My flight leaves April 5th; I start walking on the 8th.
How long will this take?
I may finish by early September: if I keep a steady pace of 14 miles (20 km)
per day, I’ll finish by late September, but I hope to speed up as I go (which
most through-hikers do). I will note that from everything I’ve heard, the best
time to cross the Alps is in August.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
Who’s going with you?
I’m doing this alone. Meghan and the kids are staying back home, but once
school is out, I’ll take a break to meet them (along with other family members)
for a two-week tour of
I don’t know! The nearest I can figure is that this is a mid-life crisis,
only without a girlfriend or a stupid car. I don’t even remember where I heard
about the network of European hiking trails (there are a dozen of
them); it was almost a
year and a half ago (a
tweet is the earliest
record I have). The idea kept nagging at me until one day I kind of decided I
wanted (or maybe needed?) to do it.
Um … what does Meghan think about this?
I think she’s okay with it? I mean, if I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t be
doing it at all. We’re both a little anxious about this, but think it will
work out for both of us. (This isn’t me trying to avoid a failing marriage, if
that’s what you’re wondering.)
How are you training?
The only real way to train for a through-hike is to … go on a through-hike.
That said, I have been wearing my backpack to work and taking an hour-long walk
at lunch, to keep from being too shocked when I start. Now obviously that’s
nothing like a real through-hike, but I do average something more than five
miles over the course of less than two hours each weekday (to the degree that
my phone’s pedometer can be trusted). I feel pretty confident that I can
triple that distance without too much difficulty (q.v. “14 miles per day”
What gear are you bringing, what’s your base weight, &c.?
This is a big question — I’ll eventually do a separate post just on gear.
Will you be totally unplugged during the trip?
Not totally. I’m taking my phone, and I expect to have cell service most of
the time, just like here in the States. I’ll be in touch with my family
whenever possible. I will uninstall Twitter and my
RSS feed reader, among other things, and I don’t plan to
closely follow the news.
Can I get in touch with you?
Sure! I’ll be using European SIMs, so it’s probably not
best to call me, but you can email me, or contact me via my email address on
iMessage. Like I said, I won’t be checking Twitter.