Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Awesome AT video

I wanted to take a second and share a hilarious AT video I found today on Facebook.  It was posted on YouTube by 2011 thru hiker Josh Seehorn, and was recorded at the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail.  It's only 4 and half minutes and definitely worth it. Check it out: Man, I love thru hikers :)

This year, Josh is planning yet another longest distance adventure, maybe even more crazy than thru hiking!  He will be running across the United States from New York City to Los Angeles to raise awareness for the North American Envirothon. This organization seeks to strike a balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. To support Josh on his cross country run, please visit


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kent Bio

My parents tell me that some of my adoring fans have requested that I “upload my bio already”, so that is precisely what I am going to do.  Gotta give the people what they want!  Now, where should I begin…
 The first thing you should know about me is that I am a huge fan of the New Orleans Saints.  This is the first thing I am mentioning because it is the most important thing about me.  If you only take away one thing from this post, or this blog for that matter, it needs to be that the Saints rule and that the Falcons suck.  The second thing you need to know is that I have a one year old little male dachshund named Chewie that I love to death. 

Well, that just about sums it up.


Ok , my parents tell me I need to add a little more.  I was originally born in Mississippi, but I have lived in Georgia since I was 9.  While in high school, I participated in many activities through my church, my school, and my community…but mostly, I just played soccer.  I played a ton of soccer.  Just ask my parents and they will tell you.  They will know because neither of them ever missed a game.  In the rare moments when I wasn’t playing soccer I was probably participating in a Boy Scout camp-out or retreat.  I’ll get more into my experience with the Scouts in a moment.  After graduation I moved to Statesboro, GA to attend Georgia Southern University with the plan to transfer to Georgia Tech Savannah my Junior year.  In 2010, I made the transfer, but was able to continue living in Statesboro thanks to the wonders of technology.  While in college I had the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for, and had more fun with them than I can possibly describe.  My time in college was nothing short of incredible.  However, I do not want to give you the wrong impression.  I may have played hard, but I worked even harder.  In the fall of 2012, all my hard work finally paid off when I graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering.

Now, some may ask why I want to hike the AT at all.  Well, the answer goes much deeper than the fact that I like camping, hiking, and the outdoors.  There are plenty of people who like to camp and hike; few would ever dream of tackling such a daunting task.  To adequately answer this question, I must go to the beginning.  I was first introduced to backpacking on the AT while in the Boy Scouts.  At the time, I was training to go on my first of two backpacking trips to a wonderful place called Philmont Scout Ranch, in Cimarron, New Mexico.  Philmont is located in the southern portion of the Rocky Mountains, and provides Scouts the opportunity to transverse some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside during a two week expedition.  Philmont however, is more than a hiking trip, and is extremely difficult to describe to people that have not experienced its magic first hand.  There are no cell phones, facebook, politics, appointments, bills, or responsibility.   All these drains on your life are replaced with the forest, the mountains, the giant sky, the stars, the sunsets and sunrises.  It is replaced with peace, simplicity, and serenity.  There is absolutely nothing more soul cleansing than a walk in the woods.  In my experience, people are their true, raw selves in primitive environments.  When I talk to my Dad or brother about our trips to Philmont, it typically involves very few words.  It usually involves long, dreamy stares out into space, followed by a deep sigh.  Philmont is truly God’s country.

This is why I want to hike the Appalachian Trail.  The feelings and experiences I have while backpacking are some of the best of my life, and I will spend the rest of my life seeking to replicate these emotions over and over again.  I wanted Philmont to last forever.  I may not have forever, but I do have 6 months.   Ever since I went to Philmont when I was 14, the Appalachian Trail has become an obsession.  And I do mean obsession.  I have read numerous books, watched countless documentaries, and scoured every public forum related to the trail on the internet.  I have spent some much time researching and planning this trip that I feel like I have already hiked it.  I am completing a literal lifelong dream.  What could be better than that?


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alex Gear List

Hey everyone,

I figured I would take the time to write another post while I felt motivated today. A friend of mine asked me about my gear list so I figured I would finally get a list in writing! Everything is subject to change (especially the stove,) but this is pretty close to what I will be bringing with me. I know a lot of people have oz weights for all of their gear- I do not! I do know that my base weight is 16lbs but that's as far as my weighing goes- I enjoy cruising by the bottom of my britches.

Rain shell
Micro fleece
Lightweight Under Armor top long sleeve
Poly short sleeve shirt x2
Antimicrobial compression shorts x2
Lightweight Under Armor bottoms
Lightweight nylon shorts x2
Smart wool socks x2 pair
Vasque boots
Camp shoes (Crocs)

Optional Winter Clothing:
Lightweight fleece gloves
Lightweight fleece beanie
Silk sleeping bag liner

Osprey Exos 58 pack
Pack cover
Lightheart Gear SoLong 6 tarp tent
2 Trekking poles
6 MSR Ground hog stakes
REI Igneo 20 degree sleeping bag
Thermarest Z-lite sleeping pad

Optional Warm Shelter:
REI 55 degree travel sack

2-piece Snow Peak titanium pot set (I cannot function without a hot drink in the morning!)
Basic coleman canister stove
2 small canisters for stove
Plastic spork
Sawyer Squeeze water filter (may be left behind for Aquamira alone)
Aquamira drops 
3L platypus
1L Nalgene bottle

Toilet paper

Head lamp
Stuff sacks
Cell phone
Cell phone charger

And that about does it for me folks! Sitting right around 16lbs before food and water. I want to change my canister stove to an alcohol stove (I have tried crafting several models with little success.) I think I will just break down and buy a high grade light weight alcohol stove to push me down to 15lbs base weight; that just has a nice ring to it!

Alex AKA Wendy

Alex Dent Bio

Hello everyone! My name is Alex Dent and I will be representing the intelligent, handsome, quick-witted, amiable, and humble half of this hiking duo. If I pass you on the trail and you see us, I will be the taller of the two! On the trail, I will be simply known as Windy (or Wendy, I haven’t decided which form I prefer just yet. I suppose if I can’t pick my trail name I can at least choose how to spell it!) Together with my hiking buddy Kent Criddle (Breezy/Breesy, he is also having naming issues,) we make up Gone with the Wind! If you didn’t already know (if you are here without knowing what we are doing you must have taken a wrong turn in the interwebz,) we are attempting an Appalachian thru hike in 2013. We will be departing from Springer on March 16th 2013 barring any horrid weather and we will trudge north in hopes that we can stand on Katahdin one day!
Before I get into the hike, I will give you a whirlwind introduction to me: As I said before, my name is Alex Dent and I am a 22 year old IT graduate from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. I was born in Cartersville, GA which is about 45 minutes north of Atlanta on Interstate 75 and didn’t leave until I went to college. I loved my college time and met my fiancee and soon to be wife there! Her name is Jessica Cain and she also graduated with Kent and I from GSU. I will probably be talking about her frequently throughout the blog so if you see Jess/Jessica/Pooky, they are all the one entity that makes up my significant other.
So now the big question, why on earth are you doing this to yourselves? Great question! It is one that I find myself asking every single day as the date gets closer. For me, it is about having something to be proud of before moving on to the "real world." I talk to people every day that, when I tell them of my plans, they tell me to go and do it while I am young! I have no mortgage, no kids, and nothing stopping me from doing something that I will remember for the rest of my life. After all, if you had it to do over again don't you wish you had done something big and incredible before tying yourself down with responsibility?
Alex A.K.A. Wendy

Monday, February 18, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

Hey everybody!  Sorry I’ve been MIA for a little while – I’ve been kind of busy getting my life in order before March 16th…and by that I mean I’ve taken two trips down to my college town to get drunk with my friends.  Well, that’s not the only reason I went.  I’ve actually been procrastinating moving out of my college house since I graduated this past December.  Oops!  I sure am going to miss that house.  It’s been my home for the past 3 ½ years.  It truly is amazing how much crap one can accumulate in that amount of time.  Let’s just say I was quite settled in there.  And then I had to take all my stuff from college and cram it into my childhood bedroom!  That was quite a task.  This consolidation process made me realize that I’m a bit of a hoarder.  I felt even worse about myself when I compared all these possessions to the tiny little rucksack I will be taking along with me on my AT adventure.  Perspective.  It’s happening already and I haven’t even started hiking yet.  Anyways!  I’m rambling on while I have promises to keep!  You guys don’t care what I’ve been doing, you care about the AT.  Listed below are some of the most common questions I have been asked about my trip:

