Appalachian Trail 2010


I started coming down with what I thought to be a cold but now think is a sinus infection late last week. It has since knocked me down and I’ve been hibernating in my in-laws movie room watching all sorts of chick flicks and BBC America for Dr. Who.

It isn’t pleasant; I’m sick and officially have no insurance. It ended yesterday. The good part was finding out that the Minute Clinic at CVS is only around $60 for a visit for a cold related type things and if all they are prescribing are antibiotics and cough medicine, then you could escape a doctors visit for under $100.

Health insurance was our one sticking point for the trip. Well, not a sticking point, but a big question mark if you will. The fact is, health insurance isn’t cheap and the health care bill never got passed, so we’re stuck trying to find health insurance we can afford.

I received my COBRA information before I even left Florida and it was laughable. Over $600 a month for one person. Seriously ridiculous. We did this for a few months when Chris was in between jobs a few years ago and we could afford it because we were working, but that would quickly eat through our savings if we did it this time around. So, today Chris got online and dug around for an emergency insurance, something that would cover a catastrophic problem like being laid up in an a hospital for days on end. *crossing fingers that won’t happen and knocking on wood*. Once they review our application, hopefully we will be paying $100 a month for both of us for a catastrophic plan that would help us out in a pinch.

So, if I come down with a cough or cold I’ll be paying out of pocket for a doctors visit somewhere along the AT.

Aside from being sick, we did venture out for awhile to REI and to have lunch with Chris’ dad and step-mom. At REI we picked up a bunch of MSR fuel for our stove to put in our maildrops as well as a ton of tiny bottles of Dr. Bronner’s soap. The soap is a biodegradable soap that can be used to clean dishes and to wash yourself, so it is perfect for the trail. Some people even try to brush their teeth with it, but once some of it leaked in the bag we had our toothbrushes in and well, it doesn’t taste good.

Robin had a few questions:
Sorry if you answered this already, but for the food drops, how does that work?
We pack them into boxes and take them to the post office so they can be shipped to the points we want to pick them up at.

Do you stop off at various points along the trail and give the boxes of food to someone to keep?
Most of the boxes will be shipped to post offices and stored there until we pick them up. We will ship them about two weeks ahead of time with a tracking number. Some get shipped to private companies that can be picked up 7 days a week.

Or do you stash it somewhere?
Only if I want a bear to find it!!!

How long will it take to drop all that off? And I take it it will be done beforehand, right?
No dropping off! Just mail ’em out two weeks prior to our scheduled arrival in that town so that we can pick them up. The mail drops are meant to supplement at a town that doesn’t have a good grocery store or maybe the town is a little spread out and we want to avoid running around town for hours on end.

We have a few other things to take care of for the trail like sealing the seams on our rain fly and figuring out our phone. We still haven’t made a final decision with that. We got our car insurance taken care of and will be doing comprehensive only for six months while it is in storage, greatly reducing our monthly bill.

I’ve already started thinking of ways to cut my weight at the beginning. I’m thinking of ditching a second sports bra, a pair of shorts and an extra shirt until we get through the Smokies. Hauling 11 days worth of food is going to bite. I have light-pack envy after seeing someone’s total weight of 18lbs on That’s total weight of all gear plus food and water. I’m not interested in carrying more than 30 lbs of weight, which I think could happen in the Smokies. Some people carry 40+ lbs, until they get to Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap and get someone to help them drop their pack weight.

Two weeks from now we’ll be toasty in our sleeping bags somewhere in Georgia.


  • Meghan

    Wow!!! Two weeks…I’m so excited for you guys! And I hear you about COBRA insurance- it’s a frickin’ joke. Who can afford those premiums when you’re unemployed? Been there and it’s a nightmare! Anywho…I loved your stop motion, it was awesome!!

  • Heather

    Yeah, the only person I know who thought COBRA was worth it was someone whose husband got laid off and they had a baby. Apparently, the baby appointments were really expensive. Eek. $600/mo. More than most people spend on rent in a lot of places.

    I’d try OTC stuff for the sinus issues for a couple of days first. Every time I’ve gone to the Dr. for sinus issues, unless it was a pretty serious infection, they’ve just given me decongestants (sometimes decongestant horsepills). Lemon & honey tea is comforting. Good chicken broth/soup can also work wonders.

  • Heather

    This time of year, you may also want to try allergy stuff (antihistamine). There may be some blooming grasses in Tx that you’re no longer used to.

  • Anonymous

    I just came accross your blog. Looking forward to reading your updates while you’re on the trail. As far as your medical insurance, you may also want to look into a short-term medical plan. Coverage is usually available for a maximum term of 6 months and the premiums are quite affordable. The claim doesn’t have to be catastrophic. United Health Care has a short-term policy which you can purchase online at

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