By SARAH DOOLITTLE
Four Points News
There were so many reasons to worry as I embarked on my second Appalachian Trail section hike in June. Not for any of the reasons other people worry about when I go on the trail alone â€” not because of bears, or murderous convicts, or rattlesnakes around every bend â€” but because of the fact that I would hike 74 miles (the width of New Jersey) in five days and had not trained.
Last time I hiked the AT, when I covered 150 miles in 9 days, I trained for two months in advance, hitting the trails in Steiner Ranch and beyond at least three days a week, two hours a day, with a weighted pack and poles. By the time I got on the actual trail, my body knew exactly what to do, and I covered miles and climbed peaks with relative ease.
This year, as I walked away from my sketchy motel in Delaware Water Gap, Pa. at 9 a.m., my body felt like I was taking it out for a test drive. The morning air was typical to a trail town (what hikers call the many towns, mostly small, that are on or near the AT): green, humid and smelling of diesel and diner breakfasts.