My personal pre-A.T. American songbook

One week left before we leave, 10 days before we start our hike 🙂

10) Bridge over troubled water, Simon & Garfunkel, 2009 version
There will be a lot of troubled waters to cross and not always a bridge.

9) Sigmund Freud´s impersonation of Albert Einstein in America, Randy Newman
Maybe the longest song title ever?

8) Take me home, country roads, John Denver
Of course! 700 miles to Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains, 1000 miles to West Virginia.

7) Walking in Memphis, Marc Cohn
At least we´ll walk a lot of miles along the Tennessee state line. Let´s see if we meet the ghost of Elvis in the Smokies (or just a bear).

6) City of New Orleans, Arlo Guthrie
Live at Farm Aid 2008. North-bound thru hike meets south-bound odyssey.

5) America, Neil Diamond
Far, we´ve been traveling far – oh yes, but this was only the beginning :-).

4) Rocky Mountain High, John Denver
Not the Appalachian Mountains but: “Left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again might say he found a key for ev’ry door. He know he’d be a poorer man If he never saw an eagle fly”.

3) America the beautiful, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and many more
Spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties – looking forward to this.

2) The River, Bruce Springsteen
No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, now flowers, no wedding dress – a hiker marriage?

1) Forever young, Pete Seeger
May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung may you stay forever youngdedicated to all Thru Hikers!

A.T. elevation profile: climbing Mt Everest 16 times

12 days left before we leave, exactly 2 weeks/14 days until we will set our first steps on the Appalachian Trail. First we´ll take the 8,8 miles approach trail from Amicalola Falls State park to Springer Mt. We discussed for a while if to hike even the Approach Trail or alternatively take a ride to the forest road which crosses the AT one mile to the North of Springer Mt, but finally we felt 8,8 miles can not be decisive if we plan to manage the entire trail of 2189 miles (3520 kilometers, which is the official length for 2015 – the distance varies from year to year, most years it´s getting longer than it was the year before).
Recently I found an elevation profile for the whole AT (thanks to http://www.topofusion.com) which looks awesome. Even if the highest peaks are “only” around 2000m – Clingmans Dome in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park at 2025 m is the highest point of the entire AT – the total climb for the whole trail is quite impressive: more than 600 000 feet (I have to get used to get the message in feet instead of meters) which is 182 900 meters ascent in total. This means climbing the Mt Everest 16 times from sea levels. We´ll take the challenge!

Elevation profile AT

One month left before we start

IMG_5400IMG_5383

Exactly one month from now, on April 1st, we´ll start our journey by flying from Luleå, North Sweden via Stockholm and Chicago to Atlanta. We´ll stay for 2 nights at a hotel near to Atlanta airport and the plan is to purchase food for the first 4-5 days in Atlanta. Even gas for the stove is on the list of supply we need to check in Atlanta.
2 days later will take a shuttle from North Springs to Amicalola State Park and start our hike. We hope we can get some miles further than Springer Mountain the first day.
Unfortunately the working load for the remaining days is feels gigantic, No idea how to manage to finalize half of the tasks that are on the to-do-list.
Here a preliminary statistic on 2015 Northbound AT Thru-Hikers starting date. Clearly we´ll be long back in the pack when starting.Registered thru hikersOur plan is to cover approx. 23-24 kilometers (15 miles) on an average day and have a zero day every 10 days. of course reality will look different, I`m absolutely aware of that. But if feels good to have a plan.

Pre-registration for Nordenskiöldsrace 2017, the longest skiing race ever, is open now

Startpage_ENLooking for a new challenge? Want to participate in the first Ultra Ski Race ever? On April 2nd 2017 you have to chance! The place is Jokkmokk, Norrbotten County, North Sweden and the distance is 220 kilometers.
This first and toughest skiing competition in history – Cross Country skiing– was carried out on 4th of April 1884. The place was Jokkmokk, Norrbotten County, in the inner parts of North Sweden, exactly at the Arctic Circle.

