Four legs

Ready for shake-down

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.

About Renee

I enjoy adventures. Whether running marathons, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, working with Service Adventure, or working with youth as Program Director of Swan Lake Christian Camp for 9 years, I have encountered many an adventure. On this site I will try to capture the big and small ones for you. Enjoy!

Posted on March 28, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Sounds like it was a good shake down, profitable one 🙂

  2. Cheryl Lehmann

    Renee and Allison, One thing I want to remind you about hiking that I learned from experience when hiking down into the Grand Canyon. When going down hill it is best to kind of shuffle down or at least take little lighter steps. My first trip down into the canyon I just kind of jolted/jammed my legs down the trail and I was so sore the next day I could hardly walk!!!! The next year when I went I did more of a shuffling of my feet and that worked much better. That however was almost all down hill one day and back up the next. You might have more of a varied trail I don’t know, but just wanted to let you know my experience.
    Good Luck and my prayers will be with you!

  3. Chris 'Mr. BuffaloMan' Johnson

    6 to 8 miles is going to be REAL tough for the first several days. It will totally wipe you out and will take all day. Start early everyday. My first 12 mile day wasn’t until the GA/NC line and I thought it was going to kill me. Don’t worry. By mid VA you will be capable of back-to-back 20s. Remember that you are not the only new people out there. Take sollace in the knowledge that everyone will be in exactly the same situation that you are in. Everyone will hurt, be thoroughly exhausted and smell far worse than they ever expected was possible (Ah…Good times). Take it easy. Have fun out there.

  4. Thanks for the advice everyone!

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