Tent Buddy

I put the tent up in the backyard today so Violet could see it. She had a blast playing in it. She loved my soft sleeping bag.

It is suppose to get down to 28 degrees tonight, so I’m going to try out the tent and sleeping bag again. Last time the bottom part of me got cold. I’m not sure if my air mattress was blown up enough. By bottom part – I mean the part of my body that was touching the mattress. Tonight I also have a slim, very light foam mattress too. It will go under the thermorest air mattress. Hope I stay warm, but we will see. My sleeping bag is rated to 10 degrees.

Will let you know how it works!

Stay warm all,


Stalking is such a strong word! I prefer “Checking Up On Janet!”

Be Prepared! – Boy Scouts of America

This little gem is the Spot Gen3 and I bought it to give my family peace of mind. I works off batteries and has the ability to track me at 10 minute intervals. I am unsure how long the batteries will last so I probably won’t turn it on all the time. But when I do, I have the ability to send them a message (not receive) no matter where I am. The Spot works off GPS satellites, so no cell service is needed. It has a SOS button, that if pushed, probably means there are helicopters and rescuers in my future. (Extremely low chance that will ever happen.) You have to lift the black tab and the SOS button is under it so it can not be pushed accidentally.

Across from the SOS button is another button under a tab and it is another help button(two hands reaching) that sends a message to the Hubster and Hill. It is a pre-written message and it is set to say “I need help but this is NOT a life threatening emergency!” That ought to get their blood flowing. I don’t plan on using this one either, nevertheless it is nice to know it is there.

That leaves the three buttons across the bottom. The middle one tells the Spot to track me and place pins on the map. The map can be viewed by clicking the “Where is Janet Now?” link on the right-hand side of the blog.  So far I have tested it only in front and behind the house. The button with the Check Mark is the Everything is ok check-in button. When I press it, it sends a pre-written message, “Done for day! At camp/motel/hostel safe and sound.” to people on the list and places a pin on the map. The last button is a custom message. It works just like the OK button, just sends a different pre-written message. I am having a hard time coming up with what I want it to say. Here are a few that people have suggested…

Did not make it as far as I’d hoped…but safe and set up for the night.
Raining hard today but I’m pushing through.
Holed up in my tent because it is raining!
All is good! I’m at the top of another mountain!

If you have a good suggestion let me know!

The spot is 4.7 ounces with the carabiner that attaches it to my pack. However, I think the weight will be worth it for my family’s peace of mind.


The Big Question…Why?

So many people are asking why?
Why hike that far? Why the Appalachian Trail?
Why endure the rain, the heat, the cold, the pain, the bugs and the hunger that comes with hiking the AT?
I have a couple of different reasons, but they can succinctly be expressed by a Jack Kerouac quote…

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain.”

I feel like this is time for a great adventure. I’m tired of talking and reading about doing something – it is time to do it. So hiking the Appalachian Trail is a gift I am giving myself. To prove to myself that I can do this. It has been it the back of my mind to hike the trail for years. Last October, I started talking about it to my friend Karla and she wanted to do it with me. Unfortunately, she needed to put it off for a couple of years because of kids and work. At first I said “No problem.” Then I did some rethinking – I did not want to wait. I did not want to put it off. This was the year I was hiking the Appalachian Trail!

Being such a great friend (and a little relieved that she does not have to hike 2000 miles) she has become one of my biggest cheerleaders. She has done a ton of research on the AT and probably knows as much about it as I do.  While many in my family are worried, Karla with her knowledge is just supportive. She will also be my back-up (after the Hubster) support person. When Hugh travels to meet up with me, Karla will man the re-supply boxes and ship them to a town on the trail.

I am being selfish and I know it! This is a costly and time consuming endeavor, but life is short and I don’t want to look back and regret not trying.

I am hiking the Appalachian Trail!

Numbers of the A.T.



The length of the Appalachian Trail in miles. This amounts to approximately 5,000,000 steps. It is the longest “hiking-only” footpath in the world.

The number of states the AT crosses. From south to north: 1. Georgia 2. North Carolina 3. Tennessee 4. Virginia 5. West Virginia 6. Maryland 7. Pennsylvania 8. New Jersey 9. New York 10. Connecticut 11. Massachusetts 12. Vermont 13. New Hampshire 14. Maine.

