The week after Christmas last year, I went on my first backpacking trip with my brother and friends. We hiked a section of the Appalacian Trail (AT) in The Great Smokey Mountain National Park. This year, we are returning to backpack another segment of the AT in the Smokeys the week after Christmas.
I learned a lot last year before I stepped foot on the mountains. My brother has been backpacking for years, and our hours of conversations provided me with plenty of tips for the hike: