1. Skip checking the weather forecast. Blue skies in the morning are always a good omen.
2. Ignore your preteen daughter’s pleas to not go. Remind her how little quality time we get together.
3. Proper footwear is no big deal. After all, the Appalachian Trail is just a soft footpath.
4. Keep going when the rain starts. There is no way it will rain the entire two days.
5. Around sundown is when the bears and snakes begin to use the same trail we’re on now. Oh my, did I just say that out loud?
6. Disregard the Backpacker magazine article saying that one mile per hour is the best speed anyone can do in dry weather and good boots. 5 o’clock, kids, and only 6 miles to go.
7. Point out loudly the obvious nature fact that there’s NO WAY just one or two wild boars could have done this much damage to the grass next to the trail. Say this near nightfall.
8. Leave parachute cord for suspending the pack from the shelter eaves in the trunk. The little ones will be highly entertained by the mice chewing through the fabric of your new $270 Kelty pack.
9. Give in to your 10 year old son taking his preschool Star Wars sleeping bag. How cold can it get at the summit of Rocky Top?
10. Promise lots of animal sightings and panoramic mountain-top views. Did I mention there’s no way it could rain for two full days?
Do all of the above and 20 years later your family will still be telling stories about the, “Hike from Hell with Dad.”
Photo by thru the night
About the Author: Steve Fifer
Steve has been married to his wife, Melody, for 35 years and they have 3 grown children, Amy, John, and Carrie, and 1.333 grandchildren. A local State Farm agent, Steve started hiking with his children 20 years ago on the Appalachian Trail in Smokey Mountain NP. He has added two sons-in-law to this family hiking group. They have hiked for up to 17 days in 4 National Parks to date: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mt. Ranier, and Glacier National Parks. Steve started a hiking club at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church 4 years ago and helps hiking newbies get started with one night beginner hikes. He also enjoys centering prayer, birding, rowing, and painting.