T Minus Nine Days

I've been waking at five each morning, which is unusual for me, at least so far this year. For the past week I've been "heads down" working out logistics, and things you don't normally associate with hiking like insurance and other grown up stuff. I've been getting up so early because as soon as my eyes open I immediately get excited about this thing that I'm planning. I leap out of bed and start looking at maps, reading forums, and weighing things. 

I tore myself away from the computer this afternoon and put together a good estimate of what my trail load will be. With water and food for two days, the whole pack sits at just over 25 pounds. I carried it up Mount Pisgah, which I can see from my porch here in Hominy Valley. The round trip is only three miles with 750 feet of elevation change (each way, not total.) I've been hiking all winter with a much heavier load, so this felt very comfortable and stable. 

Cold Mountain as seen from Mount Pisgah

I'm trying to wean myself from using a camelback, as many accounts I've read suggest that most thru hikers switch to a pair of Gatorade bottles early along the trail. 

I'll probably do a few more shakedowns with increasing mileage between now and next Saturday. I still have much to do, such as preparing mail drops and gear swaps, so I'll still be busy for the next nine days, but nevertheless my mind will be racing!

Give me something to think about (and write about!) and let me know what questions and answers you would like to know about this hike. You can use the comments section below and you don't even have to register!