Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My 1st (Pseudo) Fastpacking Adventure on the Appalachian Trail

My 1st Solo Pseudo Fastpacking Adventure on the AT
I ran 23+ miles from Mechanicsburg to Pine Grove Furnace on the AT by myself with only my 5 L hydration pack. I stayed there overnight and ran back the next morning. I hiked where I couldn't run because of the terrain and when I got tired. 

Mom dropped me off at the AT trail head on Trindle Road in Mechancisburg and photojournaled the beginning of my journey. 

All Geared Up 
In my Viper 5 (liter) hydration pack are 2 L of water in a bladder, 6 single servings of almond butter, 6 packs of vanilla Gu, a blanket, toilet paper, a signal mirror, duct tape, a long sleeved shirt, an orange notebook, a pen, a compass, an AT map, a whistle, a headlamp, a multi-tool, a fire starter, Band-Aids, face wipes, an extra pair of socks, a blaze orange hat, and gloves.
 

White Blazes Where the AT Crosses Route 641, Trindle Road

Going...
It took me a good 5 miles to get used to the extra weight on my back and find some balance.

...going...

...gone.

I Ran 2 Miles Off Trail (By Accident) but Found a Great View
The only time I stopped on the trail was at about mile 6 when I sat down to pop a blister, which I did with the knife on my multi-tool, and put some Band-Aids over it. The distraction from the stinging wounds allowed me to accidentally go off path, but I wound up finding something beautiful. Note to self: light blue blazes are not the same as white blazes. 

Female Bunk Room in the Ironmaster's Mansion
When I got to the hostel, I was so shaky that I had to sit down for a few minutes before I could sign my name to rent a bed for the night. But I got dinner there and recovered quickly, chatting with two AT thru-hikers and the innkeeper. My hips were so sore that I couldn't sleep. But I had wanted to spend a night in the mansion for years, and I finally did :)

Fog on Fuller Lake
Within the last 8 miles of my first day of running, I didn't think I'd be able to get up again the next day and do it all over again. But I told myself I could just take it slow, hike the whole thing if I needed to, and I could do it. 

I Love Bridges
I was able to run about 2/3 of the entire journey, and I hiked the other 1/3.

Rocky Trails
Some areas of the trail required rock navigation, which broke up the monotony of the trail, but were hazardous on shaky legs on the return journey.

One Mile to Go
I called my mom when I got to Boiling Springs and asked her to pick me up on Trindle Road in an hour. Bring water. I had just run out with 4 miles to go. Within my last mile, I heard her voice. She hiked towards me with a bottle of water and joined me for the home stretch of my journey. 

Almost There!
My hips hurt and I had blisters on my toes the size and color of purple grapes, but I did run the last few yards.

Selfie with the Signpost
Safely back to where I started, but filled with more confidence, strength, and joy.

Dedication: I dedicate this adventure to someone I used to know who fueled my interest in trails, hiking, and camping. We had plans to take a long journey together, but it never happened. 
Thank you for being a small part of my journey, but I left you on the trail and will continue without you. 

2 comments:

Jodi Stuber said...

Wow you are so badass. I think I would be too chicken to attempt this..let alone by myself. This is awesome. 😆

Anne Greenawalt said...

Thanks! I took a wilderness survival course so I'd feel a little safer and more confident running through the woods alone :)