February 19, 2015 Comments (0) Local interest, Local place/person, Outdoor, Outdoor Adventure, travel, Uncategorized

Jimmy “Railsplitter” VandenHurk reminisces about his AT Thru hike

Having the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as your playground has it’s benefits. Jimmy is in the woods as often as time allows backpacking, day hiking and generally enjoying the woods. In 2013 he thru hiked the Appalachian Trail. Here he recounts some of his trip. Enjoy!

I think it gnaws on many people’s minds; the mystique and calling of the great American On Mcafee Knobpilgrimage. The Appalachian Trail sees thousands of prospective thru­hikers enter her majestic gates every year. What is it that attracts them? Perhaps the need for nature; the unique sense of community and freedom that can only be found amongst the trees, rocks, and wild creatures. In the words of Aldo Leopold, “The elemental simplicities of wilderness travel are thrills not only because of their novelty, but because they represent complete freedom to make mistakes. The wilderness gives us a taste of those rewards and penalties for wise and foolish acts which every woodsman faces daily, but against which civilization has built a thousand buffers… Perhaps every youth needs an occasional wilderness trip, in order to learn the meaning of this particular freedom.”

Whether it’s a need for freedom in the wilderness by getting away from the worries and responsibilities of life in civilization, or just a primal desire to walk in the woods, there are all kinds of reasons to hike the trail. After having thru­hiked the A.T. in 2013, I can honestly say that I never have nor probably ever will experience anything quite like it. It wasn’t just one adventure, but many. Every new day brought a unique, unforgettable experience. And it’s the kind of experience that is impossible to describe in words and pictures. You just have to realize it for yourself.

At Little River Trading Company, we realize the value of finding this unique sense of freedom in the woods. We all have our own unique experiences, skills, and favorite pieces of gear that we always love sharing. If you are thinking of thru­hiking the Appalachian Trail, or just doing a section, or even just going on a day hike in the smokies, we can help you make sure you have everything you need. As a matter of fact, for the past month, I have been putting together a checklist for the A.T. and finally finished it. Basically, it is a list of everything I would take with me on the trail if I were to do it again. From my choice of backpack all the way down to my photo I.D., I haven’t left anything off of the checklist. I have included my Icebreaker T shirtnumber one choice for each piece of gear, as well as an alternative choice (which is usually less expensive but comparable). The list also includes the weight (in ounces) and price of each item. It is a good resource if you are wondering what you might need to go on a long distance hike and how much it might cost to outfit such an endeavor. Just ask for a free copy of Jimmy’s A.T. gear list and we’ll be happy to give it to you and answer any questions you may have.

Come by and check out my favorite t­-shirt! 

The Icebreaker Tech T Lite is the most comfortable and technical t­shirt I’ve ever owned, and Jimmy on Katahdinit lasted the entire length of the trail from Springer Mtn in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine. It is 100% merino wool, but you wouldn’t think so wearing it. It can be worn for multiple days without reeking of hiker stench, it wicks away moisture unbelievably well, and it can maintain insulating capabilities even when wet! Come by and check it out today!

Happy Hiking,
Jimmy “Railsplitter” VandenHurk

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