I started the trail on March 8 and am going pretty slow, but having an incredible time and have made it 1521 miles so far. I'm taking a 0 in the town of great barrington ma now. Ask me anything!

If you guys are interested in following my adventure check out my instagram @josh_tippett I started it last night so only have a few photos up now but I'll post older stuff for you guys

A guy in my hiking group is actually making a book about our adventure. Really amazing photographer his instagram @nicholasreichard he shoots on a 35 mm camera and an old medium format.

My main hiking partner's blog if anyone is interesting reading about day to day life on the trail. pieonthetrail.wordpress.com

My Proof: me on top of springer mountain ga: http://imgur.com/kOEff8a Me 2 days ago: http://imgur.com/hGNSFXC

. . Goodbye for now! Thank you everyone for the questions! I had a really awesome time answering! But it is time to take advantage of the hotel pool and town food. I will post lots of pictures from here on out on my instagram! Thanks everyone for the follows! I will definitely be doing a followup ama after I finish the trail to let anyone whose interested know how it goes. I will also answer questions left here later on tonight before I got to bed or before I leave town tonight. Thanks again!

Comments: 923 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

dazzlerdeej168 karma

I'm a huge fan of travel writer Bill Bryson, and loved his tale of hiking the AT, A Walk in the Woods. However, I understand many thru-hikers are upset at the book. I wondered if you could explain why that is, and what your views are on the book and upcoming movie adaptation?

Cheesebeard1025216 karma

For sure. So I haven't actually finished the book. I've read up to the point where they have started the trail and his friend throws all their food off of springer. The main reason I think people are upset with the book is the fact that it's the biggest a.t book out there and he didn't even finish the trail. People are also upset with it because it brings in a lot of people on the trail who don't know what they're doing and get themselves in trouble. The a.t is already the most popular trail in the world and already there are crowding issues with the start. Around 7000 people started last year and only like 470 finished. With the release of a big Hollywood movie about the a.t being released there will probably be a huge influx of ill prepared people. Baxter state park is already considering kicking the a.t out and moving the norther terminus out of katahdin. So really I just think people are nervous that the movie will be a catalyst for this and bring a lot of people who have no idea what they're doing to the trail.

FightForGlory124 karma

Pretty slow is better than fast. My friends and I did it in 3 months and 12 days and missed a lot of cool things. I am planning on going back with my wife and taking our time.

Have you left some trail magic?

What has been your favorite shelter so far?

Cheesebeard1025100 karma

Congrats that's really fast! I haven't left any but I fully intend on doing some next year. The amount of kindness I have been shown by trail angels is unbelievable. I don't know what I'm going to do for trail magic but it's going to involve beer in some manner. Favorite shelter so far would be 501 shelter for sure. Or camerrer fire tower in the smokies if that counts.

zebra-fart61 karma

Can you explain what trail magic is?

Cheesebeard1025151 karma

Sorry didn't see your question. Yeah trail magic where someone helps out hikers in some manner. It can be as simple as leaving a jug of fresh water by a road to extravagant as cooking a huge meal for all the hikers by a road or shelter. It's really amazing how often it happens and the kindness of people out there.

FightForGlory28 karma

Yea everyday we would measure out our ibuprofen and keep going lol. I think we had one zero day throughout it because of a tornado warning. Hell yea for 501 :)

Got another question, what are you using to do this AMA?

Cheesebeard102551 karma

Good old vitamin i. Good reason for a 0. We camped 5 miles from a tornado in pa. Scary shit. My phone. Galaxy s5

xboxg4mer48 karma

What other trails have you complete and how much, on average does it cost per trip?

Cheesebeard102576 karma

This is my first long distance trail. I've done quite a bit of weekend backpacking through n.c v.a and t.n. it's been a lot more expensive than I thought it would have been. So far around $4000. But I have also taken a lot of 0s.

highfiveman2745 karma

What do you mean by "taken a lot of 0s?"

Cheesebeard1025101 karma

0 days are days spent doing nothing. Like laying around in a hotel or something like that. They tend to be expensive since you're not making miles and you're eating in town.

highfiveman2736 karma

  • Are you doing this by yourself?
  • How much planning did you do beforehand?
  • How experienced of a hiker were you prior to this expedition?
  • Have you made a lot of friends on trail?
  • Do you have a trail nick-name?
  • When you started this, was there some existential reason....as in were you trying to find yourself or something like that?

