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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Appalacian Trail - 1

May 24, 2011 at 9:03am



A couple months ago I made the decision to 'Walk in the Woods' this summer.  I was between things, having just closed the chapter on rustic construction in Costa Rica.  While processing that ending as well as new begining, I realized that I had completed 3 'Bucket Lists' (Lists of things that I wanted to do before I move on to the next life).  The only remaining items were really just more traveling and seeing the world.  Then the Appalacian Trail popped into my mind and I thought well, why not - I'm fairly healthy and I have friends and family all up the east coast.  So I started doing some serious research.  Now I had the 'crazy idea' that hiking was just a different word for walking a long distance and carrying your home turtle style on your back... how hard could that be?  (yes, smile)
Well, it sure is challenging and the AT is like a really really loooooong walk in a park with some (unexpected! ha) mountain climbing involved.  This is perhaps one of the most social events of my life as well.  It is incredible the bond, team work, cheering on and friendship that are developing along the way. I have been blessed by Trail Angels and surprised by Trail Magic almost daily.  I started off with some gear I have had and used the past few years and an emergency fund that I thought would get me through until the first week of June.  I am on a fixed monthly income.  Now, mind you, I was used to living simply and rustically.  Camping is rather easy and fun for me.  Hiking well - now I am learning!
And yes, I have been having some daydreams about RV's and National Parks!  What was I thinking!  And then I climb another incredible hill or mountain and get to that vista/look out or just realize that I am doing this incredible thing and that just makes me wanna try more...in fact I now get so anxious to get back to the AT when I have the opportunity to spend a night in a hostel or hotel - you know, cleaning up, washing laundry and stuff.
I am so glad to have so many family and friends interested in my adventure.  I would be happy to 'walk' with some of you if you are out there near me - message me with details and we can try to coordinate that.  Also, some have asked about sending me a CarePackage along the way - I appreciate that and though I basically have things covered it is nice to get surprises so message me and we can work that out too.
I expect to be in, Wesser, NC in about 4 days and then in Fontana Dam, NC 28733 around the 3rd of June (happy birthday Ruth)
Some people are interested in some of the AT hiking details so here they are:
Gear:
I started with a pack I bought in Panama, it didn't last 2 weeks, so now I'm using a Coleman one until I can replace it with a lighter weight one (Wish list: Granite Gear Nimbus)
Northface Blue Kazoo (used one that was a gift)
I am a hammock camper and am using a no-name paracute nylon hammock with a Hammock Bliss mosquito cacoon and a plastic tarp.  (Wish list: Sil Nylon Tarp)
Keen hiking sandals with Smart Wool medium wieght hiking socks (this really works great so far, I am a fair weather hiker)
I am using PocketProfileMaps - love love the simple no nonsense information
MSR Tealite kettle (Love - yet need to change for practicality0
Esbit Pocket stove (LOVE - no brainer easy)
Outdoor Products Walking sticks
Outdoor Products 2 liter Water bladder
Patgonia capaline long john bottoms (Wish list: the top)
LLBean Zip long sleeve top
Campmor Zip fleece
fleece sleep pants (I was freezing!)
Danskin tank top
ExOfficio panties (okay - LOVE - want more & a bra)
Outdoor Products dry bags (hey people these only cost $9.88 and they work!)
Energizer headlamp
Gerber pocket knife
Parachute cord - ridgeline for hammock tarp & for hanging the bear bag at nite
Wish List:  Spot Satelite thing or cell phone for txt msgs, zip off leg pants,
Food:
Ramen noodles (4 pks crunched and seasoned and stored in a qt size Ziplock freezer bag)
Instant mashed potatoes w/cheese
Snickers bars
Old fashioned oatmeal
Raisins
Occasionally: beef jerky (wish I could have pemmican), dried cranberries or blueberries, foil pouches of salmon (yea thats bear treats- just kidding), M&Ms