Spent last week 4/23-4/28 (5 days, 4 nights) hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail. Started at Neels Gap and finished at Dicks Creek Gap. We hiked around 40 miles and had a great time and met lots of great folks. My knees did much better on this trip and it took about 3 days to get conditioned to the trail. This section of the AT has some really tough inclines and definitely put us to the test. We were much lighter this time and it really helped. The weight reduction was gained from lighter gear and less food. We also did not take as much “what if” items. We learned from our first trip that you pack your fears, but once you get comfortable on the trail you realize you don’t need a lot of gear to hike for 4-5 days. On the first trip we brought way too much food and on this trip we did not bring enough. We had enough to make the 5 days, but not enough to really fuel us like we needed. On our first trip we went on at about 33-35 lbs and this trip we cut the weight to 25 pounds including food and water. Each day as you eat you are reducing your weight. We weighed our packs when we got home and they weighed about 18-19 lbs. The new lighter gear was not cheap, but we thought it was worth it as any weight you can cut makes your hike that much more enjoyable. Anyone who is wanting to do this trip should go for it. It is one of those trips that will challenge you mentally and physically. You will also meet some of the nicest folks you can imagine. Two things that are a must is to buy the best gear you can, and then get in the best physical shape you can. Hope everyone has a great summer and I hope everyone gets to travel to their favorite places.