Welcome. You're about to hop on the Appalachian Trail and become part of the 2009 thru-hike of Chris Hennig, whose trail name was "Feed Bag." While Feed Bag took in all the personal benefits of spending hours alone in the woods (getting in better shape, crying, pondering the meaning of life), there is a purpose greater than that for which he hiked: to make the world a better place for children. And you can be a part of this journey starting now...and help make a difference!

Start Date: 3/29/09 End Date: 9/5/09

“I’m what you call ‘Indoor-sy'”

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 11:08 am April 27, 2009

I guess that’s not totally true or else I wouldn’t have made it this far. Actually, I like the fact that even podunk hostels like Uncle Johnny’s in Erwin, TN, have wireless Internet while sitting next to a beautiful river and being surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. In 2009 technology and nature can hold hands. So let’s have them do that now, here’s a short clip from one of my favorite comedians Jim Gaffigan and his opinions on camping and the great outdoors:

So I’m going to round up and say I’ve hiked 350 miles so far on arguably one of the toughest sections of the trail. Physically, I can do this thing. For me it’s the mental/spiritual exercise that is challenging. The first few weeks were a mix of silence and music on the MP3 player while hiking. But I got tired of my music quickly, and my times of silence were often filled with doubt. Not doubt that I could hike 2200 miles, but doubt that I was doing the right thing, or spending/investing/losing my money wisely.

Not that the doubt has passed. I’ve shared with some of you my whole AT/2200miles.com plans were almost completed demolished towards the end of last year when I realized just how much I would owe on taxes. It was exponentially more than I had expected, and it was 3-4x more than the estimated payments I had already made (as I’m self-employed/an independent contractor for World Vision). Lesson learned; I now know more about different tax brackets than I ever wanted to know. Yes, I use an accountant.

So I started selling things and I’m still selling things. Things I really love and have enjoyed. In a way, I would say it’s been a “hike of faith,” trusting that if I’m supposed to be out here I’m relying on God to provide because before I thought I could just rely on my earnings from last year. If He wants me to leave the trail, He’ll open the right door I’m supposed to be hiking through. I mean, I had been thinking about this hike for well over a year, and planning on it for months.


200 down, 2000 to go.

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 8:29 pm April 17, 2009

Well, well, well. We meet again. Thanks for coming back. Or being here for the first time!

Not sure if you’ve looked at my new gallery. Sorry, I know the pictures are hi-res, so they take a little while to download. I took more pictures on the morning of the 15th than the rest of the hike so far. Before I explain how amazing that morning was, I feel like I should explain what a normal day on the trail is like.

To understand what the average day looks and feels like, try this little exercise. Bring a tv into the bathroom and turn on an episode of Bob Ross. Spray-paint the tv gray so you can barely see the shapes of trees. Then stand in the shower with your rain jacket on and turn on cold water sporadically. Now, how happy are those trees?

I know I’ve missed some great views from the tops of cloud-covered mountains so far, but a morning like the 15th makes many monotonous, foggy days worth the hike. It was tough to get out of my sleeping bag that morning because it was so cold, plus the sky looked like it would remain cloudy though we heard it was supposed to be clearing up. I sang Christmas carols for the first few miles because it seemed fitting. But it became magical soon enough. You hike along for a while then suddenly realize you can make out your shadow on the ground just ahead of you. The sun is finally doing its job and poking through the fog! “Into marvelous light I’m running…”

It was so windy and cold the night before that any moisture in the air turned to frost as the wind came up the east side of the mountain and down the west. Many of the pictures may look blurry, but that’s actually an inch or two of frost that hung from the branches and trees…parallel to the ground! It was the strangest thing.

So after 3 miles of hiking, I reached the highest point on the AT: Clingmans Dome which is at 6,643 feet. Not that it’s all down hill from here, there are still come big climbs ahead! It was so cold on top of the spaceship-of-an-observation tower that I could only stand it for a few seconds. There were some tourists there that saw our packs and started asking all the typical questions: “Where did you come from?” “Where are you going?” “Where’s Maine?”


Well, it’s not Franklin, TN, but it’ll do.

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 4:18 pm April 8, 2009

Get comfortable. No, seriously, go to the bathroom now, get a drink, and get comfortable. This will be a good, long read 🙂

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Franklin, NC. I hadn’t planning on arriving here until this morning (4/8) but after hiking 16 miles yesterday while snowing, I thought I’d reward myself with an actual full day off and 2 nights in a normal bed…

Last Sunday (4/5) was the toughest day on the trail so far. I wasn’t ready for the heat. That morning I even made time to attend a nice, little country church and set off around 12:30pm on the trail. I had only planned on going 13 miles, not too far. I only made it 10. At about 9.9 I reached my first state line, the GA/NC border. What should have been a fun celebration was a mere landmark. There were people there celebrating, which lifted my spirits a bit, but I just didn’t feel good. It was hot, the bugs were out in full force, it was mostly uphill for those 10 miles, I was worried about the weather report, and I had bad Mexican food the night before. Not a good combination.

I enjoy staying at shelters as opposed to just campsites because shelters offer an outhouse and a table for cooking meals. Instead I had to pitch my tent at a campsite with neither. While there were 6 or 7 other tents around (you’re never lonely in the evenings), I was miserable.  I was worried I had some sort of stomach bug, or I just hadn’t had enought to eat or drink. I fetched water while being eaten alive by the bugs, cooked my dinner, spilled half of it on the ground, and got in my tent around 7pm in order to fall asleep as quickly as possible, forget about the day, and start new the following day. My mind was racing about how uncomfortable I was. I only had one goal when waking the following day: hike 3 miles to the next shelter and use the outhouse.


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