One of the absolute truths of a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail is that it is not recreation. It’s a job, filled with repetitive tasks. Find and purify water. Fix meals. Determine how far the feet and knees can handle. Plan town stops. Put up and take down tent. Roll out sleeping bags. Inflate and deflate mattresses. Hang up food bags out of reach of bears.
Lots of little tasks, but they add up. The sun is up now at 6 AM and down around 8:30 PM. We just managed 10 miles before lunch in the pouring rain, including slippery rock hops, in 5-1/2 hours. Had we not been stopping for a ride into town, it might have been our longest day. So far, the most we’ve been able to handle walking is 16.9 miles between 7:30 and 5:30. That was a long, tiring day.
Spending six or seven days a week putting one foot in front of the other: that’s a job.