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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hopkins

The Appalachian Trail

Indeed, as you might have surmised, a new hobby is beginning to take shape: thru-hiking or embarking on long-distance backpacking adventures.

After consulting for a catalog of 100 enjoyable activities for retirees, this particular pursuit caught my attention. I dabbled in camping during my youth and largely found it enjoyable, despite the occasional discomfort of firm ground and the morning struggle to emerge from the confines of the tent. However, life's most worthwhile endeavors often come with a touch of adversity, don't they?

My initial plan involves undertaking the Capital City Trail (CCT) as my inaugural journey. This straightforward cycling route spans from the southern reaches of Williamsburg to the southern outskirts of Richmond. Extending for a total of fifty miles, I'm aiming to conquer the entire distance in just four days, averaging a daily trek of 25 miles. To achieve this, I'll need to maintain a pace of 3 miles per hour, which would entail around 8 hours of walking per day.

For your perusal, a depiction of my backpack is included in the accompanying image. This pack boasts a voluminous capacity of 65 liters and appears to be an ideal fit for my requirements. Over the past fortnight, I've been in the process of gathering the necessary components to populate the pack: a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pads, filtered water bottles, and other essential items. Once I've made my final selections, I'll furnish a comprehensive inventory of the items I'm taking along.

Post the CCT expedition, I'll refine my gear based on the insights I gather regarding what suits me and what doesn't. Once the replacement pieces are procured and stowed, my sights will shift to the Appalachian Trail. My intention is to commence this undertaking from the section nearest to Charlottesville, Virginia—more specifically, the entrance station at Rockfish Gap within Shenandoah National Park.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or provide any crucial insights that I should be aware of. Rest assured, I'll be equipped with an active GPS device capable of both tracking my progress and dispatching distress signals to the authorities if necessary. Alongside that, I'll be carrying a well-stocked first-aid kit and, of course, a trusty Swiss Army knife for good measure... :)

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