Getting Ready and Finding Heroes

Journal entries from June of 2014

June 23, 2014

Brandy at one of her school jobs where she listens to kids read.

Our kids confirmed today that they would be willing to take care of Brandy while we are gone on our big hike. That takes care of our biggest obstacle–what to do with the dogs.

The other big  ‘obstacle’ will be getting my body ready. Even though I wasn’t thinking of the trail last November, I had decided that I needed to take off the 15 or 20 pounds that had accumulated over the course of our 26 year marriage. As of today, I have taken off 14 pounds.  I’ve also increased my weekly walking mileage. Last week, I racked up 30 miles –which is a lot more than I had been doing. And, I’ve added push ups, sit ups and other home exercises into my routine–I mostly want to have a stronger back so that it doesn’t aggravate me too much while hiking. I’ve gotten books out of the library to help me figure out what exercises would be best for increasing my back strength because I not only want to complete this trail, I want to do it as comfortably as possible.

Ha! I just thought of this–if I lose 20 pounds, and my pack only weighs 20 pounds, my legs and back won’t even know the difference!

June 26, 2014

From the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website:

Women make up about 25% of the total hike completions reported.

Hikers of a wide range of ages have completed the A.T. While more than half of all thru-hikers are in their 20s, many people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s have thru-hiked the A.T. The number of thru-hikers in their 60s is fewer than 500, and only about 25 people age 70 and above have completed thru-hikes. One person was 81 when he completed his 5th hike of the entire A.T. Teens comprise about four percent of thru-hikers; a very small number of children have completed the A.T. with their parents.

I guess we’ll be in a somewhat ‘elite’ group of geezers.

Grandma Gatewood was my age (67) when she first hiked the AT in 1955.

Grandma Gatewood was my age (67) when she first hiked the AT in 1955.

Emma Gatewood, better known as “Grandma Gatewood,” mother of 11 children and grandmother of 23, was 67 when she first hiked the Trail in 1955. In 1957, she completed her second thru-hike at age 69. In 1964, she became the first person to complete the A.T. three times when she finished a section-hike. She was famous for wearing only “Keds” tennis shoes and carrying a small knapsack.   (My hero!)

July 4, 2014

I sent this picture and this message out in an email today to friends and family:

This little girl with a trail name of Cartwheel, is hiking the AT with her family.




This little 8 year old girl is currently hiking the entire Appalachian Trail (all 2,185  miles of it) with her mom, dad, brother and family dog. I am so impressed! Mel and I are following their story online (A Family Adventure of the 2,185 mile hike from Georgia to Maine – 2014). I just love this picture and what it represents. Her trail name is Cartwheel.  I would have loved to have done this as a child!

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