I was chatting with my acupuncturist Caroline a while back and we got on the topic of my hike and how I felt about the trip. I recounted some of the issues I was discussing in the previous post when she said, "You know, you can try again. Just because you weren't successful the first time doesn't mean you won't be successful if you try again." Silly as it sounds I had never really given myself the option of making a second attempt. I think mostly because of personal responsibilities and the complications of leaving home for such a long time. Oddly enough her words had an immediate impact on my mood and since that time I've been seriously considering taking another wack at a thru hike. Caroline told me she and her partner are planning to hike most of the trail in 2014 and that I was welcome to join them when they started hiking north from Idylwild next spring. I don't know if I would be able to keep up with them as they are both excellent athletes but the idea of having people to share the experience with is appealing, on many levels.
If I am to make another attempt there are something's I know I must do differently if I am going to give myself the best chance of being successful. First, I must start the trail at least twenty pounds lighter than I started the trail last time. Thirty would be even better. Why? Simply put, less weight on my bones is less weight to carry up and down hills. Add in gear, water and food and you can see why less weight where I can control it will be be beneficial, to put it mildly.
Secondly, I must minimize my home contacts to town stops. My constant connection with home was one of the problems I had in getting grounded on the trail. Always in two places mentally I never did well at either and it made the hard times even harder. So, no in between resupply stops contact will help. Or so I imagine.
Thirdly, I must eat better. No candy bars and other empty foods, simply because they are easy to carry and get in towns. They effect my energy levels and I wonder if some of the difficulty I had in 2012 had to do with the crap food I ate. It's easier to eat that way on trail but it isn't a good choice for my overall health and mental well being. In this vein I'm going to contact a super hiker I know, with the trail name of Shroomer, who managed to eat well on the last big hike he did. He'll be a wealth of information, he's a master cook and a generous soul.
Last but not least is the physical shape I must be in to have the highest likelihood of success. That simply means miles on my feet with weight in my pack. Nothing fancy.