Cheesebeard102550 karma

Yes I started this by myself but am now in a group of 4.

I knew I wanted to do this for the past seven years. But as far as planning I just sort of relied on past experience and just really following the guidebook.

I have backpacked throughout my life but never over a 100 miles in a trip before. I did work at an adventure camp for teens leading backpacking trips before this in the grayson highlands as well.

I have made tons of friends! People are incredible on the trail. Super nice.

My trail name is cheesebeard

Somewhat. I had just finished college and am really trying to find out what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Dizzy_Panda14 karma

So did you figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life?

Cheesebeard102560 karma

Lol somewhat. I think I'm going to abandon a career for a while. Most people I know who have been in a career for a long time are unhappy. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the model of go to school, get a job, get married, have kids; is not the key to happiness. So I think I'm just going to adventure for the forsee able future see if I can't figure out a way making money travelling and doing adventures.

bannibunny31 karma

How excited are you to take your first dump back home on your own toilet?

Cheesebeard102582 karma

I dream of the home throne.

ThereIsNoTri28 karma

Sounds like a blast. Two questions - do you go into towns to resupply on your own or do you have people meet you to help with that? - how fast did Scott Jurek go past you?

Cheesebeard102528 karma

I hitch hike into towns and resupply at grocery stores and gas stations. Scott jurek blasted past me while I was in nyc taking a few 0s unfortunately. I would have loved to wish him luck and got a picture but oh well

mattc28626 karma

What gear is in your pack?

Cheesebeard102552 karma

Right now I'm carrying a tarptent stratospire 2 tent, a thermarest xlite pad, rei brand 20 deg sleeping bag, xped inflatable pillow, silk liner, black Diamond headlamp, pocket rocket stove, food and food bag, fuel, platypus water bladder with a sawyer mini in line, a second set of clothes, 2 extra pairs of socks, leki poles, kindle, a chess board made from a pizza Hut box, 2 decks of magic the gathering, a kindle, toiletries, trowel and tp, a pot that's way too big...I think that's it. A journal. 2 Gatorade bottles. Some stuff sacks

Cheesebeard102527 karma

In cold weather I used trekking zip off pants instead of running shorts and had a beanie hat instead of sun hat. Capilene long underwater and smart wool thermal top. A north face nanopuff. I'll be getting this gear back soon since it gets cold again up in new hampshire

mattc2866 karma

Awesome! Follow up questions: What pack are you using, and do you have an estimate on your weight? What's been your longest one-day distance?

Cheesebeard102513 karma

Osprey atmos. Wouldn't suggest for weight reasons but is incredibly comfy. Base weight right now of like 24lbs I think not bad for not having any ultralight gear. I used what I had already. If I were to buy all new gear for a thru hike I would have done it differently. Longest day was 25 so far.

atthezoo22 karma

I'm right near GB. Need anything?

Cheesebeard10257 karma

Thank you so much! I think we are good but if something comes up I will definitely hit you up. Thanks!

amanzarak22 karma

Any interesting wildlife encounters so far?
Any crazy stories?

Cheesebeard102563 karma

Lol. Yeah one night while we were in n.j (which is notorious for bears) a bear climbed the tree our bear bag was hanging from and was able to lean out and swat the group of bags. It successfully ripped open my friend click's bear bag and was eating all his food when we finally realized and chased it away.

So a little different experience from other thru hikers: we are all a bunch of marvel nerds, so naturally we had to go and see the new avengers. So we get into this tiny town called pearisburg va which is like 20 miles from blacksburg va, that has a movie theater, and we can't figure out a ride. All the shuttle services were busy that day. So after a long while of brain storming we realize we can rent a car in town for aost the same price as a shuttle. So we rent a dodge avenger and went to see the avengers in blacksburg. Twice.

But crazy stories on trail not too much. You get the usual crazies and animal encounters. One night we camped through a huge thunderstorm that had tornadoes less than 5 miles away.

amanzarak12 karma

Awesome! That must be an amazing experience. I don't foresee having time to do a trail that long, but I have my eye on the Colorado Trail hopefully within the next year or two. Almost 500 miles, should be doable in around a month, but the mountain scenery is amazing. You planning on doing the PCT next? BTW, you should see Ant-Man if you're a Marvel fan. I enjoyed it more than AoU actually.

