THE TRIPLE CROWN AWAITS
Appalachian Trail 2023- Preparation
Some of you might be wondering – what is the Triple Crown, does it mean doing one long trail three times or something similar?
The Triple Crown of Hiking refers to the three major U.S. long-distance hiking trails:
• Pacific Crest Trail – 2,653 miles (4,270 km), between Mexico and Canada following the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range and traversing Washington, Oregon, and California. Hammer and I completed California together in 2016 and Hammer went on to finish the rest after I broke my ankle in the Russian Wilderness area. I went back in 2017 and completed the Oregon and Washington sections on my own.
• Continental Divide Trail – 3,028 miles (4,873 km), between Mexico and Canada following the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains and traversing Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. We completed the CDT 2019, a year which presented challenging weather conditions. Little did we know of the challenges coming in the next few years.
• Appalachian Trail – 2,194 miles (3,531 km), between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine and traversing the state of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. This is the oldest and the most popular of the three long distance trails. Our plan was to do it in 2020 but off course nobodies 2020 went to plan.
It has taken us some time to agree that this hike is something we wanted to do. Before the huge disruption over the past three years we were in no doubt that the Triple Crown of Hiking is what we were aiming to complete. The setbacks over the past three years made me doubt that I still had the ability to go on long hikes. Of course these doubts still exist but there is only one way to find out.
Last years return to hike the Washington section of the PCT was a sort of test of our ability and physical fitness and more importantly a test of our willingness to embrace the discomfort for extended periods of time. A circuit breaker of sorts for the despondency I was feeling over the losses and setbacks we exprienced over the last 3 years.
It was Bill Brysons book ‘Walk in the Woods’ which I read way back in the early 2000s that ignited my imagination about spending more time immersed in nature. Hammer did not need any convincing – being active outdoors is his happy place, be it in the surf or camped in some mountainous landscape. In fact the first present he ever bought me, when we first met – some 33 years ago, was a sleeping bag suitable for camping in the snow. Not very romantic but so incredibly practical.
We are days away from leaving Australia and we have our packs ready to go. If we finish this hike we will be in the select group of Triple Crowners. It means nothing to most people but so much to the small club of long distance hikers.
The decision to go was made back in February, departure date set, airfares booked and then we got distracted by evolving plans to demolish our house and rebuild when we return. Plans are with Council, it was a rocky start but we are back on track as of the day of our departure.
As a result of planning and permitting hurdles our gear sat in a sorry pile in the spare room. No neat flat gear lays for photographs till the Monday before our departure.
It felt great to order the mess and make sure we had everything we needed and nothing more.
A few friends have asked about our packweight. Now that we are sorted, my pack base weight is 4.8kg and Hammer is 9.2kg. Food and water will add to this but we don’t expect that there will be long food carries like on the other two trails. Apart from that we approach this hike with no expectations except to stay unbroken.
We leave home April 5th flying Sydney to Los Angeles, then Houston and finally Atlanta. The trail commences approx 90 miles north of Atlanta. We plan to spend a day in Atlanta and start hiking on Good Friday April 7th. We expect the hike to take about 5 months. Plenty of time to spare before our visa runs out
Looking forward to your adventures. It will be such a different hike to the others and that will be part of the fun! Carolyn
Sent from Mail for Windows
Thank you Carolyn
Looking forward to experiencing the difference.
Hi stefica& Mike,
No sure if my original message got to you so will try again.
Sorry we missed you in Sydney.
Can’t believe we we arrived on the train as you were leaving by plane.
Read that you are delomishing the house at Warriewood. What an adventure after this hiking adventure.amazing and what a great place to live.
I am inspired by your light packing for your trail.
David and I are hiking the Trails to Freedom Walk in northern Italy in August this year.
It starts in Biella and finishes in Domodossola.
We carry our clothes, amenities and water for 7 days.
Hope I can follow your light packing style.
All the best for the 5 months ahead.
Take care and I will follow your blog.
X sue Minns
We are so sorry about missing you and Meg in Sydney. Will follow your hike in Italy with great interest.
Hey Guys. Fantastic. Happy Trails. I see you got ‘spring’s at the airport so it is great to see you will have some fellow Aussies out there as well. Nice work on sub 5kg. I spot a new pack! Don’t tell ‘Freeloader’ but I’m in the market as well. Look forward to regular updates from the trail. Have a great time. Karl
Thank you Karl. There will be a few Aussies I’m sure. No new packs for either of us. Hammer has a much repaired Osprey Exos and mine is still the Hyperlight Souwester I had for the PCT in 2017. I’d probably get the same when it’s time for a replacement. I’m sure your Freeloader still has many miles to go.
WOW I take my hat off to both of you! I hope it all goes well with no injuries. Love reading all yr updates. Good luck & stay safe.
Thank you Jennifer, that is so kind.
Wow Stefica, another amazing adventure for you guy’s. Have an amazing time and as usual I will be waiting on your regular updates to brighten my day xx
Thank you Sharon, so happy to have you along.
Have a GREAT Adventure look forward to all your updates , NO falling over ha ha or should I say Break a Leg. Terry
Thank you Terry. My plan is to remain unbroken.
Guys. I meant to ask. PCT 2023 – If this was your year would you even bother leaving Sydney with the record snowload. Knowing what I know now, I hope I would be sensible enough to give it away at the airport gate but suspect I would start having put the planning in place. Imagine the run off as it melts let alone walking / camping in it
Not a good year on the PCT. If you have a choice put it off. For me the snowmelt is more of a problem because of the number if creek crossings. In that regard you would be better to hike early in the season if you don’t mind walking and camping on snow. I saw an article from the PCT association saying that the window for any trail work this year is very narrow.
I look forward to following your Adventure with great interest. Such an inspiration. Safe travels.
So nice to hear from you Capt’n. Thank you for your kind words and good wishes.
Looking forward to following along, as always!
So nice to have you along Leslie.
so excited for you I didn’t see any crowns packed?? ha ha looking forward to following you love FishnChips
The crown would be excess weight 😇. So nice to have you along.