6 things I have learned

This journey has been so incredible already and I have really only just begun. it is so much fun to learn new things to help make this adventure even more enjoyable. Here are 10 of those findings. Some may seem simple but they are very valuable. 

1) What’s essential. This is different for everyone. Ridge runner Sisu in Georgia said when choosing gear you need to ask yourself 1 question, “Are you here to hike or camp? Choose what will help you be successful with you hike.” 

I decided to go without all luxury items. I basically reduced my pack from 34 +/- pounds to 27 +/-pounds. That’s with 4-5 days food and 1 days water. I don’t miss a thing. Mother Nature is my comfort. I have a tent, sleeping bag, pad, pjs, rain coat, hat, mittens, small first stuff, water filtration, rope, gps, GoPro, iPhone, battery supply and cables. And camp shoes. 

2) How to use bear cables. Most shelters are equipped with cables to hang your food bag so the Bears don’t feast. 

3) How to throw a bear line. When cables are not present we have to hang our food in the trees. All hikers are encouraged to bring 50 feet of rope. The skill for throwing a line is simple. Locate a branch high off the ground. Choose a rock to wind several feet of rope on. Use your best Roger Clemens pitching form and hurl the rock over the branch. In theory the rock carries the rope over the branch and unwinds without getting caught. It is important to wrap enough rope around the rock so you can reach it. Then attach your bag of food. Pull it up as high as you can and tie it off. 

4) How to dry off using my raincoat while it is still raining. This is tricking but with patience it works and has already saved me from cold nights on several occasions. I have a very nice LLBean Goretex proshell rain jacket. It keepse warm and dry until I sweat threw. But once I get to the shelter I keepy wet shirt on and zip up my coat. My body heat will dry out my shirt since my coat actually doesbreathe. This has worked well for me. 

5) How to bandage a blister. Don’t pop it. I found Glacier Gel bandages to be the best. They are gel cushioning, cooling and protective.  

6) How to collect water from a small water source. Most water sources have a nice flow and or cascading stream. Several on the other hand are tiny little drizzles. I am using a Sawyer Squeeze filter system that utilizes bags to collect the water then squeeze the bad water through a filter into my Nalgene. Sometimes the source doesn’t flow easily into my collection bag so I must use a cup (the bottom of my Jetboil) to fill the bag. On two occasions it was painstakingly slow at 1 ounce at a time for my 64 and 32 ounce bags. 

This truly is a learning experience as much as it is an adventure. 

Happy Hiking 


Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.