Ten Important Lessons I Learned On The Appalachian Trail

Lists are fun, don’t you think? The following is a list of ten things I learned (or already knew but hadn’t realized how super-duper mega important they were) on my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

1. Cinnamon roll is the best pop-tart flavor, hands down. Sadly, its limited edition status has run its course. R.I.P. cinnamon roll pop-tarts.*

2. Never camp near a road.

3. Those super shiny, super bright blue berries growing all over New England are not, in fact, blueberries.**

4. Being dry isn’t even real.

5. Don’t use your knife for something your teeth could do better.

6. Self-talk and motivational mantras: not just for hippies!

7. Virginia is not flat.

8. Pennsylvania is not as bad as they say.

9. Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet.***

10. It’s just walking.

*Brown sugar cinnamon is the second best flavor. S’mores and chocolate chip are tied for third. Also, limited edition pop-tarts? How is that even a thing?
**I think they might be eastern black nightshade berries, which are mildly toxic. Can anyone verify this?
***This is only sort of true. Sometimes strangers are assholes or racists or murderers or things like that.

Roker, one of the wonderful dudes I hiked with on the AT, wrote a very funny/poignant post-trail wrap-up on his Appalachian Trials blog. It features the aforementioned list, as well as other sage advice and sad truths gleaned from 4- 5 months on the Appalachian Trail. You can read it HERE. Roker hails from north Georgia, is very tall, and says things like, “what now?” or sometimes, “say what now?” Also, his food bag weighed more than my entire pack which is really quite impressive.


6 thoughts on “Ten Important Lessons I Learned On The Appalachian Trail

  1. I’d been wondering what happened to you.. and couldn’t remember the name of the blog but only that I was following it via WordPress…

    but now you are back in my feed (and you are now bookmarked), and big HURRAHS for your successes! I was hoping you’d post while you were passing through CT and MA, which is where I am located.


    #8 — I am glad to hear that! Everything I read lambastes the Rocks O’ PA.

    #1 — I remember a ten mile AT hike we took on a really really hot day when I was in high school (that was the AT portion, not the access portion) , and I poo-pooed the notion of drinking the Hi-C beverage someone brought along. There was a point when there was no stream in sight so we all wolfed that stuff down! (This was before giardia became a noticeable complaint…) I’d probably end up the same way around Pop-Tarts were I to try extended hiking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! I had a hard time keeping up with the blog on trail, but I’m picking up where I left off and will be (writing about when I was) in CT and MA soon 🙂

    The rocks in PA were definitely annoying/painful/slippery when wet, but the trail was incredibly flat, as well. Every 25 miles or so, there’d be one big descent down to a road and subsequent climb out of it, but other than that you’d be cruising along the ridgeline all day–it was dreamy!!


  3. Great post tick tock. Im pretty sure the berries are called Clintonia. Google it. Our friend ‘Not Swedish’ had a berry book. 😉


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