Boo Boo update: Boo Boo has some kind of stomach bug, and told me he was throwing up while coming down the mountain last night. He has a room for two nights at the Super 8, and hopes to resume hiking as soon as he can keep food down.
Several weeks ago, Travis “BevoHi” Hildebrand left an interesting comment on my post for “Day 28 on the Appalachian Trail.” Travis was a successful 2016 A.T. thru-hiker who wrote a wonderful journal about his hike that I followed at postholer.com. Following his hike, I reached out to him, and he became my mentor while kindly, and patiently answering the millions of questions that I had.
Travis’ comment revolved around some general questions, the answers to which might be of interest to the wonderful people who are following my journey. Since today is a “zero” without trail news, I thought it would be a good time to provide the answers to Travis’ questions.
1.) How do you write your blog? What is the mechanism used? (Notepad? WordPress Application? straight up web browser?) Do you have a Bluetooth keyboard? Are you using speech to text software to dictate?
I type my posts on an iPhone 7+ directly into Notes. Since the phone is rather large, I found that I can type directly on the phone, just like a text message, even with my fat fingers. In other words, I chose a huge phone over the extra weight of a Bluetooth keyboard. I haven’t tried speech to text because I heard that it uses a lot of precious battery power.
After I have typed my post, I copy it to an email addressed to my postholer account, along with some code that site uses, and I copy the email to my wife, mother, and my daughters. When I’m in an area where I have the bandwidth, I email the pictures connected to that post to my daughter Caroline.
Caroline is my webmaster, and has been doing a wonderful job with the blog. She takes my email, and copies the text into the WordPress editor, and proofreads it. Then she uploads the pictures to WordPress, adds the titles to the pictures, inserts the pictures into the appropriate spots in the story, and then publishes the blog. It is a very time consuming process, and I’m extremely grateful to her for keeping things running smoothly while taking a full load of courses at college.
2.) How long does it take to write about your day for your blog? It is very well written and integrated with pictures (much nicer than the postholer one I used last year).
On average, it takes me about two hours to write a daily blog. It takes a little longer if there is any background research involved.
3.) What does the timing of your day look like? What time do you get up? What time do you start hiking? When do you reach your destination for the day?
I usually wake up shortly after sunrise (earlier if there are whippoorwills in the area, grrrrr!) After the routine of cooking and eating breakfast, motivating myself to put on cold, wet clothes, and packing everything up, I start hiking. In the beginning, that start time was around 8:00 – 8:30 am. Now that sunrise is getting earlier, I’m getting started around 7:30 am. Under special circumstances, I have started hiking as early as 6:00 am.
My desired destination is predetermined before I leave in the morning. My preference is to get to camp about 1.5 hours before sunset. This gives me time to leisurely set up my tent, gather and filter water, cook and eat dinner, inflate my air mattress, etc. If I’m not too exhausted at that point, I will write my journal.
Sometimes I stop short of my destination (it is getting late or I come across an extraordinary camping spot), and sometimes I go a little further. Under special circumstances, I will arrive at my destination very late. This happened a few nights ago when I hiked at night to avoid the heat.
4.) Who is your cell phone provider? (please say Verizon….)
Verizon is my cell phone provider. As bad as the signal usually is, it is still better than AT&T, although there have been a few rare places where the AT&T folks had a bar when I didn’t. Surprisingly, people that use Sprint have done pretty well. I’m not certain if any of this will change (for better or worse) as I continue north.
5.) Do you have a spreadsheet or something showing your mileage?
I have a spreadsheet that I created before I started my thru-hike, that I don’t update for changes. So far, I’m exactly four days behind that original schedule due to extra “zeros.” I’ve made the mileage and stayed at over 95% of the destinations that I pre-selected. After I finish the hike, I will update the spreadsheet based on the information that I have recorded in these blogs.
Thank you BevoHi for your questions, and for following along on my journey! Your comments, along with the comments left by everyone, mean more to me than you can imagine. I hope this post provides some helpful “behind the scenes” info.