I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Wegerzyn Gardens on Thursday evening sponsored by Five Rivers MetroParks entitled “Long Distance Hike Trip Planning.” I did not know exactly what to expect but the promo suggested that there would be some local experts available to answer questions. The promo was a little bit of an understatement and the Q/A time was so interesting.
I would guess that there were 30-35 participants and most of us were seriously planning a long hike. After the panel of six experts introduced themselves and shared a bit of their experiences, the floor was opened to our questions. We talked about sleeping bags and staying warm; handbooks and maps; socks and shoes; stoves and camp fires; food and resupply; mail drops and bounce boxes; bear hangs and rat sacks; and safety and hitch-hiking. Each expert gave their perspective and opinion based on their experiences. I appreciated the commonality of their answers despite the variety of their wilderness experiences.
Angie was the moderator for the evening. She provided a nice context for the discussion regarding long distance hiking. She and her husband Shawn (also a panel member) completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2009. Another expert at the workshop was Brent who thru-hiked the A.T. in 1997 then he and his wife, Amy (who participated on the panel as well), hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2001 and the Buckeye Trail in 2003. Amy was the first woman to thru-hike the Buckeye Trail (a continuous trail of about 1400 miles that circles the state of Ohio). Andy (Captain Blue) has section-hiked the Appalachian Trail three times and has completed numerous other long trails across the country. I had the chance to hear Andy speak at REI a few months ago. The last panel member was my friend, Vonnie (Princess Doah). She completed the A.T. in sections and has recently hiked the Florida Trail from Key West to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the wisdom provided by these experts and seasoned veterans. I left the workshop realizing how little I know and how little time there is to get ready.
Photo for Amy and Brent: http://www.buckeyetrailhiker.com/2011_03_01_archive.html