We had a rare quiet hour at work. So my coworkers corralled me for an impromptu question and answer session. Here are the top 20 questions that I recall. In no particular order.
1. Are you carrying a gun?
No. I am a weakling. I can’t haul around a gun, much less learn how to handle it and learn all the rules and regs in the next month. I would probably shoot my own foot or worse.
2. Are you bringing toilet paper?
Absolutely yes. I’ve heard it’s as valuable as gold on the AT.
3. Are you bringing a compass?
Yes. I never go in the woods without my compass. I’d feel naked without it. (And no, unless my body undergoes a miraculous transformation in three months I am not hiking naked on naked hiker day. Even if it is my birthday. And yes I’ve heard the birthday suit jokes.)
4. Are you bringing a whistle?
Yes. I always have a whistle. I’m not a good yeller. I failed singing in school and can’t project my voice.
5. What if you get lost?
Well I’m not planning to bushwhack off the trail. But I have a map, a DeLorme communicator which is a gps device, a compass, a cell phone (if there is service) and I know how to use them. And I have my whistle.
6. Are you bringing a she-wee?
Probably. Or something similar.
7. Do you have bear spray?
No. Too heavy.
8. But aren’t you afraid of bears?
C’mon, you’re talking to someone who has had a bear inside a lean to with them and lived unscathed to tell the tale! I won’t have any food in my tent. No I’m not afraid of bears. But I am very respectful of them. I’m just afraid of rodents chewing my stuff, and of people. Though my dog may help defend against both. Oh, and porcupines. Not for me but for my dog. He’s never encountered one, though we found a porcupine den in Binghamton NY once while geocaching.
9. Are you bringing your phone?
Yes. How else will I pay my bills when I’m on the trail?
10. But how will you charge your phone?
Town stops. Yes there are towns along the way.
11. Are you bringing a fishing pole?
No. Too much weight and bulk, there’s a need for fishing licenses, and I am not very good at fishing. But I have caught a trout on a fly rod!
12. But what if you run out of food? Won’t you starve to death without a gun and fishing pole?
I have some fat stored up for that purpose. And I bet my fellow hikers would toss me a granola bar if I were truly starving.
11. Won’t your husband miss you?
I hope so. He will have to sort through the junk mail all alone. And other household tasks I usually perform.
12. Won’t he be angry?
No. I’ve been married 38 years. He doesn’t do mad. Besides, he’s already had his sabbatical. In a big city, to which I say, “Bleah. You can keep your big city.”
13. But what do your kids think?
My son says great, as long as he doesn’t have to camp out. He long ago told me that if I have a map, compass, and gps in my hand he’s running the other way.
My girls wish they could go with me, and if either can get time off they just might hike a few days with me.
My foster son would come for sure if it weren’t for work.
14. Are you bringing a snake bite kit?
15. But what if a snake bites you?
I’ll find help.
16. How long will this hike take?
I don’t know. About 6 months.
17. How will you get home from Maine?
I don’t know. That’s more than half a year away. I have to get to Maine first.
18. What about bugs?
I lived in Maine for 8 years. I can survive black flies, mosquitoes, and horseflies.
I live in central New York now. So I know I can survive ticks too.
19. How big is your tent?
Theoretically big enough for two humans. Actually just right for one human plus one medium sized dog.
20. What if it rains?
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