The Final Countdown Before Flying to America

In five weeks’ time we fly. Five weeks until Sian and I hand over our one-way tickets and board a plane to America to start the Appalachian Trail. It’s all starting to get very, very real.

At some point over the next six months we’ll be booking our flight home and my goodness I hope it’s from an airport in Maine and not in Georgia, or Virginia, or anywhere else that isn’t the finish.

We’ve been reading the posts from the others blogging for The Trek, and firstly, we can’t wait to meet them on the trail. Secondly, the recurring theme of suddenly questioning, “Why are we doing this?” and “Can we really get there?” is one I can really sympathize with now that our long-term plans are becoming short-term realities.

I know family, friends, and colleagues are planning to use this blog to keep up-to-date with how we’re getting on, so while the hikers reading will know this all too well, for those who don’t: The Appalachian Trail is 2,190 miles, winds through 14 U.S. states from Georgia to Maine, over 400 named peaks, and in terms of elevation gain and loss is apparently the same as going over Everest 16 times. A walk in the woods it is not.

Why Are We Doing This?

Well, it’s the adventure of a lifetime, isn’t it? It’s five to six months of freedom, when all we have to worry about is finding somewhere to put the tent up at night and working out our next resupply point. No bills, no work, absolutely minimal adulting required. OK, there might be a wee bit more to worry about than that.

Even greater than that, though, there’s the challenge. We’re planning on averaging around 100 miles a week, and clearly doing that for six months, in all winds and weathers, and over mountainous terrain, will take its toll physically, but it will be mental strength that will get us to the finish more than physical robustness. This is way outside our comfort zone and it’s going to push us. As Sian’s Dad keeps saying, we’ll “find where our edges are” and how we respond when we just want to give up and go home. I can’t wait.

I’m convinced it’s going to be a hugely positive experience for us, with all the difficult moments countered by all the fantastic ones. Roll on March 5 and the first steps in our adventure.

Dave

Credit for featured photo of AT sign: Pen-Dexter (Jared Townley)

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