The distance was, which today seems quite unbelievable, 220 kilometers and the winner time was 21 hours and 22 minutes. That day ski racing was born!
Now you have the chance to experience this longest, hardest and toughest skiing race ever again. Take the challenge and race on the same track as the first skiing race ever 1884.

Can you imagine to ski 220 kilometers within a little bit more than 21 hours, using 1884`s heavy, up to 3 meters long, wooden skis, on of course not-groomed tracks, without service stations where you get isotonic drinks and energy bars? The legend says that the only food the participants received during the race was some reindeer meat and schnapps at the half distance turning point in Kvikkjokk.

www.nordenskioldslopp.se (mainly in Swedish, English version soon to follow)
www.facebook.com/nordenskioldsloppet
jokkmokk_karta1

Updated gear list

Gear1

Telt: Tarptent Rainshadow 2 – 1200 g
Backpack: Lightwave Ultrahike 60 M3 – 1215 g (Wolfgang); ÜLA Ohm 2.0 L – 892 g (Silva)
Sleeping bag: Cumulus Panyam 450 – 854 g
Sleeping mat: Therma-A-Rest NeoAir Xlite R 356 g (Silva); L 434 g (Wolfgang)
Pillow: AntiGravityGear Flex Air Ultralight Pillow – 27 g
Dry sacks: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sacks, 6 to 20 liters – from 24 g
Rain jacket: Marmot Essence – 165 g
Down jacket: Rab Xenon X Hoodie – 400 g
Midlayer: Odlo Sarajevo – 250 g
Tights (wind & rain): Odlo Logic Zeroweight
Tights & base layer: 2XU Thermal Compression Tights
Short tights: Newline Base sprinters
Stove: Optimus Crux Lite – 74 g
Pot: Evernew ECA-522R Titanium Pasta Pot 1000 – 116 g
Shoes: Nike Flex 2014 RN 14 – 270 g
Gloves: Montane Prism Mitt – 46 g
Water filter: Sawyer Mini SP128 – 97 g
Water treatment: Katadyn Micropur Forte – 100 g
Bottle: Platypus soft bottles 1 and 2 liters – 24 & 30 g
Headlamp: Petzl Tikkina – 85 g
Tape: Panzertape
Socks: North Bend
Cap: old cross country skiing cap from Tauernlauf
Trekking poles: Pro-Touch impact 77 – 200 g
Smart phone: Apple Iphone 5C – 132 g
Guide book: The A.T. Guide 2015 Northbound – 335 g

katahdin-peak

Future AT Thru-Hikers: Please Register Your Hike

The following guest post is courtesy of the the ATC, written by Jim Fetig. 

The facts are indisputable. The number of thru-hikers has been increasing for decades. Mass media events such as popular books, television programs or videos have historically driven the numbers higher.2000-milers-1964-2013

Now, for the first time ever, two feature-length films about long-distance hiking are premiering within a year of each other.  History teaches us that these movies, “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods,” are likely to motivate even more people to hit the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). 

The problem is that the Trail has a problem accommodating everyone if they all show up at once. Worse than that, there’s a problem even if they don’t.

During hiking season, shelter sites near the starting point have limited capacity.  Once that capacity is exceeded, the crowding quickly damages the quality of the hikers’ experience, not to mention the destruction of vegetation, overload of the privies and the wear and tear on the trail itself.  This damage should be limited to the extent possible.

The big numbers aren’t expected until next year and beyond, but it’s not too early to start working on the challenges they are going to present.AT-Nobo-thru-hiker-Start-Date-graph-2010-2014-jan-june-1024x791

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has formed a task force to find the best courses of action. While several ideas are in the works, promoting nontraditional hikes and voluntary registration are the first ones out the door.

Voluntary registration needs the most explaining.  Its purpose is to let hikers know when to expect crowds so they can avoid them if desired. 

Everyone is free to start their hike when they want, but with voluntary registration they’ll know what to expect.  In that way, no one should be surprised if there’s no room in the shelter, all the tent spaces are filled, and you’re standing in line for the privy.

To register, hikers should go to www.appalachiantrail.org/thruhikeregistration. Check out the calendar, and if facilities are over capacity during a certain date, you will see an “X,” meaning that overcrowded conditions will exist. This allows you to find an open date and register your hike.

