We’re about 11 weeks out from the thru-hike, which is almost no time at all.

The first two days are going to be long ones – 17 miles each, we’re estimating. In order to build up stamina, I have moved toward 6 miles at a minimum. Up until today, that’s about all I’ve done – 6 miles at a pop, coming in at just around the 2 hour mark. Today, though, I did about 7 miles on the trails around Batsto Village, still coming in at around 2:20.

We also took a trip up to New Hampshire for a week this month with some writer friends. It was intended to be a writing retreat (you can read about it over here) – but of course I managed to sneak some hiking in! One of the trails we attempted was a 2-mile trail – sounds easy, but it was actually straight up the side of Black Mountain. Oof. It was beautiful and challenging, and to be honest, we didn’t quite finish. But it was good to be out there and moving.

Next weekend, I’ll be heading down to Belleplain State Forest to do a 7+ mile trail, and then it only goes up from there. I’d like to do the Mullica River Trail in its entirety before the end of August – that’s a 9-ish mile trail. And then start tackling the southern end of the Batona in September, so I have an idea what I’m working with there before I set out in October.

I’m also trying to keep myself on track at the karate school – I fell off the wagon pretty hard and was lucky to make it to one class a week. But I’m building back up with a goal of doing at least 4 classes per week by the end of August, and maintaining that through September. That should help with the stamina AND the strength, since the instructors combine cardio workouts with core/strength exercises that rely on body weight.

In terms of gear, I bought myself a nice set of trekking poles and a new pair of Keen boots, which are super comfortable. I also signed up for a subscription to Cairn, one of those monthly box services. Cairn is geared for outdoorsy things, and so far I’ve managed to score a titanium spork, a backpacking pillow, and some delicious snacks from Simple Squares and Bricks Bars.

Upcoming posts: figuring out what the heck I’m going to eat on the trail, more training notes, and some hacks I’ve managed to pick up over the last few months.

As usual, consider supporting my hike with a donation to the National MS Society! Details here. 

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