Pretzel Logic for Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers, Part 2

Published Feb 11, 2016

Pretzel (a.k.a. Matt Mason or @firexneck) hiked up Blood Mountain on 2-9-16 to camp overnight. Just because ... (Photo by Mountain Crossings Outfitters.

Pretzel (a.k.a. Matt Mason) hiked up Blood Mountain on 2-9-16 to camp overnight. Just because. (Mountain Crossings Outfitters photo)

We were all set to extol the triumphs of that Hiker among hikers, that Wizard among wizzes, that Backpacker among strollers. The One! The Only! Pretzel!!!

Then ... BOOM!! We heard he (hello?) forgot his lighter before ascending Blood Mountain for a snowy soiree.

Yup. Cold oatmeal and considerable teasing from those of us who were warm and cozy indoors while he braved the frigid forest. He probably did it on purpose, knowing that Chuck Norris would have frozen without a lighter. Pretzel was never in any danger. He wisely looked for matches in the shelter and found some! No one packs perfectly. Smart hikers adapt and have a good time anyway.

Pretzel (aka Matt Mason) -- one of the Merry Men at Mountain Crossings Outfitters at Neel Gap below Georgia's Blood Mountain -- captivated his audience on February 6, 2016, with his advice, wisdom, humor and experiences earned thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Pretzel Logic for Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers, Part 2

  • Two key words for long-distance hikers: Attitude & Expectations. Attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail is tedious, painful, draining and rewarding. Keep your eyes on the prize. Temper your expectations. Don't expect room at shelters or anything but a roof over your head at hostels. Keep a positive attitude.
Pretzel (Matt Mason) at the Pretzel Logic AT Thru-Hiker Seminar ~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Pretzel (Matt Mason) at the Pretzel Logic AT Thru-Hiker Seminar ~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

  • Be flexible with your gear list. It will change with the seasons. Let your hike define your gear list.
  • Pretzel wears a rain skirt because it retains heat. Wind shirts are light and efficient.
  • Pack different color socks to help you know when to change them.
  • Cold feet at night? Wear socks and add shopping bags over your feet.
  • Avoid salt rash, especially under straps, by rinsing your clothes.
  • Pretzel -- a manly man -- wears light & efficient women's running shorts.
  • Pack a TINY knife.
  • Wear a watch to gauge your pace and provide ETAs to shelters.
  • It's an adventure, not some hero/failure test of your total worth.
  • Don't over plan. Lighten up your pack and your attitude.
  • Tired? Just hike to your next snack.
  • Bring a copy of Awol's The A.T. Guide.
  • Listen to your body. "Your knee hurts for a reason."
  • Save money by camping four miles from towns.
  • Enjoy the Trail!

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Tags: Attractions, Events, Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, News, Appalachian Trail Conference, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Hikers, Conference, Hiking Safety, Information, appalachian trail hikers, pretzel logic appalachian trail, thru-hike appalachian trail pretzel tips, matt mason pretzel appalachian trail, thru-hiking tips appalachian trail, appalachian trail thru hike advice, and pretzel instagram @firexneck

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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Joe on Feb 11, 2016
Different colored socks.......interesting idea. I like it.
Thank you for these tips! I am taking notes. Rather learn from others before I have to learn the hard way.