The ATC is working on a separate adaptation that will show hikers the actual numbers of starters for any given date.  Until then, the limitations of the off-the-shelf software can only show when a date is maxed out.

This chart shows that certain dates have been historically more popular.  It’s best to avoid the 1st, 15th, 30th and holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.  (Obviously March madness is alive and well on the A.T. as well as in the basketball world.)

Registering your hike can not only reduce your stress from day one, it also can help you pay it forward. The data generated from the voluntary registration process will help the ATC determine what extra resources in the form of ridgerunners, caretakers and Trail maintainers may be needed.  We all want those who follow us to have an equal chance to have a hike as good as our own. 

Favourite stretching exercises

Sometimes, it is difficult to bring myself to do my stretching exercises – but after having done them, I do not longer feel as stiff as a poker, blod circulation has improved and I have easier to get to sleep. So, here I want to share some of my favourite exercises, which I hope I will do at least sometimes at the AT, too!

BeinStretchHamstring stretch with a belt: Hamstrings are a commonly tight area while their flexibility is important for the health of back, hips, and knees. Using a belt makes this stretch comfortable and easy.


HueftbeugerHip flexor stretching: The hip flexors are a group of muscles including both muscles of the hips and upper thighs. As I have a desktop job with a lot of sitting, I like this stretch.



SehnenstretchAchilles tendon and hip stretching:  The Achilles tendon is one of the longer tendons in the body, and one prone to injuries. This stretch can help to avoid hurt and pain!


RueckenstretchShoulder stretching: This stretch relieves tension and possibly fix shoulder pain – not at least after having hiked with a heavy backpack!

The countdown is on

IMG_0846Counting down the days to the start. Now it´s only 2 months or 62 days left until we´re leaving from Amicalola Falls State Park.
Our flights from Luleå to Atlanta via Stockholm och Chicago are scheduled for 1 April. We plan to stay 2 nights in Atlanta in order to complete our equipment with food for the first 3-5 days. If everything works out as planned we´re going to start our journey on April 3.
We´re still not finally decided if we shall hike the approach trail from Amicalola Falls SP or take a shuttle to Big Stamp Gap, USFS 42, walking back on mile on the AT then.
Excitement and anticipation grow day by day.

A walk in the woods – the film

A movie starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte based upon the popular Appalachian Trail book A Walk in the Wothods  by Bill Bryson had its debut on January 23 at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Robert Redford says he first read A Walk in the Woods  when he and his wife Sibylle went on vacation. He grabbed a copy from a bunch of books on his desk … because it had a bear on the cover.  He later said, “I don’t remember laughing out loud as much as I did when I read that book.”

The film stars Robert Redford as an aging travel writer who decides to hike the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail with an estranged high-school friend (played by Nick Nolte), bickering and making wry observations about their lives and the world around them in the process. Nick Offerman, Kristen Schaal and Emma Thompson also joined the cast. Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”) wrote the script.

Upon relocating his family back to the U.S. after years abroad, acclaimed humorist and weathered travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) decides it’s high time to explore his own country. His first order of business: trek the famed 2200-mile Appalachian Trail, much to his wife’s dismay. She allows him to go on one condition – that he find a travel walk-woodscompanion to accompany him on this ludicrous journey. The only person Bill is able to convince is an old acquaintance, Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), a wise-cracking recovering alcoholic and semi-reformed womanizer who is grossly out of shape and arguably out of his mind. As the two men set off into the wilderness, they encounter hilarious characters, wild animals, and life-threatening situations that will test the limits of their friendship – or end it. To be directed by Ken Kwapis and based on Bill Bryson’s beloved best-selling memoir, A Walk in the Woods showcases what is sure to be an unforgettable pairing of Redford and Nolte in this hilarious and touching “coming of age” story about two men who finally discover that life is about the journey, not about the destination.

More info:
www.imdb.com/title/tt1178665/
www.facebook.com/pages/A-Walk-in-the-Woods-Movie/783052905055942

Wolfgang & Silva`s Appalachian Trail thru hike 2015