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

Day In – Day Out

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 2:31 pm June 13, 2009

I had a wonderful visit from my mom, aunt, and two cousins…and Ms. Cleon. I guess she’s a distant relative, I’m not sure how, but I’m thankful she is. I was able to zero with my family on Tuesday west of Staunton, VA, at Ms. Cleon’s cabin! Great to visit with the family, hard to see them leave on Wednesday. An interesting thing happened Thursday night…my first night alone in the woods! No one was at the shelter/campground I stayed at. Wasn’t scared…

Before the rest of the blog, here’s a word from a good friend of mine, Andy! I’m giving Andy the honorary trail name “Prologue” because of the cool people he has introduced me to (including John Piper, Diana Krall, Dave Matthews Band, just to name a few).

img_0730Andy and sponsored child Brandy

Meet Brandy Brayan. He’s the child that I sponsor through World Vision. He’s an 8 year old boy that lives in Peru. Brandy and I have a lot in common. We both go to school, we both enjoy sports, and we both have July birthdays. And I feel a real connection to Brandy as I traveled to Peru this past summer and saw his beautiful country. But unlike Brandy, I don’t have to worry about having clean water to drink, about finding a nutritious meal, or about obtaining reliable health care. This is the primary reason I decided to support a child from World Vision. My seemingly small donation goes a long way in providing the essentials—both physically and spiritually—that Brandy needs and that I take for granted.  But I also receive as much—if not more—than I give.  Living in Manhattan, I’m surrounded by excess on a daily basis: from doormen to professional dog walkers. Giving a little bit each month is a constant reminder not to hold on too tightly to the material things of this world, but to find my joy in the only source that will truly satisfy: Jesus Christ.

Thanks, Andy, for sharing. Be like him…sponsor a child!


So, what I thought I’d blog about now is my daily routine, now that I have it down to a science of sorts. I’ll start with the end of the day.

2-5:00pm Arrive to the shelter, claim a spot. Will assume this day was at 5pm…
5:00pm — stretch for several minutes…still not an athlete…still sore everyday
5:15pm — unpack, blow up airpad, insert it into sleeping bag
5:20pm — unpack and sort the rest of my pack, including dinner accoutrements
5:30pm — walk to the water source and fill up 4-liter bag
5:35pm — filter 1L into gatorade bottle, .5L into cooking pot, 2L into bladder, place bladder back in pack for tomorrow
5:45pm — start cooking! new addition to dinner: adding a packet of powdered potatoes to the pasta and tuna! over 3,000 ml of sodium total…is that bad?
5:55pm — inhale dinner
6:00pm — reluctantly wash pot…I hate doing dishes, even in the woods
6:05pm — eat a bagel or two covered in peanut butter…yum…
6:10pm — filter another 1L of water into gatorade bottle for the rest of the evening/morning
6:15pm — put the filter back in the pack, hang pack somewhere in shelter if possible
6:20pm — change out of hiking shorts/shirt into sleep shorts/shirt…pretend to be clean
6:25pm — hang hiking shorts/shirt to dry, even though nothing EVER dries on the AT
6:30pm — talk with other hikers…sign the registry
7:00pm — laydown on sleeping bag, write in journal, review plan for tomorrow
7:30pm — read the Bible…been doing several Psalms a day, a Proverb, and sometimes a NT epistle.
8:00pm — SLEEPY TIME!
3:00am — wake up, think you hear a bear, try to go back to sleep
3:31am — wake up, contemplate watering the bushes, fear of the bear keeps you in bed
4:05am — was that a bear? nah…back to sleep?
4:37am — probably was a bear…at least there are several other people here in the shelter, what’s my chance of being eaten? 1 in 5? not bad…back to sleep…
5:40am — huh…it’s getting light out…I can see the picnic table…back to sleep
6:00am — ok. start thinking about waking up…
6:05am — open air valve on pad, lay there as it deflates, start drinking 1L water
6:10am — out of the sleeping bag, put on shoes, water some nearby bushes
6:11am — still watering
6:12am — yawn…watering…
6:13am — take pad out of sleeping bag, roll up, stuff pad/bag into small stuff sack
6:15am — change into hiking clothes, stuff sleep clothes in stuff sack, place two stuff sacks into pack
6:20am — open food bag, take out day’s rations, place in Feed Bag
6:25am — eat a bagel with peanut butter (YUM), keep drinking 1L water
6:30am — place the rest of the food bag into pack, keeping drinking 1L water
6:35am — take blue stuff sack and tend to privy work
6:40am — still in privy, looking at all the spider webs…
6:45am — put paper, deodorant, and powder where it belongs, use hand sanitizer
6:50am — place blue stuff sack, water filter, empty 1L bottle, put rain jacket and hat in top of pack
6:53am — place water bladder in very top of pack, sinch bag
6:55am — put gaiters on shoes, pack on back, and strap Feed Bag to chest
7:00am — start hiking…pray for people, eat on the go
8:00am — get out MP3 player…listen to something!
10:00am — stop and stretch at first shelter, read shelter register
11:30am — keep hiking and eating…lots of trees…rocks…some small animals…*yawn*
1:00pm — stop at second shelter, repeat stretching, reading, eating
1:30pm — start to wonder where that last shelter is…
1:35pm — count down the last two miles as a comparison of the distance from my house in Franklin to Starbucks and back…I miss Starbucks…and my roommates…
2-5:00pm — arrive at final shelter, 10-20 some miles later, and repeat!

There you have it. A day in the life of an AT hiker. If I were to arrive early at a shelter, say 2 instead of 5, then I just stretch out the time it takes to do everything. Because I can…

Brief other news: after putting close to 600 miles on my trail runners and close to 750 miles on my inserts, I purchased a new pair of both here in Waynesboro. I’m hoping that this staves off any further leg problems.

Trail report and we’re out of here!
6/4 11.2 miles — Thanks to the extra day off and good conversations with friends, not as hard leaving town. Trail magic @ breakfast, someone bought me scones!
6/5 21 miles to Bryant Ridge Shelter. This place is huge! Sleeps 20! It rained from 7:20am-1:20pm, and then on/off the rest of the evening.
6/6 23.1 miles — Stomach feels weird. I don’t think I washed all the soap out of my CamelBak when I left town. Other than that, good long day.
6/7 12.9 miles– Looking forward to seeing family tomorrow. Leg worried me today. Not limping but occasional sore.
6/8 11.4 miles — Hitched into Buena Vista, met family there!!! Stayed at Cleon’s Cabin.
6/9 0 miles — Drove part of Skyline Drive with family. Fun day!
6/10 14 miles — Started around 12:45pm when family dropped me off. I don’t like starting late. Sad to see family go. People here at this shelter from Spring Hill, TN! Raining now.
6/11 20.6 miles as of 6:38pm, I’m the only person at this shelter/campsite! Tough day! 3,000 ft down The Priest Mountain, then 2,900 ft back up 3 Ridges Mountain. The Priest was the last 4,000 ft mountain until New Hampshire!
5/12 20.8 miles — Staying in Waynesboro tonight at the Lutheran Hostel. May have pushed too hard these past few days…feeling some pain in the leg. Hope new shoes appease my leg.


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