On Monday we did a shake-down hike. This means we used most of our gear to test it and also insure that it did not look brand new the first day of the trail in Georgia.
After pictures at homes we set off for Newton Hills. We discussed our feelings about the trail, including what we are nervous about. We realized that we are going to have to have tough love sometimes and how we need to be honest about we are doing.
We arrived at Newton Hills and hefted our packs to start the hike. Renee’s pack came in at 43 lbs. and Alison’s was 38 lbs. Ten pounds of Renee’s pack weight was a leg weight to simulate what we would be taking in food.
The first downhill was nasty. It wasn’t any better on the way back uphill. But then we remembered we have hiking poles. Hiking poles are great! It’s like you have four legs instead of two and helps greatly with stability. Renee thinks she may try this with running.
We hiked about an hour, slack-packed up the look-out tower, and then tried out our camping stove. (yes, stove does not rhyme with hour/tower, but we didn’t take a shower) We also tried the steri pen but we have to figure out what the blinking light means. The Swan Lake water still tasted like fish. After stroganoff, we walked for 2 more hours along some horse trails and we had to watch out for road apples. The trail was fairly level in most spots and we realized the AT will be more like the last section-all up hill!
Things we learned:-Water boils faster when you turn the stove on high. Our pocket rocket does sound like a rocket. It roars! -Trekking poles are leg savers. -Renee will get a new/larger back-pack. One that can carry a heavier load so we can take more food. -We don’t like walking in sandy soil. -We will get callouses in interesting places. -On pasta side of stroganoff is not enough to feed 2 hungry hikers. It just whet our appetite. -There are a lot of places to adjust on a backpack and we haven’t figured out the perfect fit yet. -We like that there are two of us so we don’t have to take off our packs to get at our water. -Alison’s left knee doesn’t like going up hill and Renee’s left knee doesn’t like going down hill. – We both have some hot spots/blisters on our feet but hopefully we will figure that out. -We have no idea how far we hiked. It might have been six miles or might have been only 4. -We were tired afterwards. Three hours of hiking wiped us out.