Desk Job to Trail Junkie, My Adventure Begins.

In May I made the decision to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2015. I decided to start hiking in Georgia at the end of March and end up in Maine sometime in September. Alot of people try to hike this 2,100+ mile trail, and I’m pretty sure they all start out confident that they won’t be in the approximate 70% of people that fail. So I am going to join this club and say that I am fairly confident, no, absolutely certain, that I will finish this endeavor. I will descend Mount Katahdin a woman with renewed confidence, physically stronger, a new sense of self, and more empowered than I’ve ever been! Yeah, but it’s even more likely I will be very tired, very sore, and ready for a very long nap in a comfy bed.

When I was in my teens I spent my summers in tents and adirondacks at scout camps. Most of time as a councilor teaching younger girls how to start fires, rainproof their tents, tell time by the sun, etc. etc. I also hiked but never more than half day treks. I biked everywhere, and played outdoor sports. I couldn’t get enough of the outdoors and that carried into my adulthood. I still spend a lot of time outside in my garden, walking, doing nature photography or laying in the backyard reading a book, but it still doesn’t feel like enough.

I have spent most of my 20s at a desk, indoors, in front of a computer editing photos, and always looking out a window wanting to be out there instead of inside freezing my tush off in the air conditioning. Now I’m turning 30 this October. So, I decided to change careers and do something in Forestry. After job searching for a couple months, I learned I don’t qualify, for anything. Not even an internship. Six months minimal experience in animal control, law enforcement and/or backcountry conditions. Does Scout Camp count? No. What am I going to do now? I can’t afford to go to school. I couldn’t find any volunteer positions close to my home. I was at a loss for ideas.

A couple months passed and I started reading about the Appalachian Trail. I am not a person who delays jumping on board new adventures. But I did a little research first, thought hard about my options and then committed to hike the A.T. starting in March 2015. I started seeking sponsorships and adding up costs. When I realized this is going to cost a little more money that I anticipated (when I say little, I really mean several thousand dollars more), I started to rethink it.

Then I got a phone call from the Dept. of Agriculture wanting to interview me for a part time seasonal position in mosquito control. Basically I will drive a truck around the county spraying for mosquitos, taking population counts and learning about pesticides. I jumped on the opportunity and got hired. I will work my regular 40 hour weeks then work 4-5 hours every night for the county. My money problem was solved AND this experience plus my 5 month hiking trip should qualify me for a number of positions doing Forestry by the fall of 2015. Now I just needed the energy to work 14 hour days for the next 4 months while starting to train for my hike.

Needless to say I have not been doing any training on weekdays. On weekends I hike 6-10 miles, try to go canoeing or paddleboarding and stay pretty active. My garden has provided alot of my food which I have dehydrated for the trail. And I have just a couple weeks left working two jobs then I can commit to training more consistantly. Most of my gear has been bought, extended weekend hikes planned, training schedule in place (sort of),support system in place and I still have 191 days left. Even with all this planning I am sure I will get on the trail and throw everything out the window (over the cliff?), and wing it. That is typically my style.

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