#5 -- Do you carry a gun?
|Not really that much of a concern...|
#4 -- Don't you worry about bears?The black bear of the east is not the fearsome beast that the grizzly bear is. Generally they're shy, and will run away if you make any kind of loud noise when they appear. But... problem bears can be an issue in some areas where the population is high and they've gotten accustomed to thinking of backpackers as a source of food (the food we carry, not us personally). This problem can be acute around shelters or campsites where hikers have left food out or haven't cleaned up after themselves. In fact, a hiker was bitten by a black bear while in his tent in GSMNP this year. For that reason, I'm carrying pepper spray with me for the first time ever. I very much doubt I'll need it, but if someone decides to stick his snout in my tent I'll have something more than a hiking pole to defend myself with.
#3 -- How much does your pack weigh?
|Totin' my REI Flash 65 pack in 2014. My current pack is a slightly smaller Osprey Exos 58.|
Over the years, though, I've managed to put together some good gear and have learned what I can do without. So I can pack for a summer/early fall trip and have a pack "base weight" (no food or water) of about 20 pounds. Add 4 days of food and a liter of water and I'm up to 30 pounds. With a good pack that rides pretty well, and the weight goes down as you work through your food supply. Based on what I see, I carry a lot less than most weekend backpackers, but maybe just a bit more than a thru-hiker who's been out on the trail for several months.
#2 -- Where do you stay?There are three choices: my tent, a shelter, or off the trail (motel, hostel, etc.). If the weather's good and you can find a nice level spot, tenting is a great option. There's a degree of privacy, even if you're tenting near others, and you don't have to worry about disturbing anybody else if you want to get up early.
|Vandeventer Shelter, TN, 2014 - pretty average digs on the AT.|
|The bunkhouse at Woods Hole Hostel, VA, 2013. Well worth the stop.|
#1 -- Do you go alone?
|(L to R) Torch, Spike, and Late Start, VA 2011|