Counting Chickens

It all started with a high pitched scream in my mom’s ear.

My mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table, on FaceTime with my sister who had just flashed her newly minted engagement ring at us for the first time. Upon seeing the rock on my sister’s hand, I apparently made my mom’s ears bleed.


Actual picture. He did good. Image from:

Jokingly, I asked if I was invited to the wedding.

My sister rolled her eyes and said, “No, of course not!”

– offended, I gasped, and then she followed up with –  

“You’re going to be the Maid of Honor!”


At this point, dear reader, I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell my sister getting engaged has to do with my Appalachian Trail adventure.


“Are you done yet?” What you all probably look like right now.

Bear with me. It’s coming. Don’t leave just yet.

So, in between researching gear options, deciding between boots and trail runners (leaning toward trail runners), looking for a food dehydrator (ohh yeah jerky yeah), and picking out patterns for my gaiters and Buff, I had been visiting reception venues with my mom and my sister.

Having registered for a March 12 departure date, I was feeling comfortable with being able to plan the bachelorette party, help organize the engagement party and wedding shower with my parents, go dress shopping, craft with my sister, and keep her sane, and on top of everything I would have to do on the big day (keeping my sister calm, for one), because I was told that the wedding would be in the fall. Ish.


Don’t count your eggs before they’re laid. (hehe)

Chick tax

Chick tax

Being that I’m in Rochester right now tying up a few loose ends with my graduate program before I can get that stupidly expensive piece of paper, I wasn’t able to visit venues with my sister this past Monday. I called her the next day to find out what she thought of the venues.

That was when she told me that she and her fiance had agreed on a venue and set the date.

It was earlier. Much earlier than I had anticipated.


And with that, I’ve decided to scale back my March 12 start date to late February/very early March. That means I may be braving some winterish weather now that the El Nino weather phenomenon seems to be coming to an end.

(Edit: I was informed that El Nino isn’t ending until summer. Ahem. I stand corrected.)

But. It’ll be all worth it.

I’m looking forward to walking more than two thousand miles, multitasking, and obsessively budgeting my money, so that I can make it back in time to stand at my sister’s side as she says, “I do.”

I’m an obsessive multitasker (ask any of my professors, employers, family, or friends), so of course, this makes me exceedingly happy.


This is probably how I’ll be feeling, but that’s OK.

If any of you have had similar experience I would love to hear it! What were some sacrifices you had to make? Did you have to leave the trail early for a few weeks? Was it difficult getting back on the trail? Do you have any suggestions?

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Comments 3

  • George : Jan 6th

    Hi Gina. I just completed a thru-hike with my son this year. I also had an opportunity to work on a leadership class in Philadelphia and Baltimore. This was offered to me in January before our planned thru-hike. I had to get off and on the trail in June, July, August, and September. (OK – August wasn’t work related, it was a Phish concert).

    I worried about it, but it turns out to be easier to get off and on than I thought. the jump-off points were from Monson in June, from Hanover, NH in July, from Salisbury, CT in August, and from Pine Grove Furnace, PA in September (it was a southbound thru-hike). Each time, we were off for 3-4 days. It worked out.

    Best of luck!

    • Katina : Jan 8th

      I’m really happy to hear this because my daughter thoughtlessly (jk) decided to have baby number 2. In mid-May. I do have planned to leave the trail for a 7 – 10 day break to see the new bundle and help with the older one, then return to my jumping off point. My end date is more open. I’m also flip-flopping so summiting Katahdin in time won’t be an issue (at least time-wise.)

  • Blaise : Jan 8th

    I’m planning on a Flip/Flop hike in 2018. I know my son will be graduating from high school that year. I am hoping to get some of Virginia done and start developing my Trail legs before the graduation. The break should allow any overuse injuries to heal up as well as make it easier to make gear adjustments before heading back. \


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