Cheesebeard102512 karma

Awesome! Do it! You should also consider the john muir trail if youre interested in something a bit shorter but still an excursion. Yeah I'm planning on triple crowning now. So pct will be in probably 2 years. I do plan on doing the annapurna circuit next August though. Planning on going to ant man today at noonish. There's a theater in this town. Woohoo!

bigmeaniehead19 karma

are you fucking anyone on the trail?

Cheesebeard102523 karma

I wish. There weren't many girls starting when I did and by the time later starters caught up to me people had already hooked up. Lots of people pink blaze though. Another reason for a lot of dropouts. If you wanted to do the trail and just hook up, start in april

bigmeaniehead11 karma

pink blaze?

and my primary reason for doing is just to do it and basically build a stronger foundation because ya know, people are meant to travel long distances and elevation changes would really help as well, but finding someone else while there would be pretty cool. I plan on starting next year after I finish up this little chapter in my life.

Cheesebeard102515 karma

Slowing down or speeding up miles to hook up or be in a trail relationship. Pretty much basing your decisions on hooking up.

bigmeaniehead7 karma

How are you aware where people are?

Cheesebeard102531 karma

Word travels on the trail. I keep in touch with people who are further ahead. There are also journals at the shelters where you can leave messages for people. You can also send word with south bounders. I had a message travel 200 miles south to me with a south bound section hiker which was pretty awesome

Cheesebeard10254 karma

Do it man! I had similar thoughts, it just didn't happen to me. Or at least not yet. But it does happen for lots of people.

OhHerroSpreen16 karma

Did you meet Dizzy? He's my brother in law and he started at the same time you did. He's only a week or so from Katahdin now though - he moved fast.

Cheesebeard102511 karma

Sick! congrats to him! The name isn't familiar but it's possible he didn't have a trail name when I would have been around him. Is he hiking in a group? If so what's the groups name?

LunchboxPCT16 karma

Were the mosquitos still bad right before getting into Great Barrington? I just finished the trail myself and had to literally run a few miles to the road they were so bad.

Cheesebeard102514 karma

Crazy bad!!! If you stopped they'd be on you immediately in the swampy board walk area. It was the worse they've been so far. Seriously impressive amount of mosquitoes.

Cheesebeard10254 karma

What's your trail name? Just finished this year?

adine_love15 karma

I live near Hanover, NH and Woodstock, VT, which both have sections of the AT. What could I do that would make a hiker's day (aside from offering rides into town in Woodstock)?

Cheesebeard102519 karma

Rides is always awesome! Hitchhiking can be hard. But beer and food is always a favorite of hikers at road sides. A place to crash is also primo trail magic!

KeatonsMask15 karma

Hey man, hope your hike is going well. Wanted to know your thoughts on through hiking vs section hiking? Me and my father have done sections of the a.t over the two years or so, but are crazy busy with work, and also really enjoy the solidarity of hiking parts of the trail when the through hikers are mostly gone. We usually do two weeks at a time with one or two 0 days. Thoughts?

Cheesebeard102523 karma

Section hiking definitely has its advantages and disadvantages in my opinion. I think it's physically harder since as soon as you start getting your trail legs you have to get off trail. But you can choose when to do each section so you can choose to go during better weather. Personally I like hiking in the fall best so I think it would be super rad to see a lot of the views we get but with all the leaves changing. You also get to avoid the main bubble as well which is super nice. But if you do a through hike the right way the bubble isnt so bad and can be fun to be so immersed in hiker culture. I also think that a section is way more money just because of traveling up and down the east coast for it. I prefer thru only because I like the idea of doing it all in one go and getting to stay out here for such an extended period. But I don't think section is anything to be frowned upon. I have a few friends who section hike and they're all badass.

TimWeis7514 karma

How does a trail name happen? do other trail users give it to you, or is it something you come up with?

Cheesebeard102519 karma

Can be either. Usually it's something you do and someone gives it to you. Lots of people think it's ch eating if you name yourself

SparkyDogPants14 karma

What was your favorite AT challenge? I heard there's one where you have to buy this old alcoholic a beer and ask him to tell you a story and then punch him in the face.

