START: Stealth site close to Sky Meadows Side Trail, VA
FINISH: Bearfence Mountain Hut, VA
DISTANCE: 70.9 miles (114.1 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 35.4 miles (57 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1273.2 miles (2048.6 km)
Shenandoah: The weather on November 27 was ordinary to say the least. Showers, turned to rain which as the thermometer dropped became snow. The following day was a different story. Shenandoah National Park was bathed in sunshine, temps were warmer and the ground was covered in an ethereal blanket of glistening snow. Regular ridge-top vistas and easy terrain made for a mellow, enjoyable day in which the miles flowed easily and the hours flew by.
5 Useful Qualities or Skills for the Aspiring Solo Thru Hiker: It is worth noting that on both the AT and PCT, many, if not most hikers who plan a solo journey, actually end up hiking together with other like-minded souls before even a hundred miles have been covered.
1. Being comfortable in your own company : To some extent this can be learnt or at least improved. Indeed, for many people a thru hike represents a hitherto unknown opportunity to spend a great deal of time alone. For some this is a gift; for others a potential nightmare. For the latter group, it may be worth remembering that ‘stumbling blocks are often just stepping stones in disguise’.
2. Able to handle discomfort and pain stoically: No one else around to hear your moans and groans.
3. Self-Motivated: During the tough times, there is no one to turn to for advice or encouragement.
4. First Aid: If the unexpected occurs and assistance is not at hand, you need to have the skills and training to deal with the situation.
5. Navigation & Routefinding: Not an issue during a regular season hike on the AT; the CDT is a different story. So to is the High Sierra and potentially also northern Washington on the PCT.
Mealpack: I have eaten approximately 600 (that’s not a typo) of these bars over the past 17 months. Nutritious, filling and calorie-laden, if truth be told they probably aren’t the tastiest health/energy bar on the market. That being said I personally quite like the taste and they are great value for money when bought in bulk. The photo below of me with a Mealpack bar is dedicated to thru hiking friends Beardoh, Sweet Pea and The Gambler, all of whom are longtime devotees of Mealpack products (chuckle, chuckle).