I am a person who has always ridden the turbulent highs and lows of life. The enviable complacency of mental smooth sailing is actually something I am now striving to achieve. Up and down, up and down. People have told me I’m a dingbat, an airhead, incredibly empathetic, a sweety-pie, manipulative bitch, a sensitive soul, and a spoiled brat. These I must admit are undisputable truths for I am all of those things, I wouldn’t say that I’m bipolar…Just a downright crazy lady with emotions that wants to go an adventure unlike any she has ever gone on.
The Appalachian Trail I hope will satisfy that craving. Either that, or fuel it into a fire. There really are a plethora of reasons why I have decided to do such a ridiculously stupid feat. When I look at the situation with my young eyes I think “How stupid, I need to work on paying off student loans and building my career.” When I look at this decision through the eyes of my parents (who are 100% supportive), I realize I need to do this while I am still young and relatively healthy. When looking at it in the grand scheme of things, 6 months out of ones life really is not that long of a span. Especially when it’s a six months spent in the memory-making business. A wealthy great-uncle in his nineties once told me: “Emily, never not do something because of money. Money comes and goes, but memories will last a life-time.” That is something I sincerely believe but have never really practiced. I was always the saver, the one who had supported and helped finance many other people’s adventures. But never really saw the opportunity to go on many of my own.
This has sort of led me to feel a resentfulness grow within me, and I don’t want to be a resentful person. I recently had a run-in with a resentful middle-aged lady, I was very much in the wrong, and I tried to apologize—but the way she handled the entire issue was astonishing. Upon further inspection, I realize she probably doesn’t approve of the fact I live with two gay men (one of whom is not Midwestern milk-toast white), that I adopted a maligned rescue pit-bull, that there is a Sidhartha statue sitting in the front yard, a list probably full of things I don’t even comprehend. After the realization that I have basically thrown the arbitrary things she holds dear to the wind, she desperately resents the fact I have done so. This confrontation in a way cemented my decision to backpack the AT, because she is the kind of lady that if I don’t do something quick to save myself I have the danger of becoming. Just another older lady resentful of others because they are doing the things I wish I had been bold enough to do myself.
Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail was definitely a difficult decision to make. There are many details that need to be worked out yet. The biggest of which is that I have an unspecified primary immune dysfunction and the treatment of which is the infusion of gamma globulin (a pool of antibodies collected from other people’s blood plasma) every three weeks. So I am going to have to make a very accurate itinerary for myself and stick to it relatively rigidly so I will be able to coordinate with Healthcare providers where I will be every three weeks (If anybody reading this has any input or tips on how to do this, I would appreciate your help!!!) so I can receive my therapy on a routine basis.
Other than that major hurdle, my planning is consisting of the typical dilemma between MYOG vs. purchasing gear. Training myself and getting my darlin’ dog (Sadie the rescue pittie) conditioned to her backpack. Recently I came to the realization that I have been more concerned about getting her ready and in shape than myself…something I really need to remedy. ☺
In addition to training, my free evenings of late have been spent concocting and dehydrating a variety of one-dish vegetarian meals, and reading anything and everything I come across that pertains to the AT, ultralight backpacking, and hiking with a dog.
With all of these considerations taking place, I am thoroughly looking forward to casting off Mark Twain’s proverbial bowlines and letting the wind blow me onto the adventures that I crave. And sincerely hope you will enjoy following my posts and giving me the necessary nudges (i.e. advice) in practicality that a dingbat like me needs.
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