The number of times an AT thru-hiker would ascend Mount Everest. Compared to trails in higher elevation mountain ranges, many falsely assume the AT to be relatively flat. In fact, over the course of the Appalachian Trail’s 2,190 miles, thru-hikers gain over 464,464 ft., or more than 89 miles.

The number of days it takes the average person to complete a thru-hike, according to the ATC.

The highest elevation in feet along the Appalachian Trail, at Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The lowest elevation in feet along the Appalachian Trail, at Bear Mountain State Park in New York.

The number of volunteer hours that went into maintaining the Appalachian Trail in the federal fiscal year ending in September 2014.

The approximate number of white blazes marking the Appalachian Trail, according to the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. This averages out to about one white blaze every 70 feet.

The number of calories required for a hiker* to maintain his or her body weight during a typical day of backpacking. In other words, a hiker could eat 11 Big Macs throughout the day and still be at an energy deficiency.

The number of pairs of shoes most thru-hikers go through. In general, if you can get 500 miles out of your footwear, you’re doing well.

The number of shelters on or along the trail. The AT is lined with more than 250 three-walled structures which serve as refuges for hikers, averaging out to approximately one shelter every 8 miles.

The percent of female 2,000 milers. The ATC reports that only one in four 2,000 milers are women.


Training for the Trail

“Remember this: your body is your slave; it works for you.” – Jack LaLanne

Some people say they get into shape walking the trail. I’m betting those are part of the 75% that quit.

My training is this – walk, weights, stair master and stretching – taking Wednesdays and Sundays off. I got lazy over the Christmas break, but since the new year I have not missed. I gave myself 3 weeks before I add back my loaded backpack to the mix.

I am walking about 8 miles a day before I go to gym. At the gym I hit the stair master for 2000 steps.  Then do the exercises the trainer gave me. There is Nothing quite so enjoyable as me grasping for air and pausing, while  a cute, tiny millennial next to me  keeps going like the energizer bunny.

I know I won’t be in perfect shape come March, but I am hoping to stop any injuries that befall so many hikers on the trail. Shin splints, foot problems and ankle twist are the big ones.

The Appalachian Trail is well known for its many PUDs. Pointless Ups & Downs. If you are not ready for them the AT will send you home crying!


I am a Gearhead!

“#optoutside” – REI advertising slogan

In planning a long hike, it becomes all about the ounces. Weight is the enemy! I have spent countless hours scouring the internet, comparing reviews and companies websites looking for the gear that I will need for my journey. As of today I think I have everything with the exception of rain pants.

Below is the list of everything that I will be taking on my hike excluding the clothes I will have on and the food and water I will pack. Right now I am weighing in at a smidgen over 14 pounds. I am trying to keep total weight under 20 pounds. Water will weigh about 2.5 pounds and food will take me up to 20.

Backpack Gossamer Gear Mariposa31.7
Tent ZPacks Duplex + Stakes24.2
Sleeping Bag ZPacks 10 Degree22.6
Sleeping Pad -Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's11.8
Stove/Fuel - Jetboil Flashlite + Spoon20.0
Food Bag-Odor Bags-Rope06.3
Water Filter - Sawyer03.0
Water Bag - Platypus 70oz01.3
Water Bottle - Smart Water Bottle01.7
First Aid (Band aids, cloth tape, pills, moleskin,etc)06.4
Misc (knife, earplugs, stick pic, head lamp, remote)03.6
Toiletries bag (toothbrush, floss, boldyglide, etc)10.0
Misc (Repair Tape, bug net, bug spray)03.6
Potty Bag (Toilet paper, sanitizer, trowel)06.7
Electronics (Phone, cords, extra battery, headset)27.6
Clothing Bag01.4
Rain Coat07.7
Rain Pants
Insulating Jacket06.4
Waterproof gloves (Disposable medical gloves)00.8
2 pairs of socks03.4
Camp Shoes - Teva Flip Flops05.3
PJ top -Smartwool Microweight Crew Long Sleeve04.1
PJ bottom - Smartwool Microweight Bottoms04.1
Trash Compactor Bag to "waterproof" backpack01.0
Total Number of ounces without food or water224.4
Total Number of pounds without food or water14

Every time I think about adding something, I talk myself out of it. The same clothes will be worn everyday. They will get washed about once a week when I hit towns. No make-up, no mirrors, no curling iron, no pillow. Nothing that is not essential. My one exception is an extra battery pack for my phone. I will use my phone to keep in touch, to blog, take pictures, check the app for the trail, listen to music and books. I thought the extra battery would be worth it.