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How Do You Cope During Long Periods of No Hiking?

The plan was to get out for at least three winter trips in the mountains. I purchased a sleeping bag in anticipation of this. Here I sit, writing this article as February progresses, and I have not been out since October 12th, 2019.


Weather was a factor. A larger factor was the passing of my mother after her long battle with dementia.


The rest of February will be spent completing the move of my step-father into our house.


Life happens.


The following has been a typical week for me, absent my life events, as I’ve progressed through the months without making it to the mountains.

  • Sunday. I can feel my body dissolving into a lethargic state. I go out for a 2-mile jog/walk. A little weight lifting. Some stretching.

  • Monday. After work. I stare at my backpack. Then I look inside. All the things I packed from a canceled December trip, and canceled January trip, are still there. Whew.

  • Tuesday. Another jog. More stretching.

  • Wednesday. I pull my new trekking poles out (Christmas present), and extend them. I wonder how long they’ll remain shiny and new. Forever, if I don’t get back out there.

  • Thursday. Life events prevent me from exercising (this could be any one of the days during the week). Later in the evening I look at my tent. I want to pull it out, but that’s just silly. Instead I move it to another location in my closet. There, that’s better.

  • Friday. Again no exercising. I inflate my sleeping pad and place it under my sheets. I slept on it that evening. Seriously. I did this. Yes, I am a 52-year old man. Two weeks later and it’s still there. It’s kind of comfortable.

  • Saturday. I go for a walk in my new hiking boots (another Christmas present). Merrells. They are nice. I’m pretty sure they will work great on those mountain trails. When I return from my walk I look at the sleeping bag I’ve never used. It’s hanging in my closet. I pull it down, pack it, and then throw my backpack on. All my water is still full. All my food is still there. I weigh my pack. No change since December.

This is a Rhododendron tunnel along the AT in northern Georgia, from September 2019. The last time I was on the AT.

Will I make it out in March? Maybe not. My hiking buddy is thinking mid to late April on a section of the AT in Georgia. The one we tried to hit at least three times this past winter. I’m worried about the AT thru-hiker bubble.


But I will do that section. It’s morphed into a personal vendetta. If we have to hike SOBO against the grain of a hundred hikers, then so be it.


April. I am ready for you.


#hiking #backpacking #mountains #atsectionhiking