Cheesebeard102519 karma

That sounds incredible haven't seen that yet but I'd be down. The half gallon challenge was my favorite so far. Half gallon of ice cream at a state park in pa. Completed it in 23 minutes! The one I'm most interested in is the 24 challenge: 24 beers, 24 miles, 24 hours. I think I'm going to save it for a section hike because my tolerance is low right now and I feel like you'd be so hungover the next day would blow.

oursaviorjoe13 karma

How many serial killers do you think are on the trail at any given time?

Cheesebeard102520 karma

Lol a few. Look up Bismarck a.t. he embezzled 9 million dollars and murdered his wife and has been thru hiking the past 4 years just living on the trail. I've met a few others that have been very clearly mentally ill as well. There are also a few famous murders on the a.t. but statistically it's pretty safe

oursaviorjoe5 karma

Do you carry any personal protection?

Cheesebeard102511 karma

Nah. Too many laws about carrying throughout different states and it's heavy. Ounces add up quick

MikeMaloy12 karma

Have you run into my sister and her friend? They're also through hiking the AT. Their trail names are fireball and lightning.

Cheesebeard10255 karma

No don't know them

Dlockett8 karma

What is the story behind your trail name? Did you get it on this trip? Favorite mountain so far? I'm sure you have many.

Cheesebeard10254 karma

Yeah I got it in the smokies. I eat mac and cheese every night and I have a beard going right now (haven't shaved since I started) and just had cheese in my beard during dinner and some dude pointed it out and pulled it out and namede cheesebeard. Hmmmm mm hard to say: rocky top, little hump and big hump in roan, 3 ridges, mountain before rogers can't remember name, rock scramble one in pa, alber mountain, so many but those pop to mind

fiderian8 karma

Hey, I just finished hiking part of Massachussetts! :) Hope you enjoy Upper Goose Pond if you go teeheehee!

I want to thru-hike it next year but I'd have to go SOBO... do you usually hang out with the same people at shelters or is the social aspect more meeting cool people for a couple weeks then moving on? I just don't want to miss out on the NOBO bonding! </3

Cheesebeard10255 karma

I hike in a group of 4 and usually we hang out with a few people for a few days then they move on or we do. But I bump into people sometimes that I haven't seen since springer which is incredible. Sobo I think could be cool for the fall aspect but honestly I think springer would be such an anticlimactic finish comparitively that I would highly suggest nobo. Plus more trail magic!

nebulouscloud7 karma

[deleted]

Cheesebeard102519 karma

Pop tarts and clif builder bar for breakfast. Mid morning clif bar. Lunch is usually a tortilla 2 packs of tuna and mayo and Sriracha. 2 afternoon snacks of cliff bar then a protein bar. Then blue box mac and cheese with half a block of cheese and Sriracha. Then a dessert of some kind. My favorite is rice Krispy treats. I can't wait to eat real food every day again.

ri_hid6 karma

What books are you currently reading on your journey?

And how are the people that you have met during the trip? Has they been receptive to you? Any crazy encounters with the people?

Cheesebeard102518 karma

I am rereading all of the harry potters right now and currently on number 6. I also listen to audio books while hiking and actually get an audible credit today! Yay! Almost everyone has been amazing on the trail. I have only come across a few assholes. I've bumped into a couple of crazies on the trail. There's a guy hiking right now (shall remain nameless) who is known to openly masterbate in shelters. I also met a guy who just got arrested for embezzling 9 million from coca cola and may have murdered his wife. He thru Hiked 4 years in a row. His name was Bismarck. Look it up crazy story. Saw him on his last day of freedom in damascus va on trail days

ri_hid3 karma

Whoa, that is some crazies you met! The Coca-Cola is really something.

OP, what do you plan to do after you finish your trail?

Do you keep a log? Would you write about your experience? Or maybe blog about it?

Cheesebeard10259 karma

I'm planning on working for a bit. Taking my emt classes maybe do that for a bit. Might try to get a seasonal field biologist technician job. But yeah I'm just going to eother go back to wor or go live at the red river gorge climbing for a few weeks or months. I'm planning on doing a big several month backpacking tour of Europe and then going to Nepal to do the annapurna circuit next August. I don't keep a log or blog. I started an instagram account last night though so I plan on keeping up on that and posting pics from this adventure plus my future adventures.

honeybadgergrrl6 karma

As someone who is currently freezing cold in an office building while it's 100 degrees outside, something about this sort of natural journey seems really appealing. Congrats on doing this, it's super impressive and a huge accomplishment!

