Winter is nearing an end and it is officially the start of NOBO Appalachian Trail thru-hiker season!
Here are some last-minute tips and inspiration if you are about to start a thru-hike. Some are vegan-specific, others are just some general thoughts and food for thought for those first days:
- I recommend that you carry a few extra dinners with you from Springer Mountain. The first resupply, at Neel’s Gap, is rather limited. I picked up some peanut butter and bagels but was actually happy that I had overpacked from the beginning and had some extra dinners. There were plenty of snacks though, and trail magic when I passed through too (with veggie burgers!).
- Hiawassee, GA will be your first big resupply, there are several big grocery stores, one had a nice natural food section. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to find good vegan options. We ate at the Mexican restaurant in town, they had several options with veggies and beans.
- Don’t get discouraged if anyone tries to tell you anything negative about hiking vegan, anyone can finish a thru-hike, promise. Stay positive!
- Once you start, if you find some aspect of your hike (food or otherwise) is not working out, you can change it! You have six months to figure it out, there’s no rush. Don’t worry about it.
- Duct-tape any spots of rubbing on your feet before they turn into blisters. Seriously.
Get ready for what will probably be one of the most incredible experiences of your life! For me it was the best and worst thing I ever did. The lows will be low, and the rain will suck, but the highs will be unbelievable. You’ll meet some wonderful people, see some beautiful country, you’ll figure out real quick what’s important and what isn’t, you’ll love it and hate it, but you’ll learn a ton and have an amazing experience. Take one day at a time, it’s the only way. Don’t forget to look up.
Happy Trails! Drop me a line some time…
Have any other tips to add? leave them in the comments