Discover more about Allie, the challenges she expects to face on the trail, what inspires her and why Dog & Bone's Wetsuit Impact and Backbone wireless charging case are must-haves for her big adventure.
Name: Allie McCann
Occupation: Student -- Masters Degree, University of Toronto
1. Where did your love of the outdoors stem from?
Although I have lots of memories of camping as a child, my love for the outdoors was truly realized once I was in university. I have a passion for adventure, learning new skills, pushing myself and enjoying life. When I found myself inside and working, I wasn't feeling the fulfillment I wanted. I remembered how much I enjoyed going on runs through the trails near my house growing up, so I decided to turn to the outdoors for adventure. After a lot of travelling and experiencing nature all over the world these past couple of years, I know there is no turning back on this love for the outdoors I've developed.
2. When did you on your very first hike and where?
Funny enough, this is my first backpacking hike. I'm an all or nothing kind of person and i knew if I wanted to do a long hike, I wanted to do a substantial distance. I have a lot of experience hiking locally on day hikes through the Bruce Trail or at a Frontenac Provincial Park, however, this will be my very first big hiking adventure.
3. Why did you choose the Appalachian Trail?
I chose the Appalachian Trail for the trees and the mountains. If I was going to live outside for a month, I knew I wanted to be surrounded by green and truly taking in the beauty of the forest. The Smokey Mountains also fascinated me because I wanted this hike to be something that really pushed myself mentally and physically. There is no better feeling of accomplishment than when you are standing on top of a mountain you just climbed and are taking in the view.
4. Travel Partner?
I am taking on all 300 miles with my friend from university and hiking partner Megan. Her knowledge of the wilderness is amazing, and I feel confident going into the outdoors with someone as informed as her. Our partnership has a really good dynamic.
5. What is in your backpack?
My backpack has way less than I would like to bring in a dream world but still enough to keep me happy and more importantly -- alive. After many elimination stages, I feel like I finally have it down to a weight that I can carry the whole time. I have some items that are strictly for sanity at the end of the day such as my Kindle, my headphones for music, and sandals so I can slip out of my boots to walk around where I set up my tent. I also have the necessary items such as gas stove, sleeping bag and first aid supplies. My iPhone was a must have as well as its my camera, compass, GPS and guidebook all in one (which is why it's so important to keep it safe in a durable case).
Allie's essentials packed for her 300-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail include Dog & Bone's Wetsuit Impact waterproof, drop proof iPhone case and Backbone wireless charging case with battery
6. How do you prepare for such a challenge? Any tips?
As I was already in pretty good physical shape, my physical training consisted of a lot of long day hikes with a weighted pack on my back. These hikes were mainly vital to truly break in my backpacking boots to hopefully prevent blisters on the trail. I read a book cleverly entitled Appalachian Trials, which really helped me prepare for the hike mentally. I think it's also important to read a lot of accounts by people who have actually completed thru-hikes of the trail to develop a realistic view of what life on the trail is going to be like and to understand how to survive.
7. What do you expect the biggest challenges to be and how do you plan to overcome these?
I think the biggest challenges come from the things that you cannot prepare for. Although I am bringing rain gear and the Wetsuit Impact waterproof phone case -- if it were to rain consistently for four days in a row, I am not quite sure how I would handle that mentally. I also think I'm going to miss people back home and will need to continuously remind myself of the motivations of why I am doing the hike.
8. What's your motivation to success at this challenge?
I am hiking to raise money and awareness for Canadian Tire's Jumpstart Foundation. Jumpstart is a charity that puts underprivileged kids into sports leagues. Sports were always a big part of my life growing up and I would love all kids to be able to have the opportunities that I had. Knowing I am also doing the hike for them makes it all worth it in order to succeed. I am trying to raise at least $10.00 for every mile hiked!
9. Do you have any affirmations or good luck charms to help you push on?
Nothing physical, but I have a book called, Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer on my Kindle. I have read it before but will re-read it when I get unmotivated as the whole book is one big affirmation for our relationship with nature and the world around us.
10. What are you looking forward to the most?
I am most looking forward to when I feel like the trail finally becomes comfortable and more like my home. I know the first week I will be sore, not sleeping well, scared and find hanging my food in a tree and setting up a tent every night so foreign. However, I look forward to the day where this all starts to feel normal and I have my trail legs where I start walking longer and faster. Although I won't complete my overall goal until I finish all 300 miles, when I finally get to that day I will feel like I really accomplished something in itself.
11. How will you record your adventure?
To save weight in my pack, I will be recording mainly on my iPhone. Therefore, I had to feel confident that my phone would stay charged and safe throughout the whole hike. The Dog & Bone cases allow for this by protecting my phone from the rain, wind, dirt, and dropping it. I am not only able to take pictures and record in all types of weather, but can also be confident that my phone will survive the terrain and the outdoors, and come out the other side with the memories it stores. I'll also be able to use the Dog & Bone Belt Clip to hold my phone with easy access on my back and to grab and record at any time.
Allie is sure to never miss a photo opportunity on the Appalachian Trail with her protected iPhone attached to her bag using Dog & Bone's Belt Clip Cradle
12. Who inspires you?
There's someone called Grandma Gatewood whom inspires me so much. Google her -- she's amazing! She very casually left to go hike the Appalachian Trail at the age of 67 with hardly any gear, calling it a 'nice lark'. Although she later went back and said it was much more difficult than she originally thought, she finished the whole thing! I want to be like her when I'm a grandma one day.
13. What home luxuries will you miss the most?
I think I'm going to miss my shower the most for sure! I'm also a big eater and I am going to miss being able to choose what to cook for lunch or dinner. All my meals for the whole month are currently all planned and packed, and there's not much variety there.
14. Any plans or ideas for your next adventure?
This may be a little crazy, but for my next adventure I want to change it up and master a new skill. I'm itching to do a long canoe trip, but I'm not sure where the perfect place is yet. However, who knows what the future will hold, the Appalachian Trail may be calling me back for more once I am done.
15. Top places you've hiked/future hikes?
The top place I've hiked is in Sapa in Northern Vietnam through the rice fields. For the future, I have eyes set on the Chilkoot Trail that leads from Alaska into British Columbia, Canada. It's not that long but you pass through three different climate zones and experience everything from coastal rainforest to high alpine in just a few days. Hopefully I get to it one day!
Follow Allie's adventure here or check out her Facebook page.