Allow Me to Introduce Myself…Last Minute
Howdy campers, my family and friends know me as Andy (Mac), but I’ll be trying on the trail name, “Last Minute” to start my NOBO thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in the next few days.
“Big Mac” was also in the running because I’m cheap and lack nutrition (tall, pasty, bald, skinny – kinda fitting honestly). “Teva Dancer” was another possibility as I ‘accidentally’ ended up in a nightclub last summer wearing Tevas and dancing like a drunk Tony Danza. “Mac-Squatch” was bequeathed to me by some friends back home I suppose because I’m tall, kinda hairy, and very likely to get lost in the woods and become a part of Appalachian lore…does he exist? Was that him? Nah, just a couple of deer mating, mate!
Why Last Minute?
Please allow me to explain the glaringly obvious. I am notoriously running behind schedule. I understand it’s rude to be late to social gatherings, family events, meetings, conference calls, graduations, funerals, weddings – including my own (!), and the like, but, even with my best efforts (seriously guys!) I am often not there when the clock strikes the witching hour. I’m NOT more important than the commitments I make. I just like to finish a project I’m in the middle of, or finish the chapter of a book I’m reading, or, heck, I dunno, eat something before making it onto the next whatever.
I drive fast because I’m running late. I have anxiety because I have 100 things to do and am not able to get them done until the last minute.
If I were a candy, they’d call me, “Late and Later”.
You know those dreams you had where you’re shirtless, or in your full-on birthday attire, in the hallways of your school, scrambling, knowing you’re late but forgetting what for. Welcome to the chaos that is my reality…albeit clothed…most of the time.
This doesn’t mean that I’m a complete asshole. I show up (eventually) for my family, friends, and excel at work and extracurricular activities, but goddang I could use another 8 hours in my day.
Who Is Last Minute?
I’m a kid from a city in Kansas. Yes, we have cities in Kansas (they are called suburbs where you’re from). Wichita is a manufacturing town where people make airplanes, refine oil, do something or other with soybeans, and the meats, and probably make a lot of money that definitely isn’t reflected in our surroundings, except for in the parking lots which we have a completely ridiculous number of. I do wonder at times what’s behind those high walls where the wealthy live. Probably still a lot of allergies (Wichita ranks worst in the nation in this category).
The son of a journalist and a manufacturing engineer, raised squarely in the middle class, attended the local uni- and became a puppet of industry myself…buying things, selling things, negotiating contracts for people to buy and sell things, and managing programs putting things together that were bought and sold and put on a shelf somewhere.
When I was 8-years-old, Jim Carrey was my idol, which I demonstrated by walking out of the Red Lobster bathroom exclaiming to a full lobby, “Do NOT go in there! Whewwww!”
At 17-years-old, I ran away to California for two weeks. Most people would call that a vacation. Yet most people on vacation don’t have an Amber alert out for them or their picture on the walls of the airport. Also 17, I was dumb enough to ask who was going to streak at the Senior Homecoming Football Game. Can you guess who got nominated?
Really sorry about that, Mom and Dad!
Fast forward 20 years, I’ve lived on the East Coast where I fell in love with Carolina BBQ and in France where my car got into an irreparable fight with a wall, have been married, divorced, was once voted the Second Funniest Person in Wichita (yep, a thing), and, most recently, living in the suburbs learning to play my grandpa’s old banjo and hosting driving range competitions off my roof into the swimming pool.
What Does This Have to Do with Hiking?
I’m a fierce lover of nature and can’t get enough of the outdoors. While employed, I enjoyed xeriscaping my lawn to host native plants in hopes that beneficial bugs and things that fly will be my friends. <Insert shameless plug> Plant some milkweed to help out the Monarch butterflies, ya’ll.
My work has limited my ability to hike for longer than a week at a time, so I quit my job in December in order to take on the Appalachian Trail thru hike challenge in 2023.
It has been a marathon undertaking preparing for the trip, researching and buying beloved gear, getting my house leased, helping finish up some loose ends on personal business projects, attending a family-member’s funeral, and finding time to hike a bit on a couple mini-Shakes (surviving a near death experience to boot!).
I’ve done stints in the Grand Canyon (Rim-to-Rim), Sierra Nevada (Half Dome hiking around Yosemite), Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain National Park (dang you Longs Peak), and the Uinta Mountains in Utah.
The Appalachian Trail, albeit a well-populated trek, will be my first solo backpacking excursion.
Why Am I Hiking the Appalachian Trail This Year?
You’ll just have to read on to find out.
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