FAQs Round 2

Here are the answers to the questions readers emailed us! If you think of more you can ask us in the comment section.

How is your sleeping? Getting enough? Sleep hard?

AB: Sleeping well! Had some trouble sleeping while camping when it was really cold (15 degrees), but now that it’s warmed up my tent feels like home.

DF: Besides some of our nights outdoors in the cold, I am typically so exhausted by the end of the day that sleep comes easily, and quickly. Even if it’s only four or five hours, it is such a dead sleep that I get all the energy needed from it.

Do you set an alarm to wake up?

AB/DF: Yes. Usually around 7 depending on the day. (A month and a half in though, our bodies seem to be set to wake up then anyway.)

When you walk, do you have any tendencies, like you generally are not on your phones? Or is that a good time to text, etc. and catch up with people? How about podcasts, music.

AB: I usually listen to something about half the time depending on the day. If it’s a tough day physically, like when we’re crossing mountains, I don’t listen to anything so I can focus. Sometimes I will listen to music, podcasts, or books on tape I can download from my library. I don’t like looking at a screen while walking since I am prone to tripping, so I usually don’t text much unless I need to.

DF: For me, it’s all dependent on the day; my mood, the size of the shoulder of the road, the distance we have to go, they all determine whether I fill my day with podcasts and music, call friends and family to catch up, or allow myself to get lost in my head, and think about what I’ll write later that night. More often than Abby, I’ll use music and podcasts in a strenuous part of the day to motivate myself through it.

What is the longest you’ve gone without showering?

AB: 3 days. We’ve been very lucky to be invited in by people who we’re yard camping with so we’ve been able to shower more than expected. Out west we will probably have to go much longer.

DF: 4 days. I win. Or lose, depending on how you view showering. Actually, I agree. I lose.

One month in, I’d love to hear what your general daily schedule is. Walk right away? Walk in chunks with breaks? Walk without breaks to power through?

AB: We usually wake up, eat, pack up and start walking. We are flexible and sometimes will stay to chat with our hosts in the morning too if they want to. Now that we’re in better shape we don’t take as many breaks. Sometimes we will stop for lunch somewhere or sometimes we will eat a sandwich while walking and won’t stop at all. We pay attention to how we feel and base our breaks on that. Now that it stays light out later sometimes we will walk for 8-10 hours. Our farthest day so far was 26 miles.

DF: We’re almost always on the road within an hour of waking up, depending on whether we’re having breakfast with our hosts, or are breaking camp. And then from there, it is usually two to four hours before we stop for lunch.

How are your blisters? Blister management is prob a big part of your thoughts??

AB: I had some really bad blisters the first two weeks and blister management was a major part of my thoughts and made walking pretty unpleasant. Now that my feet are toughening up I don’t think much about it much any more. I used to get up extra early to put moleskin and duct tape on all the problem areas.

DF: I’ve lucked out with blisters, and haven’t had too many hassling me. The most contact I have had with blisters is when Abby continually shows hers to me, despite my objections.

AB: I’ve had to settle for sending pictures of my blisters to my mom instead since Danny won’t look at them and I want to feel validated ;).

How do you deal with feminine hygiene?

AB: I haven’t really needed to do anything different than normal. I wear tampons and/or pads just like usual and change them when we stop at gas stations. Once we are in the mountains and desert and have multiples days of walking without crossing through a town I will need to store used products in a ziplock bag until I can dispose of them properly. Some women use products like the Diva Cup for thru-hikes like this, which is also a great option. I meant to get one before I left but forgot about it until it was too late and I don’t want to experiment with a new product while on the road.  

Are you going to wear the same pair of shoes the whole time?  Do you have shoes you rotate? Will you buy new shoes?

AB/DF: We both have two pairs of shoes we rotate. We will need to rotate in new ones once each pair has over 600 miles and begin wearing out.

How much hours of research/planning did it take before you left? Are you finding you do lots of research/planning each day as well?

AB/DF: We started planning seriously about a year before we left. Many many hours went into preparation, whether it was researching other blogs that have done similar excursions, or learning about the legalities of camping and walking on highways in certain states. We still have some planning to do each day though. Mostly, we plan out exactly what route we will take, and then research places to stay that night.

What comfort from home do you miss the most?

AB: Vegetables.

DF: IPA’s.

What’s the most challenging situation or moment you’ve faced so far?

AB: We started having problems with one of the wheels on our cart and a well-intentioned stranger offered to try and fix it, but ended up making it worse and ultimately unusable. Luckily we were able to get a new wheel sent and the cart is working like new, but it was stressful trying to figure out how to fix it and get a new wheel since we don’t have a car and weren’t in an area with public transportation.

DF: This situation was similarly challenging for me, especially in learning how to balance being a good guest, and an openness to receiving the generosity of others, with a necessity for self-preservation, and a need to assert our opinions for the overall benefit of the walk.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve had so far?

AB: It’s been really rewarding just seeing how well strangers have treated us. It also felt really good once we finished crossing the mountains in Pennsylvania because that was our first major physical challenge.

DF: The experience we talked about in the soup kitchen in Coatesville continues to move me in unexpected ways. Whatever it was that allowed that place to exude dignity and grace in such a humble way, it continues to serve as a reminder of all the good we have seen so far.

How do your feet feel?

AB: Blisters are much better. My feet will still feel sore after a long day, but overall they’ve started to adjust pretty well.

DF: Tough. Any of the blisters I did have have calloused over, and, nearly 700 miles into the walk, they feel much, much stronger than when we started.

What’s the first thing you’re going to eat when you get back home?!

AB: I will go to my favorite Indian restaurant in Minneapolis called Nameste and order a huge portion of vegetable curry and chicken masala.

DF: I want to wake up, and get coffee and a bagel from Kookaburra. I dream of waking up, and getting coffee and a bagel from Kookaburra. If I get home later in the evening, I won’t eat till the next day, so I can wake up, and get coffee and a bagel from Kookaburra.