Guts! You need guts. You also need smarts.
The journey is much more about your emotional prep than your physical abilities. Yes, it is tough, and very steep, and exhaustingly long, trust me I know…first time I did it in winter I cried all the way down…but in summer it is all weekend warriors and families with kids roaming the trails. If they can do it, you can too! Or can you? Will your guts serve you when you ask them to? Your mind will give up before your body breaks down, don’t let it. You have full control over your mind! Before you push yourself a little, make sure you have no lingering injuries or pre-existing pain.
1) You will need a plan. Always have a plan, both for going up and coming back down. It is the descent that usually challenges weekend warriors like me and leads to accidents and injuries.
2) Know your trails, have a paper map, NOT on your phone! Know your shelters, water sources, and easy ways out. (Should you need an escape.)
3) Water, lots of it for a long hike. I suggest 3-5L per person per day and I recommend you replenish your water at each water source, just to be safe. (I carry 5L with me in summer but I also drink like crazy…water I mean 😉)
5) Don’t forget your electrolytes…unless you want to cramp out in the middle of the hike when salt and nutrients from breakfast run out. Have them with you and take them at regular intervals. I like the gummy energy chews, I also use coconut powder to add to my water at higher altitudes. Electrolyte/mineral tablets work. Salty foods and beef jerk can be used as a source of electrolytes too.
6) First aid kit…or more like sunscreen, band aids and a pocket knife. You usually assemble your own kit based on your needs. I, for example, blister profusely (gentle mermaid feet lol) but have no allergies. If you have a life threatening condition I don’t need to tell you that you should bring your medicine with you at all times.
7) Food. Well…I assume you’ll start your day early with a hearty NH breakfast. I’m not a big eater and there is a cafeteria on top, so if you were to forget something, I’d say “may it be food”. 🍕 Trust me, you’ll survive. You may even acquire six-pack abs after scrambling those boulders below while fasting. (NB! If you tend to experience low blood sugar and have fainted before, PLEASE bring food and eat!)
8) Last but definitely not least 😆, you may want to bring a flask with whiskey or a couple of beers to celebrate summiting the highest peak in the Eastern US when you reach the top.🍻