Let me start by saying WOW! I am so happy that I did this. I feel like I learned a ton about myself along the way and had some interesting experiences to bring home. He is an overview of the trip. I got to the park early Thursday morning. It was about 72 degrees and crystal clear. I parked my car at the entrance to the campground (I couldn’t access the site until 4pm).
There are two apps I utilize to track where and how I’m doing. First, I use the AllTrails App in so many ways. I use it to find new trails in the area that I’m not aware of and learn from the peer reviews how those trails are compared to what I’m looking for.
Then I use the application as my guide map. Once I hit record, I can download the trail map and it will show me where I am on the trail, what elevations I’ve already done and what the terrain looks like moving forward. In big parks with complicated trail systems, this has literally been the best tool I could ever have asked for. If you hike and don’t use this already, go get it. It’s amazing. You can find them in the App Store for your device or online at AllTrails.com
I also use Map My Walk by Under Armour. This has been the most valuable tool I’ve found in a long time. It collects all of my data on my physical walk. Distance. Calories burned. Stride Lengths. It is awesome. I ALWAYS use Map My Walk. I downloaded this from the App Store but you can also find them here at MapMyWalk.com
I started my trackers, strapped on my pack, waived to the Ranger and hit the trail!
The Green Lane Loop is actually three trails. It’s the parks Blue Trail, Red Trail, and Yellow Trail all connected. The Blue Trail is the most like the Appalachian Trail. I didn’t take a lot of pictures here because I did this part of the loop earlier this year with Man Scout Mike Sedor. Check out my Trail Tourist post and the story of how I met Man Scout HERE! This section is tough! It’s very rocky, it has the biggest climbs and the highest points of the entire loop, and it never stops being a roller coaster. Very challenging.
I started in this direction because I wanted to do this section when my legs were the freshest. I started learning about myself early on into the loop. First, I began to realize that I have a natural warm up period when I hike. I’m sure it sounds natural now but I had never consciously realized that I need to get a mile or so into my legs before they start to show how string they are. It’s something I’ll keep in mind as I’m planning when my big climbs will be during the AT.
Then I realized how much short pauses in my climbs help me. As opposed to pausing and pushing to do a climb nonstop, I found that sometimes just stopping for 30 seconds, allowing my legs to rest and catch my breath, made these steep climbs a lot less daunting. My body seemed to say to me “Thanks! That’s all I needed. Now keep going!”
Thanks for checking the start of my Shakedown Hike. In my next blog post I’ll talk about my lunch break with a Jehovah Witness, random banjo music coming from the woods, and what happened when I ran out of water with 4 miles to go.
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