After talking with fellow hikers it became apparent that I’m not getting the whole story of what trail life is like.
Here is the link to one of my hiking partners blogs:
I also spent an afternoon speaking with a special guest about her experiences on the trail. No Shame (AKA Star) was more than happy to fill me in.
B: “No Shame, what made you decide to hike the AT?”
NS: “I had no choice in the matter. My mother loaded me into a car, drove me to GA, put a 5 pound pack on me and told me we were hiking 2,189 miles home. But had it been my choice, I’d still be here.”
B: “what’s your favorite part of the trail so far?”
NS: “That’s hard to say there’s the food, bush wacking, chipmunks, leftovers, running, chipmunks, food, naps, chipmunks, belly rubs, food, and then there are chipmunks.”
B: “What’s your least favorite part?”
NS: “I don’t do slow, I want to be going fast, getting stuck behind the other hikers is extremely boring. Can you believe they sometimes tie me up!? Something about not listening when the chipmunks are yelling at me. I only have two ears and they are focused on the little furry buggers!”
B: “That sounds challenging to say the least. Are there any other tough situations you’ve been in?”
NS: “Being on trail isn’t easy and I work hard to look good. The other day I was FORCED to walk through the rain and even do some SERIOUS river crossings!!! Can you believe it?! I’d just had my nails done too!”
B: “After such long periods of time in the woods are you excited to get to town?”
NS: “It depends on the day. Some town days are awesome, I get hooked up with a hotel room while mom and the crew go shopping and often times they bring me special meals like raw chicken or beef! These are the best days because they take my pack off and just let me chill out! Other times I have to hang out side of stores while they dash around getting a couple items and then we head back to the trail. These days aren’t as much fun, my feet get hot, my pack weighs more and I only got a brief break from it.”
B: “Speaking of your pack, what can you tell me about it? ”
NS: “I’m spoiled. My mom tried a number of different packs on me but the big thing she focused on was that my pack wasn’t to big allowing me to carry too much weight and that my pack didn’t create any raw spots. Mom decided to buy me a custom fit pack from Ground Bird Gear (www.groundbirdgear.com). It was a little embarrassing getting my measurements done, but it was worth it. I love my pack and harness system. And don’t tell my mom this but sometimes I fake being tired or sore so she’ll carry the saddle bags.
The worst part of the pack is it inhibits my chipmunk chasing! Just the other day I was in hot pursuit of a chippy when suddenly I was launched backwards by the rhododendron bush I was trying to squeeze through.”
B: “If you had caught the chipmunk what would you have done with it?”
NS: “Eat it! Mom says if I catch it I can eat it. The chippy ‘s down here are much plumper and slower than up north. Not that I’m lacking in the food department. Me being me, I flashed my puppy smile and got sponsored some awesome food from The Honest Kitchen. Mom gets worried because I’m the only dog on trail gaining weight!”
B: “If you’re carrying your own food on trail that means you’re a working dog. Are there other jobs which are expected of you?”
NS: “I have plenty of jobs on trail. I herd my hiking group which includes “tracking” down any group members I believe to be lost, I distribute kisses to worthy people, I guard against bears – have asked a couple to leave camp at this point, and my most important job is be on sentry duty while my mom is going to the bathroom – a slightly embarrassing job but at least I don’t have to clean up after her!”
B: “With so much work do be done do you ever find time to enjoy yourself?”
NS: “The trail offers lots of opportunities for fun. I love chasing things that move, rabbits, chipmunks, birds, grasshoppers, and more! I’ve discovered snakes do not fall in the category of moving, but turtles are fun to cuddle with. I enjoy playing in mud and shallow streams, and when the ‘adults’ get boring I find a stick, I’m surrounded by them, and spend some time chewing.”