August 14, 2018
Hello all! I realize most folks are not expecting me to post again, but I wanted to share a great article with you all and answer a few questions.
My wife, Gillian, wrote an excellent article for The Trek about supporting a thru hiker. There is plenty of information for thru hikers about thru hiking and what to expect upon return, but seldom do we hear about the journeys, experiences, and struggles of those back home who support us in our dreams. Check it out: https://thetrek.co/survive-partner-thru-hiking-supporting-home/. I am sure this will be useful for some of you as supporters, or if you are working with your loved ones to prepare collaboratively for your time away.
Just to answer a few questions/observations from my guest book:
@David Levy - I didn't mention electronics because I commented quite a bit about how my signal with AT&T wasn't great. That said, I wasn't trying to do any kind of Vlog or anything fancy like that, so I didn't need much. I liked my Anker power bank and that worked fine for me the entire trail. I never ended up with my phone being completely dead. I hardly made any phone calls from the trail itself. I passed people who were calling loved ones every day to check in. I did not do that. Instead, where I had a signal I would text my wife. It worked for us. If cell coverage is important, then Verizon is the way to go. It's the better network overall on the trail. As for me not showing trail angels or other hikers in my video, while I didn't video record them, there were plenty of shots in the video itself from pictures that I took. I captured many of the Trail Angels and my hiker friends in some photos at the end of the video. Anyway, the video was originally only going to be the trail, and then I decided to expand it to include some views, and then I decided I wanted to include some people as well. I didn't film people because I was trying to focus on engaging with them. I just didn't want those moments to be cluttered with worrying about filming. I did consider this at one point, thinking it would be fun to have some video of camp, but then I decided that I wanted those interactions to be private. It's just my style. I'm sure i could have if I had asked the people with me, but we were all kind of out there trying to be in nature and live in the moment, and a camera always takes away from that a little bit. It's unavoidable. I didn't get pictures of all the people and Trail Angels I met, but I did get many. I never flinched when I saw other hikers shooting video - it's normal now and many hikers use YouTube to document their thru hikes. Everyone I ran into was very respectful about it, and most hikers don't mind being filmed if they consent to it, just like anyone being filmed anywhere really.
@Andy - Good question. If I had to pick only one guide, it would definitely be Guthook for the simple reason that I always knew where I was, and therefore where everything else was relevant to me. I liked having both because I found AWOL nice for towns with its maps, and the two guides sometimes had different campsites and water sources listed. In the end, I largely used Guthook for everything and AWOL for supplemental town information. That said, one flaw of Guthook is that sometimes I would look at my distance from things like towns, and it was almost like it would measure it as the crow flies versus trail distances. I liked having AWOL to double check distances and mileage because I did get burnt by this flaw of Guthook's on one occasion. If i were to hike the rest of the Long Trail or the PCT, I would use Guthook again.
Thanks everyone again for the lovely comments in my guestbook! I'm honored by the compliments!
Lastly, I'm re-posting a link to the short 7-minute YouTube video I created about my own thru hike here: https://youtu.be/7qg9m362GoM
Happy trails to all!