The Worst City to Live in Prior to Hiking the Appalachian Trail


Answer: San Diego

Remember that time I thought Low Gap was cold? That night the temperature got down to 28 degrees (obviously Fahrenheit, Centigrade can suck it). Cold enough to have me in my sleeping bag by 7:30pm. Cold enough to frost my rain fly. Cold enough to make sleeping as unlikely as being at a Gilbert Godfrey book reading.

Compared to tonight- however- merely a mild chill. It’s 7:40pm at Cold Spring Shelter – and already the temperature is down to 33 degrees. There’s a total of 12 people in the shelter’s vicinity and exactly zero of them are not within three feet of the oversized fire or tucked in their sleeping bags. I opted for the latter- I’m a comfy bastard like that.

And of the ~2,000 people on the trail this year, no one is more ill equipped than Whoop and Badger.

Previous to my 2.5 year San Diego stay- I did 18 in the upper Midwest . Anything over 50 degrees was shorts weather (fact). San Diego has turned me into a softy. And I’m not alone- 63 degrees in San Diego translates to a sweatshirt and pants for anyone aside from tourists (cargo shorts are a double giveaway). My acceptable temperature window narrowed to a range of 68 – 76; 77 was too hot, 67, too cold.

Now I’m living in an environment where you can experience four season in 48 hours.


Mother nature pulled a great April Fools Joke on us. Last night’s low got down to 14. Suck. It.

You may be wondering what one wears in weather like that..?


Every damn article of clothing in my pack was on my frosty body. Then the procedure calls to wrap your mummy bag around your head and eagerly await sunrise so the idea of unthawing can start to replace all of the four letter words working their way through your brain.

Silver Lining #1: the extra level of chill didn’t actually seem worse than the Low Gap frost. I think I’m shedding my San Diego skin (that’s good because my Wisconsin skin is made of beer, cheese, and brats- a much better insulator).

Silver Lining #2: Hiking in snow is pretty badass.