It was Pan’s desire to do a thru-hike that had us, early in 2017, scanning the Backpacker’s two page spread of “America’s Best Long Trails.” Our mission was to find a trail that would be doable in the time we had in our already jammed pack summer schedule. She wanted to thru-hike and not section hike one of the longer options. Three hundred and twenty-three miles seemed a stretch for three weeks on our untrained legs; yet it was within driving distance and there was that spark of hope that we could do it.
So the recipe books were consulted and the dehydrator ran for weeks as we dehydrated and packaged meal after meal. We were determined to eat well.
We took inventory of our packs and made crucial and, of course, well-reasoned decisions about everything we’d carry.
Blogs were scoured for any tidbits of information that would make the Sheltowee Trace maps come alive. Handwritten notes filled the margins of our ST trail guide filling our imaginations with dim expectations of the days ahead.
And we walked.
Training hike #1: 11 miles at Mohican State Park in Loudonville, Ohio. We started on the North Rim and walked up to the dam and to the falls and back again to our little cabin at the campground.
Training hike #2: We attempted to thru hike the Pine Mountain Trail in a day (23 miles). We made it 18 miles before calling a shuttle.