Talk: The Care and Feeding of the Long Distance Hiker

Food PreparationsBackpackThe top two things hikers talk about are Food and Gear! This presentation covers both. For even the seasoned veteran, a long-distance hike tests the very limits of endurance. What steps can a hiker take to minimize the brutal physical effects of days, weeks and even months on the trail and maximize the chances for success? In this presentation, we provide valuable tools for surviving a long-distance hike; the very same tools we used during our 2006 Appalachian Trail thru-hike and end-to-end hike of The Long Trail. We discuss creative and nutritious alternatives to standard “off-the-shelf” dehydrated meals as well as other important nutrition tips. We also share our secrets for minimizing, and even eliminating, blisters and demonstrate other techniques we employed to keep ourselves healthy. Our presentation also covers comparisons of stoves, the importance of water filtration and the specifics of “comfort-lite” hiking.

Each presentation is complete with reflections about life on the trail, answers to "Frequently Asked Questions", and wonderful anecdotes about the people and places that make up the legendary Appalachian Trail. The visual wonders of the AT are displayed through a backdrop of stunning photos from the DVD “Appalachian Trail Reflections”. Native American flute music, from “Windtalker - Native SoundScapes” welcomes the audience and establishes the mood for the presentation to come. Feet at Dahlanega

We have been day-hiking and backpacking together since 2000 when "Mom" first got the idea to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. During our preparation years, we encountered many opportunities to learn what worked, and what didn't work, for us. We have tried out a lot of gear (see one of our Gear Lists below) and foods while out on the trail. We've hiked all over the United States and a few other countries, but long-distance trails we've completed include:

If you would like to attend one of our upcoming presentations, look for them on our Calendar and Contact us for more details.

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“In the past year, Randy and Georgia have given hugely successful presentations at our stores in Fairfax, Virginia, Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia and Rockville, Maryland. Their extensive knowledge of all things related to the Appalachian Trail has been shared with hundreds of REI customers. Their presentations, “The Joys of Backpacking as a Couple” and “The Care & Feeding of the Long-Distance Hiker” have been presented, with audiences ranging from 25 - 60 people. Both Randy and Georgia are personable, accessible, and entertaining, and their breadth of knowledge makes for the most informative evening. We are always glad to have them come out and share their passion with our members.” Rhonda Krafchin - Outreach Specialist - REI Fairfax

The photo at left shows Randy at Dahlgren Backpacker Campground with our FIRST tent on one of our first overnight hikes. Three tents later and we had an REI Quarter Dome that we used during our AT thru-hike. Now we have a car camping tent too and the Quarter Dome fits in the "foyer"! See our Gear List - this is something that isn't included in the E-book versions of "Solemates, Lessons on Life, Love, and Marriage from the Appalachian Trail".