[Dick Takes a Hike ...]
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Report #4
April 17, 1999

Just Mountains ...

Executive Summary

On April 17, Dick called from Franklin, North Carolina, 106.8 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia. He can tell he has lost some weight, but can't tell how much. Though his feet are sore, he's feeling stronger and more confident every day.

Important Note

A lot of people have dropped out. Dick said he's certain now that hiking the AT is do-able for him, as long as his brain stays in good condition. Strong determination is as critical as water.

The Tale

His gloves - that's what he asked me to mail back to him. Even though the daytime temperatures soar, the night-time thermometer plunges to the thirties. The forecast for that night called for snow. Turns out wearing socks on his hands was a poor substitute for a pair of warm gloves. I could have told him that - and the fact that he was making a very poor fashion statement.

He also needed a few more supplies: 4 packs of Lipton rice, 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, 5 envelopes of hot chocolate - the Land o'Lakes variety (he had tried several), lots of Snickers, 8 "power" bars from the health food store, and a quart-size bag of gorp. Dick's variety of gorp is a mixture of peanuts, tiny chocolate chips, raisins, and dried fruit. I've got a big Tupperware bowl full of it. I've managed to resist dipping into it myself - so far anyway.

He laughed and said he's realized a new appreciation for three things: food, water, and shelter. I can't imagine getting excited over rice, Ritz, and gorp, but I also can't imagine hiking up and down mountains with fifty pounds strapped on my back. Speaking of that weight, Dick said one night he sat down and ate everything he had that was packed in cans. They were too heavy. I can just imagine what an unbalanced menu that made, not to mention a total lack of color-coordination.

He has been drinking 8 to 10 liters of water a day. One of the other hikers told him that by the time he got to Mount Katahdin, his sweat would be pure water. Interesting idea. And speaking of Mount Katahdin, a friend from work told me about an AT tradition that required thru-hikers to hike the last ten miles naked. Funny, Dick had never mentioned that. I'll have to ask him about it the next time he calls.

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Rand McNally Road Atlas of the USARand McNally Road Atlas of the USA
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The Long Road Turns to Joy: A walking guide to meditation
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Walking the Appalachian TrailLarry Luxenburg
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