MEREDITH JOHNSON aka ELEVEN GEAR & WISDOMS
• Altra Lone Peaks
• Darn Tough Socks
• Injinji Crew Socks
• Dirty Girl Gaiters
• Bagels & Cream Cheese
• Cold soak Ramen, Mashed Potatoes or Rice
• Talenti Gelato Container
• Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt
• Big Agnes Flycreek 2 Person
• Zpack Peximid or Duplex
• Term-a-rest Neo Air
• Awol’s book
• Appalachian Trials by The Trek Blog
• PCTA (Pacific Crest Trail Association)
• Guthooks App
• Originally when I started out hiking, I was doing a lot of wraps, which were so good. But just ended up being a lot of work. Stuff like avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, siracha, which was really great. But it just seems easier to snack throughout the day because I was always starving. And if I waited for lunch, it was just like “Ah, oh my gosh am I going to make it to my lunch spot for today”. So I just let myself eat all day long.
• So for cold soaking ramen, say it was an hour before I was going to camp I would set up my meal and then by the time I got there and got my tent set up my dinner was ready. So it was really nice when it came to camp chores because I didn’t really have any when it came to food.
• Cold Soaking – So with ramen and rice, it takes like 30 minutes to an hour. But things like oatmeal and mashed potatoes are ready right away. So that helps with the convenience factor.
• Just reading books to mentally prepare for it, I think really helped because there’s so many times where you’re like “Why am I out here? What am I doing this for?” And just remembering “I would be so upset if I stopped.” So the biggest thing is just mentally preparing for it cause physically you can get in shape once you’re out there within the first two weeks.
• Once you get to Virginia is when you can start doing 30 miles and such.
• People say that the trail kinda ruins your life, cause now I’m like “What’s going to be the new challenge? How far can I push myself?” So now I ask myself that every day.
• There is that post trail depression, but I think just staying in contact with friends from the trail and continuing with trail running has helped with that.
• What’s great is that you can meet people on trail and hang out with them for an hour or two and be best friends… the trail just makes your friendships so much stronger even if the time was short.
• Cowboy camping was really great, but a little unpredictable on the AT cause a lot of times if you check the weather it’ll say “no rain forecasted”. And the AT is unpredictable and it ends up raining anyways or its super humid and your sleeping bag ends up getting wet.
• I think something that I did well to set myself up for this is to not set expectations too high.
• Any time that I was really scared for my wellbeing was when I was both wet and cold. I could deal with being wet. I could deal with being cold. But when they happened together, I was like I am seriously pushing my limits. But thankfully a lot of times when that happened, I was going into town, so I’m getting out of this. So it helped me keep going forward.
• I think every shelter had mice (on the AT), so whenever I slept in them I just expected mice to be there. You just kinda go numb to it all… I’d stage my head out toward the edge so they’re not crawling around my head. That’s something you learn.
• Your best times (on the trail) kinda change once you’re actually off the trail and look back at those days.