I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2021

2020 AT Thru-Hiker Tag

I hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 2021

Special Announcement! Corona Virus Update

Because of the Corona Virus, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) recommended that no one hike the AT in 2020. I decided to delay my hike until late March 2021. I continue to post new videos with thoughts and gear information. Thank you for following me.

Will I Stay or Will I Go? My decision is HERE!

The ATC gives out hang tags to thru hikers. This is my 2020 hang tag, front and back. On the back, they print a Leave No Trace (LNT) item and in 2020, it was Respect Wildlife.

2020 AT Thru-Hiker Tag
Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Hang Tag

it is over 2,193 miles long stretching through 14 states from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. It will take 5,000,000 steps and I’ll go through 6 pairs of trail runner shoes.

I will be VLOGGING the hike on YouTube. Please subscribe to my channel and view various gear and hiking videos. If you click the little bell on a video page and then select All Videos, you will be notified when I post new videos. My channel is JLDRDOTCOM and is located here: https://www.youtube.com/user/jldrdotcom

Update!

After getting on trail at Amicalola Falls State Park, I proceeded to hike several days. During that time, I did some serious soul searching and decided that at this time in my life, my priority had to be taking care of things at home vs. being gone for up to six months away from friends and family. Of course I would make tons of new friends on trail but I felt a calling home. The videos I made on trail turned out great and show a lot of the trail. I would have liked to have done many more.

As it turned out, it’s a good thing I went home because on the way home, my I felt my chest tighten up. It went away and then came back two months later. I went to the doctor and after testing, they told me I was having emergency open heart surgery the next day to correct several blockages. The surgery was successful I’m sure in part because I was in such good shape from preparing for the AT hike. The recovery took several months and I did cardiac rehab from August 2021 to December 2021. During that time, my cardio improved 134%. The average improvement for people is 40%.

The AT is drawing me back. I plan on doing a section hike in 2022. Unfortunately, a full on thru hike in one year is not going to work for me. I’m also planning on doing some shorter backpacking trips closer to home with friends and family and I’ll be vlogging those trails when it happens. In the meantime, here is a stat you can think about: Of all the people who begin a thru hike, only about 19% actually complete their hike (2020 data). That percentage has been going down during the last 15 years.

The Appalachian Trail is HARD!!! Most of the time, it seems like you are going up and a lot of the time, it is a steep up. I found that I enjoyed going down much more simply because I could get my breath. Yes, the knees would hurt but at least I could breath normally. The trail also tears up shoes. In the few days I hiked, the toe flap in the front of both shoes was coming unglued and other areas of the shoes were showing signs of wear. You are constantly getting your shoes caught on rocks and roots. So for anyone out there who is contemplating hiking the Appalachian Trail, be aware that it will probably be harder than anything you have ever done before right out of the gate.  I hope you enjoy my Vlog of my AT hike.

Monetary Contributions – Gear and thru hiking costs money and Vlogging takes a lot of time and effort. If you enjoy my videos, consider donating. Every dollar helps. 

PayPal Donations: https://paypal.me/JLDRDOTCOM

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What do you carry in your backpack to survive on a backpacking hike?

To see all the gear I took in 2021, I created a 2021 Gear Video. Click HERE to see that video.

Click on the picture below to watch my 2020 video showing all the gear I was taking in 2020.

I also created a Gear page of gear i will be taking on the AT. You can find the Backpacking Gear page. 

Guess what? There are tons of Privy’s / Outhouses so you know I’ll be featuring some of them in my VLogs.

Victor Hayes Outhouse Art

Comment from a visitor about the shirt his pictures are on…

I met Victor Hayes probably about the time he drew the outhouses that were on the t-shirt. I was a high school kid from Grand Rapids, MI. My parents were teachers and we lived in Elk Rapids during the summer.

I don’t remember where he lived in the Fall, Winter, and Spring, but he rented a tiny white cabin, across from the Elk Rapids Golf Club, for the Summer. He would sit outside his tiny cabin and paint. He had his art displayed, for sale. I think he rented that same little cabin for multiple years.

He was known to be kind of a jerk. If a golfer hit a ball across the street, and near into the little cabin resort, Victor would grab it and wouldn’t give it back.

I somehow got ahold of him and made an appointment to meet him. I was hoping to get some advice and encouragement. I wanted to be an artist (I ended up not a painter, but a graphic designer). I don’t remember what he told me (or didn’t tell me), but I remember going back to our cottage and telling my mom that he wasn’t encouraging and that he was kind of a grump. He wasn’t very nice.

A few years later I heard that he died in a car accident. He used to drive an old Chevy Impala. I think it was a ’64. It was copper color or medium brown metallic.

That’s my memory of Victor Hayes. I liked his art, he did a lot of fall-color landscapes in watercolor. He was a good artist, but not such a nice guy.

Regards, Brek R.

The Finns Know: Indoor Toilet vs. Outdoor Outhouse (Water Closet)

Someone I worked with in Germany sent me an article written in German about Outhouses in Finland.  The basic thought of the article was “We are free from worries in this small outhouse.”

The Finns Know: One of the last Outhouses from the past
HC statt WC – Outhouse instead of Indoor Water Closet
The Finns Know: One of the last Outhouses from the past
The Finns Know: One of the last Outhouses from the past

GermanOuthouseArticle

I am working on getting this article translated. If you want to provide a summary in English, please comment on it. Thanks!