How long did you train to do this? What is the best thing about taking a long solitary journey like this one?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

I did 12 Oz curls and played video games and tried to gain weight before coming out here. But that was right before coming out I've been in pretty good shape the past 4 years rock climbing and hiking and running. Being self reflective and seeing how self reliant you can be is very rewarding

helpimstuckinct6 karma

That 1500 Mile marker you're at in the picture, is that the base of Bear Mountain/Lions Head Riga in Salisbury CT?

Cheesebeard10254 karma

Yeah! Spot on!

digital_excess6 karma

Good luck to you on this journey, I'm sure it will be life changing! Quick question: How have you prepared financially for this? Did you take an extended vacation from work? Last I looked an average thru hike on the AT is about 7 months. That's a long time out of work :)

Cheesebeard10256 karma

Yeah its a long time. I've been saving bit by bit for a long time. I've known I've wanted to do this for 7 years. I just finished college and haven't started a real career so I just saved from my camp job and bar job. So yeah the bar said I can ce back when I'm done so I have work after which is nice.

FrigsandDangs5 karma

Josh!!!! When are you coming to Missoula?

Cheesebeard10255 karma

DAVE!!!!!!!! hopefully this year!! Say hey to katya! Hunt?

JRoch4 karma

What's the difference in a thru hiker and a regular hiker?

Cheesebeard10254 karma

A thru hiker just means they are doing a trail from start to finish. Specifically a long distance trail

waiyan134 karma

Do's and Don'ts for those planning for long trail hike?

Did you get inspirations from movies like "Into the Wild" and "Wild"?

Any suggestions for weekend backpack hikes you had enjoyed in the past?

Cheesebeard102515 karma

Hmmmm. Long distance is all dependent on which trail. But I would say make sure to have a guidebook or maps and make sure you know water sources for the day or make sure you carry enough water. Nothing sucks more than going a few miles without water. Really test out all your gear before attempting a long distance hike. Then you'll know more of what you will actually need and not have too much gear. The biggest mistake people make is carrying too much at first. Ounces add up fast.

Yeah into the wild is one of my favorite books it had a huge influence on my life. I haven't seen or read wild yet.

It all depends on where you are in the country. But Linville gorge profile trail is incredible in nc. All of the grayson highlands are breathtaking in southern va tons of trails through there and berry season is rad there with tons of huckleberries. The a.t from Albert mountain fire tower outside of Franklin nc to like 40 miles from there would be incredible especially in fall lots of fire towers. Art Loeb trail in nc is sick. And my favorite hike ever was in glacier absolutely unreal check out the granite park chalet there

hotstargirl4 karma

Did I meet you or blow right by you? I'm Stretch and in Dalton.

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Name is super familiar but can't picture your face. I'm hiking with blade, pie, click, eight paws, and laces if you know them

micmea13 karma

I did the trans-american bike ride last summer (Virginia to Oregon), which is a slightly different style of trip but in the same vein. I think I'd like to do a long hike next time I decide to spend 2.5 months doing something. Anyway, just want to say you made a great decision to do this trip! I think everyone ought to do an adventure like this at least once in their life. It really puts things into perspective. Now, for the question.

Food is likely a popular conversation when you are approaching the next town/city. What's your go to meal that you crave after a diet of poptarts and granola? For me it was always pasta, didn't much matter what kind.

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Thanks dude! That's awesome! We met 2 people along skyline drive doing something similar, really cool people. It varies. At first I was all about pizza, then fish and chips, now chocolate milk. Can't get enough. And always beer

gayrudeboys3 karma

What's the NJ portion of the trail like as a whole?

Cheesebeard10252 karma

After pa which was the worse state so far because of all the rocks it was incredible. Some of the water sources are a little gross. Very tannic and some come from ponds and smell slightly foil. there are lots of bears. But it is fairly easy terrain and I found it to be rather pretty. Awesome boardwalks through some marshes which were very different from everything we had seen at that point. Vernon nj had an amazing donation based hostel with free food in a hiker fridge and a box full of awesome dvds.

gayrudeboys3 karma

I'm originally from the Vernon-ish area, hence my asking. :) I'll definitely have to consider working up to hike the AT, then. Thanks for your response!

