Here are some things I've learned in the first part of the thru-hike...
-I need to eat more; I've lost about 15 lbs already and I can't afford to keep losing weight that fast! I wasn't hungry in the first couple of weeks, but my appetite is definitely coming back!
-I drink a lot of water each day, because I sweat a lot each day.
So I carry a lot of water (between 2 and 2.5 liters); some guys only carry a liter all day.
-I haven't treated any of the water I've drank so far. (I know, I know..!) It hasn't been a problem because there are so many springs in Tenn and North Carolina, but the elevation in Virginia is much lower and the trail goes by lots of farms so the chance of giardia contamination is a lot higher; I'll have to start using my chlorine tablets.
-I don't always hang my food bag up...partly because there's no bears around (yet) but mainly because I'm lazy. I've noticed that fewer and fewer hikers bother any more, though that will change in Shenandoah!
-I like to get up early and hike when its cold/cool, so even though I'm slow, I still keep pace with the fast guys who sleep in.
-Pretty much all my gear has done really well so far. I'm really happy with my backpack, it's been a hacker. The only problem I've had has been my phone battery, but somebody told me it was because I let the phone get too cold and so now I keep the phone in my sleeping bag!
-Its still really not spring yet, especially above 4000 ft. None of the trees have any leaves yet in the higher elevations and everything looks brown and gray. It has been really cold in the Grayson Highlands area...I know I'll be complaining when its hot, but warm at least would be nice for a change!