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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Maineiac Outdoors with Carey Kish
Posted: November 10, 2013

A Successful Long Distance Hike Requires Good Planning

Do you dream of hiking one of the big trails someday, spending four or five or even six months out there in the mountains, putting one foot in front of the other for 2,000-plus miles, all the while enjoying the bountiful beauty of the wilderness?

Long distance hiking is hard, sweaty work much if not most of the time. Seasoned hikers understand this fact. Ambitious beginners and others yet to be tested by the long trail lack the benefit of that all-important experience.

A long distance trek is a big undertaking for sure, and a daunting planning task that stops many potential long distance hikers in their tracks before they ever reach the trailhead. And once on the trail, a high percentage of hikers fail in their quest, some for lack of physical preparedness, some for lack of mental preparedness, some for lack of technical preparedness, many for a combination thereof.

Too many hikers get out there and all too soon start to figure – after spending a lot of time and effort and money to get there – that they are way out of their league. Such thoughts are self-defeating of course. Quitting is easy, after all, while carrying on is hard. If only they had had access to more and better information…

A new book on the hiking scene attempts to provide much of that hard-earned, trail-tested know-how, well beyond simply what gear to take, so that you the aspiring hiker can approach such a big hike with some real solid knowledge of what it truly takes to see a long trail hike through to completion, and without it being complete drudgery. In other words, it should be fun too!

Veteran thru-hiker Dan Feldman, a pediatric physical therapist from Portland, has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail and made a good attempt on the Continental Divide Trail. Feldman took the many lessons he learned from these big hikes, as well as exhaustive research, and put it all into a great new book entitled Long-Distance Hiking (Stackpole Books, $16.95, 209 pp.).

“The purpose of this book is to help aspiring long-distance hikers succeed. While everyone’s idea about success is a little different, I define success in long-distance hiking as not only meeting a mileage or a destination goal, but in having an experience that is positive and personally fulfilling,” says Feldman.

“Lots of books and guides have been written about specific trails and about the gear you need for a long-distance hike, but few consider the on-trail skills that are so important to long-distance, not only from technical standpoint, but also from a psychological and practical standpoint.”

Eleven highly readable information-packed chapters cover the full range of stuff you need to know: choosing trail food and resupplying; selecting footwear, stoves, sleeping bag and water treatment; preventing and treating injuries; dealing with weather and animals; managing a hiking budget; keeping the right frame of mind and much more.

You can get a pretty good glimpse at all this good information by attending the next AMC Maine Chapter program on this coming Tuesday, November 12, which just happens to feature Dan Feldman and his new book, Long-Distance Hiking.

This highly informative and entertaining program will be held at the Freeport Public Library in, well, Freeport. There will be a potluck dinner starting at 6 p.m. and Dan Feldman’s talk and slide show at 7 p.m. Bring a potluck item to share plus your own dinnerware; drinks will be available. The potluck is optional, so you can come for just the talk at 7 p.m. if desired. Both potluck and talk are free and open to the public. 

See you there!

WHAT: “Long Distance Hiking” with Dan Feldman

WHEN: Tuesday, November 12, 7 PM (optional potluck at 6 PM)

WHERE: Freeport Library, 10 Library Drive, Freeport

MORE INFO: AMC Maine Chapter calendar

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