Cheesebeard10254 karma

Absolutely. If you go south from vernon there is a beautiful boardwalk through wetlands and if you go north there is a cool climb up to some views off trail and a bunch of really old cars rusting in the woods. But if you're still in the area check out southern ny. Really awesome area super pretty. Kind of hard terrain and the water sources blow but if you camp above the orange county turnpike you have the best sunset spot and star gazing spot with no lights in view

MakerGrey3 karma

What's your trail name?

Cheesebeard10255 karma

Cheesebeard

skibumwannabe3 karma

How did you get started doing long hikes? How would you recommend someone else start? What would make a good starter hike / camp?

Cheesebeard10255 karma

By doing this one. Before this I had never done more than 100 miles in a trip before. I would strongly recommend just coming out and doing this. Of the triple crown (at, pct, cdt) the a.t is the hardest terrain but resupplying is the easiest so it's a great way to learn the logistical planning of a big trip.

Good starter hike: just depends where you are in the country. I would just start doing weekend hikes and get comfortable with backpacking in general. Then if you were interested in doing a long distance hike go do a section of the a.t or just go for it and do a thru hike. Great learning trail. Lots of people start this without knowing anything and learn along the way. I personally wouldn't suggest this as I think this is a big reason for the huge dropout rate but it is doable.

Stendecca3 karma

Are you planning to explore Newfoundland? The Appalachians extend to here.

Cheesebeard102511 karma

I would love to but it will end for me at katahdin. There is an unofficial extension of the trail that extends up there called th e international a.t

jonmon223 karma

Congrats on living the dream! I've backpacked for many years and have always wanted to do the AT.

What boots are you wearing?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

I prefer shoes and trail runners right now I'm rocking oboz with super feet gone through 4 pairs so far

dcHurst3 karma

Howdy Cheesebeard; thanks for doing the ama. What's your footwear situation like? Running shoes, full on hiking boots or something in between? Also have you had to replace a pair yet?

Has anyone you've gotten close to on the A.T. had to get off the trail?

Cheesebeard10255 karma

Ive done trail runners and shoes. Gone through 4 pairs so far. No not anyone I was close to but tons of people have dropped out

nrkuhlma3 karma

How does one typically get a trail name?

Cheesebeard10257 karma

Does something dumb or cool that someone sees

metronomemike3 karma

Amazing, I've only hiked a small piece. I'm jealous. Did you use a service to set up the food drops, or P.O. Boxes? Basically, how did you set up your re-supply stations?

Cheesebeard10255 karma

I just buy as I go no drop boxes

yosemitetrailblazer3 karma

Howdy there! First off, congrats on your first thru-hike. Thru-hiking is a serious endeavor that should not be considered lightly, especially with the surge in interest thanks to books and films like Wild. I was a "trail angel" for hikers on the PCT when I lived in California's Sierra Nevada mountains and heard some horror stories from folks that didn't come as prepared as they should have been.

Now I have a few questions for you:
1. How many days worth of supplies do you carry at a time before going into town?
2. What kind of food do you carry/prepare on the trail?
3. I have been hiking/backpacking for years and I really want to do one myself, how did you know you were ready mentally, physically, and emotionally?
4. Ever consider hiking the Continental Divide or PCT?
5. What is the funniest situation you found yourself in?

Thanks and happy trails!

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Thabks! Trail angels are some of the most amazing people I have ever met the kindness I have been shown is unreal. So 4 days usually. Just dry ready made type meals think mac and cheese pop tarts etc. Yup planning on triple crowning. Chasing ponies through the grayson highlands possibly?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Also lol didn't know I was ready I was scared shit less my first day. I just did it

fightlinker2 karma

How bad are the bugs?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Just started getting bad. Yesterday was horrible clouds of mosquitoes in the marshes of ma it was horrible

goddessgamora2 karma

Hey Cheesebeard! I was wondering, if you could go back in time, what's the one tip or anecdote you would tell yourself at the beginning of your experience/journey?!

I've recently been toying with the idea of taking on a trail. I know it takes a ton of preparation, but what is a good way to get started?

p.s. - thanks for this AMA, i enjoyed your perspective, and also happy travels on the rest of the trail!

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Thank you! I would tell myself to not be afraid that I would meet incredible people and have the greatest experience of my life. Have a base understanding of backpacking test all your gear, buy the guidebook, and go.

itsjeeeves2 karma

Heading to AT next week, but only for six days! We're going to be in Shenandoah, but will only do day hiking (i.e. no tents, gear, etc.) - in fact, we'll be wearing runnings shoes for the entire trip.

