This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to the Northern Ruck at Bear’s Den Hostel in Bluemont, VA.  The ruck is one of the many trail festivals or gatherings that are done yearly in order to share information between past thru-hikers and prospective thru-hikers.

I made a full weekend of it, and it was much needed. I turn 29 tomorrow…yikes! :) And this was my birthday present to myself.  On the way down, I stopped and saw Sunkist, a fellow 2012 hiker.  It was great to catch up and meet her family.  They were so warm and welcoming.  The next morning was a short drive (2 hours) to Bear’s Den where fellow hikers Nokey, Testament and Sprinkles were already enjoying the atmosphere of the ruck.  It was so amazing that for a day, I got to sit around with fellow thru-hikers, reminisce about the trail and be called by my trail name.  I met hikers from year’s past and imparted a little bit of advice to a young woman setting out in 2013.  I hate to admit it, but, I also ate like a thru-hiker for the evening…the spread was amazing! For those of you thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail in the future, a gathering like this is a great way to get more information on what you might be able to expect. At the same time, I must say, take it all with a grain of salt.  The great thing about hiking the trail is there is absolutely no right way to do it.  What worked for one thru-hiker may not work for another one and it doesn’t guarantee success.  The biggest guarantee is your mind.  The only sound advice I can give is to tell you to read Zach Davis’ Appalachian Trials. This book forgets the similar suggestions everyone else gives about gear and food and terrain.  It instead focuses on the mind, which can make or break a thru-hike.

Back from my unsolicited advice….and back to my weekend, I got to see my good friend and fellow Wolfpack member Cheeks on my way home.  She saw the first 40 minutes of the rough cut and offered some great advice on how things are coming along. That’s right folks, it is at 40 minutes, and I am not even halfway done with the story! Looking forward to sharing it with you all when it is done. In the meantime, enjoy these photo’s from last weekend at the ruck!

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