After performing gear research today I ran over an interesting video on Mountain Hardwear's blog. It deals with some guys who hiked the four-state challenge on the Appalachian Trail this past November. The Dusty Camel successfully completed this same undertaking during our 2009 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The way the trail flows through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and enters into Pennsylvania provides an opportunity, with good training and gear, to hike through four-states in a single hiking day.
In prime shape, after already having hiked about a thousand miles, we prepared our gear for this monster day.
1. Extra socks to changeout sweaty ones mid-day
2. Lots of snack food and no big meals in the pack to keep weight down. On that day we couldn't break too long because our feet would swell after months of being on the trail.
3. Aquamira drops to produce potable water throughout the day.
On the big day we were up before the sun. At dawn we were already heading over the beautiful Shenandoah River and an hour later we were at the AT's halfway point in the town of Harper's Ferry. As the day grew we kept a solid pace, but as night fell we all became delirious with fatigue. The Dusty Camel's Dave Dagresta's soles of his feet were two big blood blisters and exhaustion overwhelmed all our bodies.
After much toil and 17 hours we ran up the last ascent and found ourselves spilling over the Mason Dixon line in south central Pennsylvania. I let out a "hell yeah" and we hitched a ride down to the town of Waynesboro, PA. Here we found a motel and some of Pennsylvania's finest beer, Yuengling Lager.
The pain didn't come till the next day. Mornings were usually rough on the trail with feet swelling and general fatigue, but this morning could have been the worst. With months of hiking 20+ miles a day and the big push to complete the four-state challenge our bodies were taken to their breaking point.
But, after a full day's rest we put our boots to the dirt and scored an average of 26 miles a day for the next two weeks! Sometimes breaking your body can really expand its potential.
Below is the video that inspired this article. Congratulations guys!