A Series of Introductions

How does one introduce themselves as they begin an experience that will modify, add to, and prune away the different branches of their personality? How can I not pigeonhole myself as “funny,” “serious,” “goofy,” “crunchy,” “pugnacious,” “type A,” “introverted,” or  “loquacious?” Bear with me. This series of introductions is an attempt to provide a more multi-faceted view on who I am and what the heck I am doing here…

Do you like to laugh? How about cry? Fair warning: There will likely be a lot of both along this journey.

I have been preparing for around 9 months for the Appalachian Trail and in my head for longer than that. Many sources were consulted from thru-hiker memoirs, to youtube, various websites (The Trek among them), podcasts, and yes, even our dear friend REI. Some of the advice was taken seriously. I am going with the double layer toe-sock-wool-sock method. I am a side sleeper, so I got a blow up pad. One of my nightmares is waking up with a snake in my sleeping bag, so I ditched the sleeping bag for a quilt (really nothing to do with the fictional snake) and decided that tenting will probably keep me the most sane. Other advice has been resolutely ignored. My Hoka One One boots have been wonderful for the 60ish miles of break-in. Perhaps one day, I will join the ranks of the trail runner obsessed. Until then, I love my boots; leave me alone.  Because my brain has been infected by years of study in nutrition, I have been preparing meals for my trip and plan on living by mail drop for most of my journey. If this does not work out, I am not married to this plan and I fully believe it will all be okay whatever may come. Who knows?! Maybe I will gain some much needed “chill.” However, preparing meals was a great way to practice creativity and procrastination (she says as the smell of dehydrating chicken wafts through the cozy living room and the dog salivates).

I am not walking for anyone or anything other than myself.

There is a discrepancy between who I am and who I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, most people would be happy to have my life! I have a ton of quality friends. I am talking cream of the crop amazing people who have all been tested in a “when the going gets tough” kind of way. I have two wonderful sets of parents, siblings, and a whole horde of nieces and nephews. My house is picture perfect. I love the Pacific Northwest where I live. Oh, and I have a goldendoodle. Yes, a freaking teddy bear dog who loves to play fetch, greet me when I get home, and cuddle. I have it all and I am deeply grateful for it… But I have reaped where someone else has sown. I am living a life prepared for someone else, for another dream, like the vestige of perfection. Getting to the point, I have most of this because a handsome, organized, kind, experienced hospice nurse met an indebted, misplaced, uncertain medical student and fell in love.  It’s a beautiful story, to be sure. It’s the kind of story where the gawky heroine is swept away by a knight in shining armor who sees all of her beauty and few of her flaws. Let me let you in on a little secret. Fairytales don’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes they end in a 2,000 mile long march for sanity.

One of my goals is to meet Grandma Gatewood on the trail. Since she is dead, I am not sure how this will come to pass, but one can hope.

I was 24 when I became a full-time caregiver and quit graduate school. I was 26 when I became a widow. Somewhere in between there, I decided that I needed a reeeeeeaaalllly long walk.

My hope is that this first post was completely unsatisfying. My promise to you, dear reader, is that eventually it will all make sense. Come on back as I start my journey and continue to explore life after it all falls apart.

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Comments 16

  • Bo Butler : Jan 24th

    I think I love you. I am biased though as I’ve known you for 14 years and know what an amazing person you are. I am completely jealous as one of my goals was to do the AT by 50 and barring a miracle that won’t happen. I am so proud of you! I’ll be living vicariously through you. GOD bless!!

    Reply
    • Laura Moore : Jan 24th

      Ahhhhhh, Bo! Thank you so much. I love you, too! Please do live vicariously through me and get out there as soon as you can 🙂

      Reply
  • michael sparks : Jan 24th

    Sorry to hear of your loss at such a young age. I’m heading out in April of ’18 myself looking for some peace and revive my life after losing my daughter at the age of 20. Hope you are able to reboot and enjoy the trek, from a Southern gentleman.

    Reply
    • Laura Moore : Jan 25th

      My thoughts are with you as we travel along related paths… in more ways than one. <3

      Reply
  • Vince Piquet : Jan 25th

    Your resolute courage acts as a beacon for anyone who has suffered tragic loss. Bueno suerta on your journey. Fair winds and following seas.
    Vince aka “The Dude. SOBO, ’17/’18.

    Reply
    • Laura Moore : Jan 25th

      Gracias! Hopefully we can hi-five if we pass on the trail 🙂

      Reply
  • Crockett 2002 : Jan 28th

    Best of luck. I hiked the trail way back in 2002. Looking forward to reading your posts as you learn more about yourself during your epic adventure, one step at a time!!

    Reply
  • Jay Smith : Jan 28th

    Good Luck and Safe Travels!!! The AT provides you with solitude and all Nature has to offer. From my section hikes during College in the 1970’s to my Son and his fiancée 2 years ago, it’s a wonderful experience that you never will forget!!!😊🏔🌲✌️🦅

    Reply
  • Mickey B : Jan 28th

    Wow on so many levels. Not young in my age but in my heart. Would love to follow you on your journey and hear about you meating grandma on the trail. ;). How might I follow and are you posting on YouTube? Bless you and your inner spirit. Mickey B

    Reply
    • Laura Moore : Jan 28th

      Thanks so much for your interest in my journey! You can follow me right here on The Trek! Unfortunately, I will not be posting on YouTube (pretty sure I have a voice for the written word 😉 )

      Reply
  • Mark Stanavage : Jan 28th

    The trail provides. I won’t say “stay safe “because good adventures rarely are. May trail magic come and find you when you need it most.

    Reply
  • Dave : Jan 28th

    Have recently experienced loss like you. Sadly my age and physical issues will make a through hike unlikely, but there is healing in even the simplest of hikes. I look forward to following your journey and pray for healing and growth. I am convinced there is no harder job than that of caregiver of a loved one or in my case three. You’ve got this girl! The outdoors will provide you with healing, love and time to recover!

    Reply
  • Mackenzie Wieder : Jan 28th

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am also hiking the AT this year (and blogging for the Trek) and I start March 22nd. I hope we meet on the trail. I lost my long term boyfriend two years ago and I think I am probably hiking for a lot of the same reasons as you.

    Reply
  • Arnold "Bloodhound" Guzman : Jan 28th

    A story that touches hearts meeting up with a trail that heals hearts. You should be a joy to follow. Btw: that’s a nice lookin’ dog you got there!

    Reply
  • Jen Christofersen : Jan 29th

    Thank you for sharing your journey. Looking forward to following your posts.

    Reply
  • Rick Moore : Feb 14th

    Hi Laura,

    It’s me, Kevin’s father. I hope you won’t see this as an uninvited intrusion, but, from what it sounds like you are setting out to do here, I figure this is as good a place as any to try and contact you. I think that following you on this journey would be a healing experience for me, as well.

    Also, being a native Californian, I’ve been seriously contemplating the PCT quite a bit lately. So my interest in your hike is far more than just a random curiosity.

    Reply

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