Any tips on which trails to hit and which to avoid, given our limited time and gear/accessories? Thanks!

Cheesebeard10253 karma

For sure! So shenandoahs suck on the a.t. the old a.t got turned into the skyline drive and has incredible views. Absolutely breathtaking. All the views on the a.t are when you cross skyline or go near it (which is constantly) guy we hitchhike with was there for a few days and he was doing side trails and said the views were great and saw lots of waterfalls and wildlife. So I would HIGHLY suggest not doing a.t and check out other trails in shenandoahs.

palebluedott2 karma

What do you think about when you're walking around? Do you think getting back into normal life will be a shock for you?

Cheesebeard10259 karma

Everything and anything. Sometimes very serious stuff but most of the time I think about food and beer. Hiker hunger is a real thing. We burn 5000-7000 a day and I eat like 3500. Yeah for sure. I went to nyc for a few days and that was pretty intense. So many people.

bfloros2 karma

How to you pronounce Appalachian? (It's a critical matter for someone who lives in North Cacalacky)

Cheesebeard10255 karma

Lol I'm from nc and I say it with thin instead of shun

claybonee2 karma

If I were to start in May would you recommend starting in the north or south? Also have you met any through hikers that are sponsored by companies like REI or Patagonia?

Cheesebeard10254 karma

No one I have met is sponsored aside from maybe like local gear stores. I think nobo is better because springer is anticlimactic and katahdin is a pretty gnarly finish. If you start in may you gotta go quickish though since it closes in october

shooshx2 karma

How long did it take you?
What did you eat?

Cheesebeard10255 karma

Still going now. Still have like 6ish miles left. Lots of pop tarts clif bars, mac and cheese, tuna, peanut butter, and rice Krispy treats

Orly52 karma

What supplies do you usually carry in your pack?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

I listed it out below. Sorry its a lot to list. Look down there and if you have specific questions about any piece I'd love to answer

sideburns2 karma

What are some of your favorite trail names you've met?

Cheesebeard10254 karma

Loner bone an awesome 74 year old thru hiker. Swamp ass, blade a German who carries a big ass knife, carbomb, honeybuns, po'boy

theambulo2 karma

I'm jealous of your pilgrimage. Do you have a trail name and if so what is it?

Cheesebeard10252 karma

Cheesebeard

Martinda12 karma

-How did you plan for food? Did you count days to the next town at each town? Also did you buy it all before hand or during the trail? - how did you make sure you always had the gear you needed?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

I just figure out how many days to the next town I want to stop at. Usually 4 days because food is heavy. I buy it as I go which I highly advise for the a.t. you don't really know how much you're eating beforehand so you might send too much or too little. Also you might overeat something and hate it and you planned to eat it longer and keep getting it. I've had all the gear I've had since the beginning but if something breaks there's outfitters along the trail. The reason I'm taking a 0 now actually is because I'm waiting for new trekking poles to show up from amazon because I broke one of mine the other day.

homemadehamwallet2 karma

Me and my girlfriend are leaving next year March to do a thru-hike. What are some need-to-knows that we should consider before starting?

Cheesebeard10253 karma

Just have basic knowledge in backpacking and really test your gear. Make sure to hit up the Devils backbone brewing right before the Shenandoahz free camping soon to have free hostel lends you a growler and we'd is half priced growler fills and a $5 hiker breakfast in the a.m one of the best stops on the trail. Also stay in camerrer tower in the smokies last fire tower there gorgeous. Not technically legal but no one has been fined for it.

mojoegojoe1 karma

I'm taking a gap year right now; as off a month ago. I'm 18 - between high school and university - would you say I'm to young (immature even) to take on such an endeavor?

You sound awesome by the way!

Cheesebeard10252 karma

Lol thanks. No as long as you have the money gear and experience go for it. There is a few people out there your age who are making. I met a 10 year old the other day southbound ing with their dad. So go for it

_MaiqTheLiar1 karma

Do you actually see people all that often on the trail?

Cheesebeard10251 karma

Every day especially since I'm in a group of 4. It is not a super isolated trail. But I personally like to stealth camp at night so we are usually alone at night.

Tangsta11 karma

What is your trail name?

Cheesebeard10252 karma

Cheesebeard