Plans are being planned! I am very excited. When I decided I wanted to try a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I started to get things in motion immediately. It’s been a slow but steady process. I talked to my husband and son, unexpectedly getting their overwhelming support. I read every book and watched every movie I could get my hands on. I saved up a little money and quit my job. I got addicted to 2013 trail journals. I researched gear until my eyes were crossed and slowly gathered up everything I had my eye on. I’ve only got two more things to buy: guidebooks that aren’t out yet and a GPS messenger that I’m holding out on in case a better model comes out. That’s it! I’m sure I’ll make some changes as I get closer to March but I’m pretty much done with gear. Now I’m just waiting and the waiting has been rough. There is still plenty to do: making arrangements to get to Georgia, deciding if I want to dehydrate some meals myself, where and when to do mail drops, etc. These are all things that I can’t really plan too far in advance though.
So between now and then I’ve found two exciting ways to keep myself busy:
The summer edition of ALDHA’s newsletter came out recently and had some new info that really sealed the deal for me. I just bought my plane tickets and set up a rental car at the airport. No turning back now! I sent out a few emails to some incredibly friendly ALDHA members about things I wasn’t clear on. They all wrote back quickly and were so nice about it. The event is Fri-Sun with a trail work day on Mon but all the flight/rental car deals I was looking at were cheaper for Thu-Tue. It didn’t make sense to save money on the traveling if I was just going to end up having to get a hotel because the camping wasn’t available for the extra days. Also, I wasn’t sure how long the work trip on the trail was going to take and I didn’t want to rush to catch a flight after working hard all day. I found out the camping is available the extra days and if I get there early enough and there’s still work to be done I get to help. Very cool. I think helping out will totally take my mind off being a self-conscious newbie. I also found out that the work trip is pretty much an all day thing so I was right to want to leave the next day instead of trying to jam it all into one day. I tend to overthink things so there was a good possibility that my emails contained common sense questions. Thanks to Eric White, Noel DeCavalcante, and Kip Redick for not ignoring my emails and for taking it a step further by making me feel welcome. Gathering, here I come!
Thru-hiking the Lone Star Hiking Trail
I haven’t decided exactly when but after I get back from the Gathering, I plan to take everything I learned from there into the Sam Houston National Forest to test all my gear and skills. I love camping. I love hiking. I have no idea if I love backpacking. I think I do but there’s just no way to know for sure without doing it. I’ve done a few solo trips now so I feel pretty comfy by myself but they were just weekend trips. I don’t have the luxury of living on the east coast where I can just do a section hike on the AT to see if I like it. I do, however, have the Lone Star Hiking Trail less than two hours from my house. I won’t get scenic mountain views. In fact, it’ll pretty much be flat the entire way BUT I will get in 96 miles of hiking with my full pack to figure out if I like backpacking or not. Bring it on, LSHT!