What is the Appalachian Trail (AT)?
                One day I was telling a fellow engineering student about my plans after graduation and he had no idea what the Appalachian Trail even was!  Get out from behind your computer, bro.  But then I realized that if you don’t like hiking, or you live in one of the 36 states that the AT doesn't touch, you may have never heard of it.  Well, the AT is a very well marked footpath that leads from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katadhin, Maine.  The length of the trail varies from year to year, but hangs around the 2,175 mile mark.  This year, the official trail length is 2,185 miles.

How long will the trip take?  How many miles will you walk per day?
                Just ball parking it, I’m going to guess around 6 months –hopefully a little less.  The amount of miles we put in per day really depends on the terrain of the area.  I’m not going to be walking nearly as fast in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as I will be in the rolling cow pastures of Virginia.  That isn’t a very satisfying answer though, so here:  2185mi/180days = 12.14 mi/day.  Boom.  No need to check da math.  I’m an engineer.

How much will the trip cost?
                It really depends on the person and how much time you spend at hotels and restaurants.  The typical range is between 3,000 – 5,000 dollars.  I hope to end up around $4,000.

What all are you taking with you?
                That is a question I will answer extensively in my gear list post.  I can tell you that my gear (everyone’s gear really) breaks down in to 3 categories: sleeping, cooking, and clothes.  My base weight (the weight of all my gear minus the weight of food, water, and stove fuel) is 17 pounds.  With 6 days of food, my fully loaded pack will be around 35 lbs.

 How will you get food? 
                No, I do not know edible plants of the east coast of the United States.  No, I am not going to learn them.  I’m not Bear Grylls and this is not Man vs Wild.  There are two main ways thru-hikers acquire food.  The first way is by getting prepackaged food boxes shipped to you.  This way is nice because you can dehydrate and prepare your own meals. However, it is very difficult to map out your entire trip before you go.  Your food intake may change.  You may have overestimated how fast you would be walking.  You may have grown sick of all the food you thought you liked 4 months ago.  Plus, you have to pay to ship all these packages to yourself.  The second way is by shopping at grocery stores as you go.  In my opinion, the second method is the best option.  I’m choosing this method because it doesn't take as much planning and allows for much more flexibility.  As an added bonus, I don’t have to burden anyone by asking them to mail me packages every 5-7 days for 6 months.  

What kind of food will you eat?
                The most calorie packed foods with the lowest possible weight. basically, a bunch of junk food.  A typical day on the trail would consist of oatmeal and pop tarts for breakfast, peanut butter wraps for lunch, and Lipton instant pasta for dinner.  Throw in a ton of trail mix, snicker bars, and Gatorade powder and you've basically got it.  I’ll interchange some nutella and couscous for variety.  My time in town is a different story.  Although I am sure most times I will pick quantity over quality (all you can eat buffets for the win!), I still have to try and fuel my body.  I am going to do my best to consume as many fruits and leafy vegetables as I can while I can.

How much food will you carry?
                A good rule of thumb is to carry 1.5-2 lbs of food per day.  Past 2 pounds, it becomes a vicious circle. The more weight you carry, the more calories you burn > the more calories you burn, the more food you need > the more food you need, the more weight you carry.  Yes, I am EXTREMELY worried about weight loss on this trip.  In all my research, it seems most thru hikers lose between 15 to 30 pounds.  If you know me at all, you know that I do not have 15 to 30 pounds of weight to lose.  Should be interesting.

How are you getting back?
                I honestly don’t know.  Turn around and walk?  Hope not.

Well, that’s a ton of reading for you, so until next time!