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I'm a section hiker of the AT and should I ever retire, plan on thru hiking it. So in ongoing preparation, I sectioned hiked the Smoky's in the spring with a goal of 3 days/3 nights. Took me 3.5 days. I hit the wall, badly. Nausea, dry heaves, no appetite. There were cold nights up at altitude and I also noticed a strong ammonia odor when I pulled my sleeping bag up over my head-- so bad it made my eyes water. Why the odor? I investigated.

Back to high school science. The universal energy source in every cell of the human body (heck, all living things) is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). There is a continued flux in every cell-- as energy is cleaved from intracellular ATP stores, ATP degrades to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). The ADP is restored back to ATP thru the addition of engery (burning of fat and carbs (glucose) in the cell). Fat is a slower energy source; glucose is faster. If you push yourself hard enough, the working cells chose glucose as the energy source. Sit down and rest, and fat becomes the source. If you don't have enough glucose, then the degraded ATP (now ADP) stores increase...and increase. Finally the cell recognizes that the ATP:ADP ratio is out of kilter and rectifies the ratio by just trashing the ADP (converting the adenine necleotide of ADP to inosine Y-monophosphate (IMP) and ammonia). Now the ammonia odor.

So I submit that if you develop an ammonia smell while pushing up your mileage, you ain't getting enough carbs. For those UL'ers who try to pack the greatest calories/gram of food weight (hence, the majority of food = fat), you risk getting insufficient carbs. The harder you push, the greater the ratio of carbs to fat that you require.

So I trained myself to eat more and to get sufficient carbs. I went back and did the Smoky's in 3 days, then did the 100 mile wilderness in just under 5 days, both without the ammonia odor every accumulating, and never hitting the wall.

submitted by /u/GetOutOfMyForest
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I'm a guide with over 40 weeks in the backcountry, but my fear of lightning is getting worse. I was never afraid of lightning before I started guiding, but now it causes me a lot of anxiety. It's embarrassing because my clients/students are way less afraid. I'm usually able to hide my fear from them, and I don't want them to think that we are in danger when I objectively know that the risk is pretty low, but it's hard when I am internally panicking.

Anybody else have this? Any tips about how to overcome/manage? I think I have some form of PTSD from getting lit up on a ridge (not literally lit up, thank god) on my first trip as a guide, but now it's just like a vessel for all of my anxiety and control issues in the backcountry. I'm not that way about rivers, bears, snow, heights, anything else--it's just lightning.

Ugh! I'd love some tips on how to let go of this.

submitted by /u/annahanson
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When doing more than ~15 miles per day, with abundant downhill sections, my knees would ache. Thinking about the problem, it occurred to me that modern athletic shoes have lots of heel lift (where the heel offers even 14 mm more height than the front sole. That forces more plantar flexion at the ankle on descents. Could that affect the knee? Maybe decreasing that angle to a more anatomical, zero- or small-heel lift would help? So I bought some new trail runners with zero-lift and went on a long hike. I was very pleased...waited for the knee pain but it never materialized on a 24-miler yesterday. What is your experience with low heel lift? (And this was more intraarticular pain, not ITB that I was experiencing)

submitted by /u/GetOutOfMyForest
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I recently sectioned hiked the Smokies. Started at Fontana Dam. Felt great day 1 - 24mi. Day 2 - 20mi but lost my appetite. Ate no lunch or dinner. My glycogen stores went unfulfilled. Day 3- OMG- dead tired, nausea, dry heaves. I felt like I was somewhere between the deep sea and hell. What a mistake (not eating enough). Only had 8 mi to go on day 4. So finished and drank a half gallon of Coca Cola and felt better but not recovered. Wt drop of > 10 lbs. What are your experiences? Teach me.

submitted by /u/GetOutOfMyForest
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If I could stick to tarp during summer I would, but it is not an option for someone who lives in country with mosquitos and ticks everywhere for half of year. Bivy or hammock with mesh cover does not suit my style of backpacking, sometimes I just want to reach some more or less remote campsite and chill for a weekend. On the other hand, mesh tent I use is bit heavier than it could be with proper design, it is cumbersome to set up and seems fragile, already teared in two places. Any product, or original solution recommendations?

submitted by /u/cr_wdc_ntr_l
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Hey there, back in the days i was with the boyscouts and we used to do regular Multi-Day hikes just navigating with a Map and Compass, not always following the marked trail, shelter was just a tarp and whatever the woods gave us and no camping stoves or stuff like that, only a campfire.

That was when i was 11-15. Im 21 now and i miss this feeling of being so deeply dependent and connect with nature and just trying to "fight" your way through life in the woods. Back in the days the older guys were the ones organising everything so now i do not have any idea where to start or what to look out for when i want to do a trip like that.

I want to just spend a week hiking through the woods like i described it... What tips can you give me? What do i need to take care of, what do i need to know/learn? I have done "simpler" multi-day hikes on my own. But its always been in easy terrain with trails and many people around and the night spent in a tent on a campsite.

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I'm 6'8" 230lbs and for as long as I can remember I've had the sleeping pad blues.

Any sleeping pad I've ever owned (and I've owned several) has eventually gotten to the point where it deflates to some degree overnight, and not due to puncture. My guess is that it's just physics, with my larger mass putting so much air pressure on the valves to the point that they slowly leak over time.

This causes no end of annoyances, particularly on cold trips where I wake up freezing with my ass and lower back on the ground. I tried the closed cell foam route with a Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite, but the comfort was just not there plus I'm a hip sleeper and would wake up feeling really sore. I currently have a Big Agnes Q-Core SLX that I've slept on maybe two weeks in total that has begun to leak.

Anyone have a similar problem that can recommend a pad that is still going strong with no leakage? Looking for full length in a long version, temp rating doesn't have to be down super low, and budget isn't too much of a factor. Would consider sacrificing some weight for durability although I do tend towards ULish gear. I've basically resigned myself to (abusing?) REI's return policy every time this begins to happen, as it usually doesn't take a year, but that makes me feel guilty and is less than ideal.

Any info is appreciated. Being large and tall (tall in particular) is less than ideal for backpacking, heh. Perhaps I'll start another thread soon for my freestanding tent woes. Or for hiking pants. Or rain gear. ;)

Edited for clarity.

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