Hiking in style
Dover woman to hike Appalachian Trail in style
DOVER — A local bartender is looking forward to trying out some new equipment — including sleeping gear from a downtown-based manufacturer — while taking on the Appalachian Trail later this month.
Whitney Silberblatt of Dover, who will soon celebrate her 34th birthday while hiking from Georgia to Maine, was one of 11 hikers chosen through a nation-wide search for the Thru-Hike Syndicate to hike the 2,200-mile trail with equipment issued from five outdoor companies, including the Dover-based Nemo Equipment Inc., Vasque, Osprey Packs, Leki Trekking Poles and Darn Tough.
Nemo, which was founded in 2002, provided each hiker with one of its lightweight backpacking tents, unique sleeping bags and comfortable sleeping pads.
"Along with the unique opportunity to use some of the industry's best gear, the hikers will also have access to product support, VIP treatment and a platform for sharing their tales from the trail with interested followers," according to a release by Nemo.
Silberblatt, who will have to quit her job as a manager and bartender at Blue Latitudes, said she also received trekking poles from Leki, socks from Darn Tough, shoes from Vasque Footwear and a backpack from Osprey Packs.
"I am starting in Georgia and will be 'hiking home' so to speak. Then past home a few hundred miles to Katahdin," Silberblatt wrote.
The 11 hikers will all begin their journeys sometime between the middle of this month or the beginning of April.
Silberblatt, who grew up in Rochester and went to college in Boston and Florida, was selected for the trip after filling out an online application.
"I got an email a month later asking if I still had plans to hike the AT and the rest is history," Silberblatt said in an email.
Silberblatt, who's been dreaming of traveling the length of the Appalachian Trail for years, also plans to take clothing, raingear, her stove, food, water, a journal, toiletries, camera and a phone.
While she loves to cook "creative camp meals," Silberblatt said she's found that the freeze-dried and dehydrated meals "are so much easier to deal with and I really don't think they taste that bad."
As she's working to pack up and move out from her apartment, Silberblatt said the toughest challenge is pre-paying her bills for the next six months.
"I remind myself often that there will be days where I am uncomfortable and unhappy and that I must remember on those days why it is I am out there and to focus on that and not the downside," Silberblatt said.
Nonetheless, Silberblatt said she's looking forward to meeting new people from all over while hiking through "some of the most beautiful areas in the country" along the route of the legendary trail. She said she feels prepared to take on the challenge.
"I hike in the White Mountains every week, year-round so I would like to think that helps to prepare a little. At least my legs will be in decent shape," Silberblatt wrote in an email.
After hiking all of the "White Mountain Four Thousand Footers" — 48 peaks including Mt. Washington — Silberblatt said she's almost finished with ascending them all again in the winter. She only has about eight left to go and anticipates completing the task this month.
"I have also hiked some of the 4,000- and 5,000-footers in Maine, including Katahdin. I am also working on completing the New England 4,000-footers as well as the New England Hundred Highest list," Silberblatt said.
To follow Silberblatt, visit http://onmyfeet.weebly.com/ or www.facebook.com/ThruHikeSyndicate.