Defying Disabilities

Will this generation of thru-hikers understand a “Cat’s in the Cradle” moment? Because I had one today and I suspect, if this pilgrimage goes as hoped, I will have many more.

Healthy as a Horse


First, an update. Physicians have all had their say and I am strong – or at least strong enough physically to take on this trail challenge. That was enough of an endorsement for me to serve notice at the institution where I have worked for the last 20 years. As I mentioned in an earlier post I am 59 years young and have had type 1 diabetes since I was 25. Since complications, especially heart-related issues, like to reveal themselves in this life stage, cutting off my A-plus insurance coverage was not a no-brainer. So why in the world would I do it?

Reasons for the Unreasonable

1. My youngest brother is schizophrenic and on enough medications to sink a ship – but they keep him thinking clearly. I realize that any “impairment” I may have pales to what he has faced all of his adult life.
2. An Iraqi war veteran and the toughest-looking dude you would ever care to meet read the Scripture on Sunday about Jesus cleansing the leper. The man, who has seen and done things no one should have to imagine, and who has talked openly about being trained to kill, struggled to get past the first sentence of the passage. The idea of anyone accepting that level of imperfection moved him – and us – to tears.
3. I know I am not alone in this but many with imperfections are convinced they must show they are not flawed by working that much harder than many and by hiding their condition from others – specifically employers.
4. I have a wonderful husband who is fully supportive of this endeavor to the point of putting me on his insurance plan. It is not as good as mine and it will cost us but there is something to this caring for each other aspect that I think is important and will likely make us stronger together.
5. Everything is aligning. I just got a message from my former boot camp instructor convincing me to stop my errant ways and come back for a final month to get the last bit of physical preparation I know I need. And my sister just booked a cabin for us in Hot Springs, N.C., for mid-April. I have to get there!

And getting back to Harry Chapin of “Cat’s in the Cradle” fame, with thanks to the writer and singer:

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon

Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’m hoping that the abundance of time will ensure a great trail experience for us all.

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Comments 9

  • Bill Vessier : Mar 1st

    Looking forward to following your progress and praying you will feel your hiking Companions’ presence the whole trek!!!!

  • Jim Cressler : Mar 1st

    Over hill, over dale, you will hit the mountain trails, as Barb Abney goes marching along!

    With you in spirit and prayer.

  • Bobbie whiting : Mar 1st

    This is exciting for a lot of us. I know you will find some answers & lots of question out there. Praying for you ,have a great adventure. ?

  • Jim Sullivan : Mar 1st

    You go girl! This is your hike but maybe along the way I may get to share a few steps.


  • Phyllis Thomas : Mar 1st

    Looking forward to following you Barb through these posts and praying for you!

  • Pat J Parker : Mar 1st

    Barb, I am excited for you doing such a great adventure! I can’t wait to see and hear what you encounter.

  • Brian OHalloran : Mar 10th

    hello Barb,
    Jill at Twist Hair Studio shared your name with me. She told me that you were also inspired by daughter Pari’s completed thru-hike. I look forward to following your journey and reading your words. Not matter where you end up, how far you go, how long you take… it is your journey. Breath that nourishing mountain air in deeply.

  • Bobbie whiting : Mar 12th

    When do you start your Journey ? Barb I hope have this right waiting to hear something

  • Brenda : Mar 16th

    I’m also 59 and I dream of hiking the AT, don’t know if I will get the courage to do it or not so until then I am going to live vicariously through you! Can’t wait to see how your adventure unfolds. By the way I still have my “Cats in the cradle” album!


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