ~

4/28/99 4/30/99 5/01/99

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Hiking Partners Wanted

Spring/Fall hikes - 15 miles/day - Contact Al.
Last Updated 4/26/2000