Thursday, June 24, 2010

Just Call Me Hiker Trash

Today has been a rest day.  Of course, we had a few chores to do, but not many and they were out of the way by mid-morning.

For a special treat, Gene took me to the Amherst Diner for breakfast.  Not the best food we’ve had, but not the worst, although the sausage gravy was pretty good.  Still, it was nice not to fix breakfast and especially nice not to have to clean up the mess.

I spent the better part of my day trying to get my photos organized and copied and my computer backed up.  It’s been a while.  One of these days I’m going to be sorry I don’t do that more regularly.

Gene spent his time trying to work out campground reservations for the couple weeks after we leave here.  We are scheduled to leave on July 6 and will be heading northeast in the general direction of Maine.

The hiking community on the Appalachian Trail is made up of various groups.  We have found it somewhat difficult to accurately identify ourselves when others ask what we are doing.  We are section hikers--hiking an extended distance between two points along the trail.  The term “section hiking” generally implies backpacking.  We are still doing a 300 mile section even though we’re not backpacking that distance.  However, we are day-hiking.  We carry light pack (about 8 lbs) and we go home at the end of every day.  Some thru-hikers will arrange for a shuttle and hike one day without carrying all of their backpacking gear.  They call this slack packing because their large backpacks are “slack” since they’re nearly empty.   If the shuttle service is available, they may do this several days in a row--exactly what we’re doing.  The only difference is we’re running our own shuttle and we’re carrying day packs instead of backpacks.  This still seems to be the most appropriate group with which to identify ourselves.  So when people ask, we say we’re slack packing.

Long distance hikers often have to replace boots during a hike.  If they plan ahead, they get an extra pair of boots broken in and will have someone mail these new boots to them when needed.  Pennsylvania is about the point where boots wear out.  A pair of boots are typically good for about a thousand miles.  My boots have worn out.  I’m trying to make them last through this section because I want to get new boots at LL Bean when we are in Maine.  The inside lining on the back has holes in it and is starting to rub blisters on my upper heel.  The common solution or short-term fix of choice for hikers is duct tape.  Gene put a piece on each boot and it seems to be doing the trick for now.  I think I have arrived in the long-distance hiking community now that I have duct tape holding my boots together.

Just call me slack packing hiker trash.

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