Another NOBO Hobo… Probably
Hey there. My name is Jason – no trail name yet – and thanks to Zach, I have the supreme honor of sharing some of my thoughts and tribulations with you here on Appalachian Trials while I prepare for and complete my 2015 Thru-Hike. I figured I should introduce myself a little before I get too far into this whole project, but in an attempt to not “cut and paste” from my own blog (clicky clicky #1) I will just direct you to my intro post there (clicky clicky #2) for the detailed explanation and just summarize it here for you.
Like most who have posted before me, hiking the Appalachian Trail is something I have wanted to do since I was 12 years old. I had a typical “Michigan Outdoors” childhood – camped, fished and hunted with my family, was a Boy Scout (AM a Boy Scout – once an Eagle, always an Eagle), and have always found my peace in the outdoors. But like many, I let life get in the way of my dreams of thru hiking. College, grad school, moved to Maryland, marriage, divorce, became an EMT, then a medic, and all along the way, collected more hobbies than any normal human should.
Then last summer I had my life turned upside-down. I was in a minor motorcycle accident that required some serious knee surgery. After nearly 14 weeks of sitting in a wheelchair, unable to participate in any part of my “prior life”, I had a lot of time to do some soul searching and thinking. One of the things my surgeon said to me struck a chord – and it was not a harmonious musical note that makes you smile. Paraphrasing, he said, “You’re going to have arthritis, no question about it, and it will be worse than most. In 20 years, you’ll probably need a knee replacement. So if you have any plans you’ve been holding out on, don’t waste too much time.” While it came as a slap in the face, I appreciate his frankness.
Here I am now, 11 months later. I have completed physical therapy, have gotten in some hiking this summer to help strengthen my leg, and am feeling about 97.625% back to full strength. I have made the decision to run away from life – err, take a leave of absence – so that I can accomplish this goal before I am no longer able to attempt it. My family has been informed of this, and while they may not be as excited as I am, they are supportive. I still have some others to fill in, and have lots of gear planning and upgrading to accomplish, but all in all, I am on my way. I have been reading books and websites and blogs like there is nothing else in my library (anyone who knows me knows I could open my own bookstore…) and have even reached out to some other future ‘15ers to give and receive tips and encouragement. As for the title of the post, that is still one of my unanswered questions – which way to hike. Decisions, decisions.
I want to thank Zach for allowing me to share my thoughts here and all of you for actually reading. I will probably still post some of my weekly dribble on my personal blog, but anything of importance will definitely be here for all of you fine folks. And obviously, any tips and suggestions you have are always welcome! I look forward to where this adventure will take me…
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