For the most part, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is something you can only prepare for by doing. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of plans and preparations that go into getting ready. It’s just that most of the things that are going to make you a capable thru-hiker are going to come once you’re on the trail. This first episode in the Long Start web series reveals some of the steps I took to get ready for my through hike as well as some of the thoughts that were running through my head in the days immediately leading up to starting. This is the long start to the journey.