Picking up the pace…and settling into a rhythm


I have entered the fourth state in my Appalachian Trail journey, Massachusetts. My home to one my lifetime goals (run Boston Marathon), one my favourite films (The Departed), as well as my good friend Tasha, who climbed Katahdin together to begin this journey.

As the mountains get smaller, it’s getting easier to go further each day. Two days ago, I covered the longest distance in one day (30km). The next day, I did it again (almost 32km). I’m trying not to go too crazy too quickly though, and am taking a “down”day today (18km), to help my muscles rest after a long day.

Follow routine

Now that I’ve been on trail for almost 8 weeks, I’ve settled into a good routine for my hiking days. Below is an example of a typical trail day.

Alarm goes off at 5:30am Get up, grab your bear bag, and then go back to your tent.

5:30-6:30 am: Prepare for the day. Get breakfast. Currently, there are two options: chocolate Breakfast Essentials (similarly to a powdered Up and Take for the Aussies), and poptarts. Put on hiking clothes. Set up your tent. Check out FarOut app to see the proposed finish point, locations for breaks, and other highlights. This is my last summer run.

6:30 am: Quick stretching, turn on my Garmin Inreach (locator beacon), and start hiking.

After one hour: Take a break, drink some water, and then check the map.

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After 2 hours: a more substantial stop. Take off your pack, eat some food, drink some fluids, and check your map. Currently, I have a rotation of snacks (I eat many snacks throughout the day rather than lunch and small snack breaks): Clif bars. Luna bars. Metrx bars. Pro bars. Cashews. Peanut butter m&ms. Biscuits with peanut butter.

Sometimes I change the timing of my breaks to take advantage of a beautiful view or to stop at a shelter. I alternate the breaks mentioned above throughout my hike.

Sometimes I listen music or a podcast if I’m having a bad day. Otherwise, I let my mind wander in the natural world.

Reach campsite/shelter between 5:00pm and 6:30pm I like to be done by 6pm, so I have a few hours to relax before I go to bed.

Have a protein bar and electrolyte drinks at camp. If you’re tenting, or if you’re sleeping in a shelter, set up a tent. After washing your hands, wash your clothes and change into camp clothes. “wash”. Cook and serve dinner. Hang a bear bag a good distance from my tent, or place it in a bear box, if possible. Do a daily journal entry, then read a bit before going to bed (usually between 8-8:30pm).

It is certainly a simple life on the trail. While the above day may sound boring to most people, I enjoy the simplicity and beauty that comes with trail life.

Continue onwards to more adventures


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