Appalachian Trail Trip Report 8/15/15 Part 2, analysis (navel gazing)

But that’s not frugal!

Having read part 1 of my trip report, you may be saying that $191 for a 36 hour trip is not frugal. Part of the problem is the time = money equation. The largest expense was transport to and from the Delaware Water Gap, an expense that would’ve been roughly the same whether I stayed one night or four nights, so a longer trip would’ve evened out the expenses- especially if I stayed in shelters/tent on subsequent nights and just added $10 a day for food.

port authority- nerve racking line but everything turned out fine

in fact we arrived in PA 10 minutes early
 Also I don’t own a car and so pay zero ongoing monthly car expenses like gas, insurance or maintenance, car payment, parking all zero. Some frugal weirdos keep a car to get to remote trailheads.  But I hate driving or even riding in a car if I don’t have to! True fact- I saw the aftermath of three accidents on the New Jersey highways from the windows of my comfortable bus. On the return trip I had two seats to myself, could take my boots off, charge my phone and read a book. That kind of recuperation time was very valuable to me (especially since I had ridiculous blisters). I like the challenge of figuring out public transportation and I like being around different people. I also believe that the only way for the transportation systems in our country to improve is for yuppies like me to go all in. And to gently persuade those of you who may not have considered it to do so as well šŸ™‚

   

  

  

 Finally, there is a learning curve I am climbing.  I am a novice outdoorswoman and travel writer and I think it will take me a number of trips to figure out my physical limits, interests, and ROI on various adventures. Stay tuned and please share your tips in the comments.

Wow, reading and hiking are different!

So, yes, I’ve been reading about travel, pilgrimage, and long distance walks in the US and UK and Spain for years now and fantasizing about month long adventures. Do those fantasies have anything to do with the reality of hiking? Not much.

What I actually experienced while hiking: A strong reconnection to my childhood spent in the eastern forest ecosystem of Western Massachusetts. I recognized the smell of the hot fern understory in the hardwood forest. The lowbush blueberries, wild turkeys, garter snakes, long green tunnels and vistas from rocky ledges all reminded me of home. I recognized many plants and wished I had my guidebook to identify more. I also wished I had my binoculars to watch the 20+ buzzards (eagles?) circling over the Gap.  

   

  

  

 

 Both days I felt tension between wanting to slow down and get into observing nature, drinking water and resting my feet, while simultaneously feeling I had a time to beat and I wanted to get to my destination. I imagine one of the treasures of the trail for thru hikers could be coming to an understanding with your body and hiking the right amount for your energy level each day and setting up camp where it suits you. And that is exactly my struggle every day at work! Calibrating and focusing energy and knowing when to stop. So, travel gives you different beautiful settings to work on your personality problems. 

I gave myself five nasty blisters which definitely would’ve been a problem had I stayed in the woods longer. 

Have you done this hike? Any tips or tricks for the novice? Please comment below!

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Author: Emily

Writer/ Librarian

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