Typical day on the trail


Reed wears “gators” over her hiking shoes to keep out tics, rocks and dirt. (Kitson Jazynka)

Here’s how Reed Gjonnes and her dad, Eric, spend a day when they’re hiking the Appalachian Trail.

5:30 a.m. Wake up in a three-sided trail shelter, pack up the ponchos they used for pillows and stuff their sleeping bags in their backpacks. Hit the trail in the dark and hike five or six miles.

7:15 a.m. Find a sunny spot or a shady area by a stream to eat breakfast (cold cereal, dried berries and powdered milk mixed with water), then brush their teeth.

8:00 a.m. Reed and her dad talk while they walk eight or 10 miles. They snack on energy bars. Sometimes she listens to music on her iPod, which they charge whenever they’re in a town buying food.

12:30 p.m. Lunch, usually freeze-dried chicken or taco meat rehydrated with water.

1:30 p.m. Head back out to the trail to hike for another eight to 10 miles with plenty of water and snack breaks. Hike to a trail shelter for the night.

5:30 p.m. Reed’s dad boils water on their tiny, one-ounce stove (about the same weight as four quarters) to make tea and mix with their freeze-dried dinner.

6:30 p.m. Journal, play cards, do math sheets that Reed’s teacher sent and read books on her iPod (On Reed’s reading list for the trip: “Just Ella” and “Palace of Mirrors” by Margaret Peterson Haddix and “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare.)

9 p.m. Unroll the sleeping bags and go to sleep.

Show Comments

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.