The Bits and Pieces Left to Do – Always One More Thing

I have found that there is always just one more. Just one more thing to pick up or just one more person to say goodbye to, but there is always just one more.

My departure date is less than a week away and I have been steadily checking all the big things off the to-do list. I bought my pack and sleeping bag, and had long conversations with my family trying to tell them I do not in fact need to pack an ax and assure them that I really do not need the extra protection. I try to explain that I won’t be trapped in the woods with a bunch of crazy people; a bunch of regular people will be trapped in the woods with me and to be honest, I have never really needed an ax in the past.

Slowly my gear rolls in through the mail and my family starts to come around, yet I find that my to-do list is the same length. It is hard to prepare for something that you don’t know about and this is the nature of preparation. You just have to guess what needs to be done and, more importantly, what you need to spend money on.

I have been lucky and have found a strong support system both in my family and in my school. My often unorthodox family of outdoor enthusiasts consisting of my parents, brothers, and partner have provided remarkable amounts of support but I still would not be doing the Appalachian Trail if it was not for my school. I am engaged in the Emory and Henry semester-a-trail program ( This program finances my thru-hike, including all of my gear, and allows me to continue my studies. In this case, that means I will be collecting and categorizing the types and quantity of mosquitoes I find along the Appalachian Trail.

This support system is invaluable, but with the inclusion of more people, it makes things more complicated and it means that all of the bits and pieces start to pile up, and as I near my departure date I keep getting reminded of all the little things that need to be done. The truth is I probably will not get it all done nor should I because the list is ever-growing and even on the trail I will be thinking of how I could be doing things better (hopefully), but no matter what I continue to get better.

Feature photo courtesy of Jamie Ratchford.

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Comments 1

  • John Wilson : Feb 26th

    I found that the most pesky mosquitos lived in the stretch of trail between Falls Village CT and Cheshire MA, with the Housatonic River valley south of Great Barrington MA being “Hive Central” for the worst of the colony. You have been warned! 🙂


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