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Appalachian Trail Blog
Zak Nye
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Appalachian Trail Blog

A Collection Of Memories By Steve Nye

How did you spend your summer vacation? I just returned from on a challenging backpacking trip, with VaxPro’s social media manager Zak (a.k.a. the Entertainer), on the Appalachian Trail.   We started our journey in North Adams, MA and headed North through Vermont towards Killington. Along the way we encountered many interesting hikers, notably the thru-hikers who were walking the entirety of the AT (2190 miles!). The AT is for everyone, so we also met section hikers (like us), and many day hikers (they were way too clean). We also experienced many different conditions ranging from beautiful, warm sunny days to torrential rain showers and then extreme wind and cold on top of the mountains. The flora was exceptional and we noticed how it dramatically changed from the forest floor to the top of the mountains. We stumbled across snakes on a boardwalk in a marshy area, watched beavers building massive dams and observed a young family of loons swimming along a still and quiet lake. A highlight for me was reaching the top of a mountain to find a village of cairns built by the many hikers. A highlight for the Entertainer was finding the many salamanders along the trail. Perhaps another highlight for the Entertainer was pulling me out of the mud (on more than one occasion).

Throughout the nine days we spent on the trail, I was fascinated by how efficient the thru-hikers had become and even learned that hiker “midnight” was actually 8pm! I was also intrigued by the thru-hikers equipment and how they always seemed to be talking about food (or lack of food). The most difficult part for me was dealing with the rain and mud. Of the 90 miles we walked, it seemed like 45 miles was mud. It meant for a slippery slope at times so we were very cautious navigating through the rocky terrain. One thru-hiker coined our section of the hike “Ver-mud” and he was right! There were options each night to sleep in our tent or the shelters along the way. I am happy to report that “Ver-mud” has really excellent shelters and privies. The Entertainer seemed to enjoy reaching camp and getting to know the other hikers. He was born to be on the trail; effortlessly climbing the Vermont mountains and gliding over streams and the rocky terrain.


Will I return? Yes. For sure. I have my sights set on Mt. Washington. It will be mine. Why? I guess that’s why they call me “I’m Alive” on the trail.


Tips for Success on the Trail

·       Before you take on the AT, train in your area with your hiking boots and backpacks

·       Study the route and make each day reasonable

·       Spray clothes with Permethrin and use Deet lotion with sunscreen to ward of insects and ticks

·       Pack first-aid and emergency supplies

·       Keep cell phone charged with a battery backup

·       Strategically pack equipment, meals and drink

·       Filter water from springs to remove bacteria

·       Eat full meals, stay hydrated and take breaks along the way

·       Take good care of your feet; keep them dry and warm

·       Take your daily medications and supplements

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