What is this blog about?

My name is Lori. In August, 2014, I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago trail. Feel free to join me on my adventure by following me on this blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thru Hike preperation

Forgive me group, for it has been 55 days since my last post.
There is no excuse...but for reals, I have been busy preparing for this crazy adventure that is in such near reach at this point.

For starters, and I know that I might have an unhealthy obsession with tent stakes, but.. I have to get this off my chest. Last time I posted, I put a picture of the new stakes that I just bought to replace the ones that I fired. Well, they are not exactly as the picture shows. In fact, they are pretty much the same as my stakes that came with my tent, only bigger and heavier. Bogus!
Finally, I bought a 3rd set of new stakes that will do the job. Here is a picture of them next to the other "new ones". I know you were all dying to compare the picture with the last post. The "newest ones" are a shepards hook style, and have bright orange colored top so I don't step on them so easy.

Along the AT, there are many cool hiking towns that either intersect with the trail, or are a short ride or walk into town from the trail. Most AT thru hikers do not plan on having many drop boxes. (Drop Box: A package pre-packed by a hiker which contains all or most necessities to resupply, including food, medicine, etc.) I am part of the smaller group who is relying on resupplying almost solely on drop boxes. Since I am vegetarian, I wanted to ensure that I am getting proper nutrition, and don't have to live off of the same Lipton noodle dinner every night for 6 months. My friends Jose and Kay will be my drop box support group. I will have the boxes packed and ready for them with an address and approximate date of my arrival. I will be in touch with them along the trail as my dates may change. Most places will hold a hikers package for a bout two weeks if needed.
What a box of 180 dehydrated dinners looks like

 I have mentioned them before, but the company I bought my food from is www.packlitefoods.com
They are an awesome family business out of Idaho. I ordered all my dinners through them. They have 7 different dinners to choose from, so I will have something different for each night of the week. They gave me a generous discount since I ordered such a large amount at one time. Their food is all vegetarian, and all delicious. I made sure to try each of them before ordering.
I went to BJ's (wholesale food store similar to Costco) to get most of my other supplies.
What my guest room has looked like for the last 6 months
Many purchases from Amazon and BJ's
Baby wipes, nuts, Emergenc-C, zone bars, oh my!

In my next post, I will show you what I have in teach drop box. I will be putting them all together soon.

Chocolate (can't make trail mix without it), toothbrushes, benadry, and 5hr energy drinks!

I had some great things happen to me this past month. SPONSORSHIPS!!
My gym, Shapes, will be sponsoring me by giving me a free month for every 500 miles I hike. Hopefully that means I will be getting 4 free months when I return home from my thru hike. Shapes has been pretty helpful to me in my training. Since I live in Florida, I don't have the opportunity to actually train in the mountains very often. I have found that the hard core cardio classes at the gym have been the best for preparing me for the rigorous hiking I will be doing. My favorite is the kickboxing class. It uses all the muscles in my body, and includes a lot of training with balance.
Another way I have been training is with hot yoga. I go to "Body Heat" for this class. This is not only training for strength and flexibility, but mostly psychological training. It is a 90 minute difficult yoga class in a room set at about 102 degrees. You really need to push yourself to keep going. While it is acceptable to lay on your mat and rest whenever you need it, I have made a point to do the full class every time, trying to train my mind not to give up. It has really been helpful.
Emergen-C has also decided to sponsor me through my thru hike. In my photos, there is two large boxes of their product, which I will be able to return to BJ's because Emergen-C will be sending me all the product I need for my hike. Very exciting! This is a great way to get my vitamins on the trail while hydrating. It will help keep my immunity up to par.
Another one of my favorite products is 5-hour energy. This one is an expensive one to stock up on. When I inquired, their company did not have any sponsorships available, but they wanted to send me some "good will samples" Their idea of a good will sample was a box of 48 bottles of 5hr energy! AMAZING!! This quick little shot really does give a great boost of energy when needed. I always take them with me when I am hiking.

I am amazed at the support I have been given for this hike. I am so appreciative!

Another big step in my preparation that I completed this week is mapping out, tentatively, my entire hike. I needed to know which places I will be stopping for my hike to pick up drop boxes, and about what day I would arrive, so my drop box team can plan.
Making a "master plan" for a thru hike may seem taboo for a lot of hikers. Many people are out there to be in nature with no worries, and no plans. I decided that this wasn't going to work for a person who needed to resupply fully with drop boxes. I needed a plan. I too was a little hesitant to make a plan, because I want to to be spontaneous.
Making this master plan was the best thing I have done yet as far as planning. I was amazed at how much of my anxiety levels were lowered after making it. It makes sense to me now. I know where and approximately when I will be resupplying. Thus, I know how many days in a row I will be on the trail at a time, and which days I will be able to take a rest if needed. I have marked out every hostel and hotel that I will be able to take a shower and do laundry. I feel so much better now to see that those things can happen more frequently than I had before thought. There are many hostels right on the trail that offer those services...you just need to do the research.
I looked at every website, when available, for every hostel or hotel I will stay at. This way, I know I am probably getting the best experience in each stop. The hostels seem amazing! Of course some of them will be not much to brag about, but some are just like the cutest ever B&B, and still dirt cheap. There is one place that is a fairly pricy yoga retreat, only for hikers, they provide shelter at hostel prices. I can't wait to see all of the awesome hiker towns! Mapping out my hike was absolutely like thru hiking mentally. I feel that it prepared me better, and got me more excited, all the same. I am really going to make it....all 2184.2 miles of it!
to end this post, I want to show everyone the guidebook I will be using. A friend found this great review, and it shows in detail how I will use it as a guide and a map. Watch if you are interested.
The AT Guide