The Big Epic

Connect with Nature - One Adventure at a Time

Tag: Secrets (page 3 of 3)

Benches Are Blessings

We have discovered another simple thing that most of us either take for granted or never notice in daily life: benches!

When carrying a heavy pack over uneven terrain, sooner or later one’s joints begin to ache. (Yes, even for teens…it just takes longer for them than for us old ones!) Finding a place to take off the backpack and sit for a few minutes takes on immense significance on a tiring day.

Any stump, log,  or stone will do…but it is better if there is a back to lean against, as with these stone chairs at one campsite.

Stone chair

Even better is a seat that is long enough to turn sideways and prop up one’s feet as with this triple-wide Adirondack style chair at one shelter.

Adirondack bench

A picnic table loses points for having no back to lean against. At shelters with tables, cooking gets done here, but lounging is more often done against the shelter walls. On the other hand, when found at a parking area along the trail, picnic tables get high points for being the perfect height to easily get back into the pack when rest time is over.

Picnic table

But the luxury of luxuries? Check out this treasure found at the David Lesser Memorial Shelter in Virginia:

Forest swing

We will let you know if we find more gems like this. In the mean time, what’s YOUR favorite place to lounge and recover from a tough day? I’d love to read your response in the comments below!
(Some of these comforts and luxuries are lauded in this post about the wonders of Town Days…found HERE.)

Hiker Lingo

There are some common terms among AT Hikers that might be unintelligible to others. Just in case I slip and use some of these phrases, here is a translation guide:

  • Thru-hiker: Someone who is attempting to hike the entire 2,185 miles from Georgia to Maine (or from Maine to Georgia. ..see next entry)
  • SOBO or NOBO: Southbound or Northbound hiker (We are SOBOs on this trip)
  • Trail Names: Most long-distance hikers have a nickname they are known by on the trail. They sign this name in the registers at shelters and use it when asking about each other on the hiker grapevine. These names are also signed on the photo taken at the AT headquarters. Our names are “Story Seeker” and “Andowen” (an elven name from Lord of the Rings) (Read more about Trail Names HERE and HERE.)
  • Hiker Box: a box found in hostels and other hiker gathering spots where items can be left behind to be picked up and used by other hikers. “Treasures” for us have included fancy protein bars and hot-pink rope!
  • Zero Day: any day when zero miles are hiked. This is often associated with town days.
  • Near-o Day: a day with limited miles. Efficient hikers manage to hike a few miles to town, complete a resupply, and hike a few miles further down the trail to the next shelter, all in one town day. We have not yet mastered this level!
  • Hiker Midnight: either 8 pm or 9 pm, depending on which hikers you talk with. By this “late” hour all the backpackers are headed to bed after a long day of exercise and fresh air.
  • Hiker TV: There is great entertainment to be found in people-watching, whether in town or when day-hikers share the trail!


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