32 & I Can’t Trust a Fart
Hello, my name is Sage (pronoun indifferent) and I am an individual who walks to the beat of my own drum. I have been labeled many things by society, but I know who I am and what I enjoy. And I’m way too young not to be able to trust a fart, I’ve become privy to the privy. I am a Jack of all trades and a master of none of them. If I’m not hiking, I’m probably doing something with plants currently. Couldn’t tell ya what’s next, hiking and time in nature has been my one steady. I am not a gear junkie and am not big on stats. I’m big on nature and its healing properties, and I believe that it should be accessible to all. For my gear, I’ll use what I have and get backups where needed. I’ll post a gear list as soon as I sort through it all.
My dog, River, is mainly who I’m doing this for. I have a solid reason why, which we’ll get into later. River is a seasoned hiker who has completed two rounds of the White Mountain National Forest 48 4,000 footers list and the New England 67 4,000 footers list. He’s hiked 87 of 100 on the New England Hundred Highest list, 34% of the WMNF guidebook, and several summits of Mount Washington. Holy Moly! However, I have always carried his food, water, and gear. But for this adventure, we’re going to try a pack for him.
Wake Up to Find Out That You Are the Eye’s of the World.
I’ve heard that hikers without a solid why tend to not finish the trail. I’ve seen determination get someone pretty far in life, but I imagine cold, hungry nights and cold, rainy days could break even the strongest individual. (content warning- family loss) River came into my life after I failed CPR on my Dad, my life would never be the same. My life was a mess, my choices were poor, and I knew I could do better for the both of us. I quit all my bad habits cold turkey and rented a place for just Riv and I. Having grown up in Maine with an outdoorsy, single Dad and working for an outdoor retailer in his honor (it was his favorite place!), the only thing I knew to do with Riv and for myself was to go out in nature, and go out we did.
It all started on Mount Moriah in the White Mountains. I carried my Dad’s ashes, and I continued to for many following hikes. I wore my gym clothes, carried a hand-me-down pack and way too much water, but we made it! Since then, I no longer carry my Dad’s ashes as I understand now he’s with me in other ways and I’m always just short on water, but it’s the Whites, am I really ever out of water? I have upgraded my gear and I turned the outdoors into my career for five years. I went for my Registered Maine Guides license and passed my first try. It was a wild, fulfilling time then that C19 word happened and I got a job in corporate America I couldn’t turn away from. If you too are a part of the dead parent club I praise you, it’s tough. Keep going!
Do you believe in Magic?
I don’t know if you believe in synchronicities, but I sure do. Having spent a decade with Riv I know my Dad lives on vicariously through him. Life is too short and my only regret on my deathbed would be not hiking the trail in its entirety! I got laid off in October because people aren’t testing for the virus as much anymore, so I took Riv out to Vermont and bagged a couple on the hundred highest list. I thought, “shit, I need to get a job.” I didn’t need to get a job as my severance runs through the middle of February. I also didn’t realize for a couple weeks after working that job that I had just set myself up for my one bucket list item. It was hard to turn off the noise of society being a homeowner and feeling the push to start another career. I finally leaped out of my comfort tree and put my notice in at work.
It Takes A Village
As someone who has never blogged, why would I want to start a blog now? I know I don’t need to explain myself, but it should be known that almost everything takes a village. The amount of help I’ve received along the way to get to this point took the entire village. I’m beyond fortunate enough that everything lined up to offer River and I this experience and I not only want to be that bit of representation that I was seeking when I was lost, but I’d also like for everyone that’s helped me along the way be able to follow along. I’ve been saying for years that I’ll hike it someday and the most common response is something along the lines of, do it now before responsibilities make it impossible. To put it plainly, no two people experience the trail the same, this will be a minute view of the way I experience it.
First Thing Out the Window is Always the Plan
My plan for this hike is to spend as little money as possible in town and all the time available with Riv where he is most content, on the trail. We plan to utilize resupply boxes as I prefer to dehydrate and prep all of my backpacking meals. I’m going to try something different with River. I typically carry 5 days of dry kibble on a 4-day backpack plus some freeze-dried toppers and treats. I’m going to buy as much freeze dried as I can afford and make him loads of jerky. I’ll carry his food, treats, and water and he’ll carry his sleeping bag, raincoat, and a towel. Stays in town will be limited, but I plan to nero to River’s heart’s content. I love nothing more than watching him take it all in as I take it all in. Life is too short, and I don’t want this hike to mirror that.
When it comes to the Smokies, boarding him isn’t even a thought as that’s undo stress he’s never been through. He very much likes to be with his human and this hike isn’t about me. As we walk our way closer to home, my partner will come visit with our other two dogs, shower us with food, love, farts, and miles on the trail together.
Food is Fuel Plus I’m Frugal
Another constant in my life has always been cooking and meal prep, backpacking is no exception to that and allows me to combine both interests. In the past I have spent my winters prepping for my summer trips, naturally I’ve already began the process of dehydrating and preparing my 15 different meal choices for the trail. It boils down to only having to eat each variety, once a week. Food fatigue has never been an issue. By preparing my own meals and energy bars I can create portions based on the amount of calories I’ll be burning, this cuts down on food waste and extra weight carried. The thought of all the half-eaten Mountain House meals I’ve packed out makes my knees hurt. My partner and I don’t eat out much as it is, my pull will ne to the post office to devour whatever home-baked goodie she sent Riv and I. This is another topic I’m sure I’ll blog more about as I get ready for the trail.
I know who I am and what I’m after, this hike isn’t a soul search, a rippin’ party, or an FKT (fastest known time). This hike is the culmination of the last decade of hard work, human experiences, and struggles as I turn off the noise of society. It will be us in nature with nowhere to be, putting one foot in front of the other, following my love.
Signing off for now.
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