The Five – No, Six – Questions This (Hopeful) Thru Hiker is Already Tired of Hearing
I have already heard these questions 100 times or more. It’s easy to forget that while I have been “all AT, all the time” for the past year or more, many of my friends know very little about the trail. So now that I am beginning to share my crazy plans for 2015, I thought I would put my answers in one place.
Are you taking a gun?
- I’ve never fired a gun in my life, so what are the chances I could successfully use it against a charging bear or venomous snake about to strike?
- And, REALLY, who needs all that weight?
What will you do if you see a bear?
- Hope it is not all that close to me,
- Hope I’m not between a mother and a cub
- Hopefully remember to try to myself make myself scary and bigger by weaving my poles etc.
Are you afraid of snakes?
- Hell, yes!
- But really, the critters I am most afraid of are ticks. Deer (and the ticks that love them) are plentiful along the trail. I really don’t want to get Lyme disease! Think about how much fun it is to check over your entire body – in a tent – for ticks small enough to fit in the head of a pin.
Have you read or seen Wild?
- Read, yes; seen, not yet.
- But if the film is true to the book, is more about the author’s journey through a very tough life prior to hiking the PCT, than it is about hiking.
Will you miss your family?
- Of course, but I’ve been an “adult” and taking care of others since I was about 12. I never really got to be in adolescent.
- My exceptional husband will man the Katwalk base camp, sending me love (and food!) every 3 – 4 days.
- I have three of the cutest granddaughters on the planet. I will miss them, my kids, my husband and our doggy and kitties like crazy.
Are you hiking alone?
- I am starting off with a couple of hiking buddies that I met on Trail Journals. Whether that works for us will depend on how well we match up as hikers as well as socially. I really look forward to camaraderie at the end of the day, but I like to hike at my own pace. One of my prospective buddies has lots and lots more experience than I do, so I truly look forward to learning from her and many others of the Class of 2015.
- Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 – 3000 hikers attempting a thru-hike of the AT every year. Given the movie releases in 2014 based on A Walk in the Woods and Wild that number may likely increase for the class of 2015. However to be conservative, let’s say 2000 hikers will begin their hikes northbound this year. Based on prior years experience they will likely start out between the last week or so of February through early April. So if we take 15 days in February 31 days in March and 14 days in April you get a total of 60 days. Those 2000 hikers divided by 60 days means about 33 hikers will start on a daily basis during the timeframe that I’m looking to begin. So logically there will be about hundred people within 10 miles of me.
- Let’s face it… I am nearly 60, so the words “set in my ways” may well apply. ..
For me, the trail is a journey, a test, and an amazing opportunity. While I will likely encounter bears and snakes and creepy characters along the way, I don’t see myself as being all alone in the woods. Send me love. Send me encouragement. And send some to the man who is supporting me every step of the way.
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I just found your blog on Appalachian Trials and find you inspirational. I too will be 60 soon and my big thing is to do a fifty mile in 24 hr. hike. That seems small in comparison to what you are doing.