In the next few months, thousands of individuals will attempt a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. We caught up with Rebecca, who also blogs at The Trek, as she prepares for her very own Appalachian Trail thru-hike. In her blog post, Rebecca explains her strategy for completing the trail and the challenges that may lie ahead. Continue reading and be sure to check back for regular updates on Becca’s journey!
Hello! My name is Becca Tompkins and in 6 weeks I’ll be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail! The Appalachian Trail (commonly known as “the AT”) is the oldest footpath in North America. It starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia and stretches all the way to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. It’s 2,189 miles long and passes through 14 states! A thru-hike is when someone attempts to walk the entire length in a single journey. It takes most hikers 5-7 months to walk the entire AT. Because hiking almost 2,200 miles is a huge physical and mental feat, only 20% of hikers who attempt a thru-hike complete it.
I grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and as a child I would do day hikes with my family on the Appalachian Trail. When I was in college I decided I wanted to thru-hike the AT. I graduated from college in 2014 and then moved to South America. I lived on the Amazon River in the jungles of Colombia for one year and then in the booming costal city of Lima, Peru for another year. I moved back to the States a few months ago and instantly started planning my grand trek of the AT. First on my list was upgrading my backpacking gear to ultra-light. My goal is to have everything in my pack (aside from food and water) weigh under 10 pounds.
More importantly than how much my gear weighs, is what I’m eating. Hikers can burn over 6,000 calories a day. A lot of hikers eat unreal amounts of candy bars, refined sugars and unhealthy fats to meet these caloric needs. However, I think that by choosing to eat healthy foods I’ll be better fueled and increase my odds of summiting Mt. Katahdin. I’m planning on eating a lot of tuna, nuts, nut butters, dried fruits, powdered greens and honey while on the trail. When pushing myself to hike 20 mile days, climb yet another mountain and endure the whims of Mother Nature, my body is going to need a balanced diet packed with fats, proteins and carbs For-Tuna-tely tuna is a nutrient powerhouse. Wild Planet is the rockstar of all tunas and their single serve pouches are perfect for backpacking. I can’t wait to eat a trail meal of tuna mixed with honey, mayonnaise and dried fruit. It’s going to be a wildly delicious walk to Maine!
The other things I’m working on before my departure are reassuring my mother daily that I’ll be okay hiking the trail alone, this is proving to be my toughest task! Finalizing my gear selections, I obsessively weigh everything, fretting over mere ounces. When you’re carrying everything on your back, ounces start to matter! Also, I’m trying to remember to do the occasional core workout. I bought a big exercise ball, so I’m half way there, right?
Becca also vlogs about her preparations for her journey on her YouTube Channel, Happy Hikers. Be sure to subscribe to her channel, so you can follow her entire experience on the Appalachian Trails. I’ll be updating this blog regularly with adventures from the trail, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading! Happy trails! Becca