The AT Series: Coffee With Mark Perlin

Photo Feb 19-21The mere thought that I am not the only one who is hiking the Appalachian Trail cuts me a great deal of slack. Mark Perlin, a student from James Madison University, who is graduating in a week, took some time to geek out on everything AT with me yesterday.

Prior to meeting him, I knew that thru-hike and section-hike existed but I had never heard of something called ‘flip-flopping’; that is exactly what Mark is going to do. He has wanted to hike the trail since he graduated high school and wants to eventually get the triple crown in his bag.  How he would flip-flop is by starting midway in Virginia (Va) and going up North to Maine to return hitch-hiking back to Va. Then from Va he will go South to Georgia and repeat the process till he is back to Virginia for good. An optimistic and dreamy person that he is, he encouraged me for my journey and gave me some excellent new tips in terms of clothing and research resources for AT.

Mark’s tips on clothes, electronics and resources:


He is taking two pairs of tops, pants, underwear and socks. His clothes are obviously synthetic, since they dry quickest in rainy conditions. For underwear, he highly recommended the brand EX-OFFICIO. He loves it because of it’s high quality and durability. The sock brand that he went for is called DARN TOUGH.


He is taking a phone, an iPod and a power bank. It’s minimal electronics and his iPod has all the songs, books and podcasts that he needs. To record his journey, he is taking an empty journal.


Just like Chandler Thomas (my the other AT interviewee), Mark has bought Awol’s AT Guide, an all inclusive AT guide-book that 99% of the hikers refer to. He will carry it with him and tear off pages as he goes.

He also referred me to Erik the Black’s Blog and said that it has helped him a lot. He bought all of his gear online.

Mark is all set and ready to leave in mid May. I wish him luck on his journey!

To read more about why I want to hike the AT, click on this link.

Until next time,

Arushi Sachan







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