Finishing my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail
Chris Zagrodny in background
Springer Mountain, Georgia
November 10, 2002
Probably the most useful thing I can say is that it's not hard to stay vegan while thru-hiking. You can do vegan resupply at health-food stores in Gorham (NH), the Co-op in Hanover (NH), Stop-N-Shop in North Adams (MA), many places in New York City or DC (if you make the side-trip), a health-food store in Front Royal (VA), and the outfitter in Hot Springs (NC). Most of my food came out of my mail drops.
I ate almost the same things every day: whole-grain hot cereal, a mix of whole-grain pasta with instant chili or beans, and snacks. Snacks included gorp, tortillas and peanut butter, and various "energy" or granola bars. Some people get sick of eating the same thing every day; for me, it was a source of comfort. I generally needed 4 oz dried pasta, 3 oz dried beans or chili, 5 oz uncooked cereal, 4 oz raisins for the cereal, and 1000+ calories of snacks per day.
The only food problem was that, being vegan, I could not pig out at restaurants in town. This became an issue during the last few hundred miles, when I started eating maybe 1000 more calories a day of snacks since my body's fat reserves were mostly gone.
Some people ask, "How much does it cost to hike the AT these days?" While "a dollar a mile" is considered to be a conservative estimate, those with discipline and without much money can do it on the cheap. At least one 2002 thru-hiker spent only $2000, which included extra gear she needed for the trek. She says she could have done the hike on $1500 or less if that was all she had.
The Switchback Boys: Nameless Mike, Fire Fly, and Smokin'
Jacket sing "Man of Constant Sorrow" backed by Bluegrass Trails
at The Home Place in Catawba, Virginia
Photo by Bagel Chaser
Dr. Feelgood and Nameless Mike in Duncannon, Pennsylvania
Digital photo by Sedentary Steve