Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Taking advantage of the unexpected

My flight is booked and in less than three weeks I'll be headed for Georgia to start my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trial! I wasn't planning on keeping a journal as this was not supposed to be one of those life-changing kind of events.  It was just me in the woods, walking north from the southern terminus as far as I could go in the time I had available. No pressure, no worries.

But my employment picture changed suddenly and I found myself with the entire summer available.  I decided I needed the time to reflect and regroup and what better way than to try to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine?

Hiking the A.T. is not a walk in the woods, Bill Bryson's book title notwithstanding. It's physically punishing and days of rain can be demoralizing.  And this year, there's snow and abnormally cold temperatures to contend with.  One has to be physically and mentally fit.  There are real hazards as well - unpredictable weather, rugged terrain where twisted ankles are common, rattle snakes, ticks which may carry Lyme disease, bears, poison ivy, shelters filled with mice wanting to share your food and even your sleeping bag.  And two-legged varmints from down below who take up shelter space and keep tired thru-hikers awake all night with their partying. Hopefully, though, they will be few and far between.

I'm not as physically or mentally prepared as I'd like to be to spend 5 months on the trail and I'm no spring chicken.  I'll take it a day at a time and see how it goes and how far I get.  Even if I don't make it through all 14 states, I know the walk will do me good.  :)