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004 The Neophyte’s List of Helpful Appalachian Trail Videos

Posted by on March 14, 2014
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Bob Ward

Fiction author with a zest for adventure travel. Blogs, tweets, videos, and pins for research and fun. He also hosts Ward's Adventure Travel Research & Trip Journal, a weekly podcast available on EFN, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and more.

In episode 004, dad and I discuss the following list of AT videos, which we gathered and watched in an effort to combat our total ignorance about what’s involved with hiking the Appalachian Trail. I posted my list in real-time (as I found them), and asked dad to email me his list for posting as well (as he found them). We agreed to limit our individual choices to the 5 most helpful videos we felt added to our knowledge at this particular time–which is unquestionably the neophyte’s level of hardly knowing anything. We ended up with 10 videos of great value to us.

  1. 2012-2013 The AT Guide “AWOL” 2013 Appalachian Trail thru-Hikers,Data Book, 2013 Companion Guide
  2. Faces of the Appalachian Trail
  3. 2012 SEPT AT Hike: Fontana To Clingmans
  4. On a Thru-Hike with a dog – Appalachian Trail 2010
  5. Appalachian Trail Light Weight Gear Tips: What I used and what I dumped
  6. Sawyer Mini Vs Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System
  7. Trail Tested: The Sawyer Mini Filter Review
  8. Appalachian Trail Gear Video 2013
  9. Backpacking Gear List 2013
  10. Wilderness EDC: 30lbs of lightweight stuff

Although we only mentioned his videos briefly, Sintax 77 provided a much needed look at the back-country terrain for both areas of the AT dad and I are considering. In this episode, it seems pretty clear that we’ve already decided on Shenandoah–largely due to Bill Bryson’s suggestion that it was more favorable hiking. I asked dad to watch both of Sintax77’s videos below before we made our final decision. Either way, I will be ordering detailed maps of both areas, and hopefully they will arrive before next Wednesday’s man-night meeting.

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains Video by Sintax77

Hiking Shenandoah National Park Video by Sintax77

Maps (only somewhat useful for visualizing the general area):

These are decent AT maps for initial planning only – zoomable and printable to one sheet of standard paper

 Shenandoah National Park Links:

NPS Website

What I’m typing right now should have been at the top of this post. Very simply, here’s a list of interesting topics we discuss in this episode–beyond the 10 videos (which we had only talked about briefly by the time the recording was all said and done). Here’s a bullet list, in about the order the topics are discussed:

  • Bear attacks in Shenandoah National Park, finding bear scat with bear bells included

(Computer question: What causes a new laptop to hang for 8 minutes as “Page Unresponsive” when all you’re trying to do is type words? And how do I deal with my strong desire to spike this damn thing and revert to paper and pencil?)

  • The hows and whys of not dripping barbecue sauce on your shirt in bear country
  • How much weight will we carry, how much weight will we lose (fat), how many miles we’ll likely walk per day, how many hours per day
  • Great Smoky Mountains area will be hotter, more humid, and wetter…and closer to Deliverance land
  • How will we navigate trails in full dark if necessary, talk about head lamps
  • Sintax77 found black bear fur and saw wild boar
  • Discuss various type of hats
  • How many days will we go, probably 7-10 days
  • We will get more detailed maps of both areas
  • When are we going? We decided we must look at historical temperatures and other weather data before committing to dates
  • We discussed gear
  • How big of a pack depends on items needed and how long gone
  • Dad bought a Sterno stove, and we discussed briefly
  • Talked about typical main entree…noodles
  • I showed him my Mystery Ranch pack
  • Do we share a tent?
  • A pack must fit you well, and fitting the pack is important. I recommended dad visit the dudes at Fin and Feather
  • Practice hikes at Yellow River to test gear
  • Talk at length about walking staffs and the recommendations of Colin Fletcher
  • More discussion of Colin Fletcher’s philosophies on the benefits of walking and hiking
  • What are swooshy pants
  • Discussed Katz getting lost by a creek and Bill Bryson asking him if he was ready to quit
  • And more…


Friday, 10 am: Just spoke with dad, who already went to Fin and Feather in Iowa City. He seemed very impressed with the knowledge of the dudes working there. They knew how to fit packs, and furthermore, one of them is actually leaving April 8th to hike the AT from Georgia to Maine. Dad tried on the following three:

Gregory Baltoro 65

Bergens Glittertind 55

Northface El Lobo 60

He seems to like the Gregory, but will be researching a bit more before making a purchase. Check out The Wild Outsiders¬†(two adventure dudes; one who helped dad) as they document their AT trip this year. Quite timely to discover them, and they’re living right here near us. I’ve always known the dudes at Fin and Feather walked the walk!

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One Response to 004 The Neophyte’s List of Helpful Appalachian Trail Videos

  1. Andrew Simmons


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