I took Friday off from work. Nathan and I had plans to go to a friends wedding in Cape Hatteras, though unfortunately, it was canceled do to hurricane Joaquin. The two eloped and are currently sailing on a ‘fixer-upper’ sail boat up and down the east cost and I could not be more envious of their adventure.
Nathan revoked his personal day and decided to go to work, that was fine with me because I recently purchased a book called “Becoming Odessa” by Jennifer Pharr Davis and I wanted to read it. This book sparked my interest a few days prior after reading an article published by National Geographic on the “World’s Best Hikes: 20 Hikers’ Dream Trails.” Jennifer was referenced in the article for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 47 days; a 2,168.1 mile feat that typically is completed by 10% of those who start, takes as long as 5-6 months, and stretches from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin Mountain, Maine.
That evening I began researching Jennifer more and more. Found out she lives in Asheville, NC (one of my favorite places on the Earth), she first hiked the trail “solo” at the age of 21 (making her BA), and is 6 feet tall (being 6’2 myself, I can honestly state that most tall girls feel somewhat connected to other tall girls.) Needless to say, I went to Barnes and Noble that night and bought her book.
I’m not the quickest reader, but I’m very competitive with myself…so when I picked up that book at 8am on Friday morning, I did not put it down until it was completed at 8pm (part of me told myself that “if Jen could finish the AT, I could finish this book!). I loved every page. I felt like I had experienced her journey first hand. I wrote notes in the margins and underlined whole passages- I wrote on post-its things I didn’t know why I was writing down like, “Use bleach drops for water purification”, “Don’t get off trail in Duncannon, PA…Sketchy” , “Trail Magic”, “Moon the cog on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire”… it was like I was unintentionally/intentionally writing notes for my future self….That got the mind turning. Why was I doing that?
After talking to Nathan for most of the night about the book and the trail I convinced myself in and out of the idea that I could ever possibly do the AT at least 20 times. He was and still is so patient in hearing my pros and cons, my gains and fears. I would find myself quiet for a minute, then laughing and shaking my head saying, “never mind, don’t listen to a word I’m saying…I’m just high off of a good book..”
I was expecting those feelings to dissipate that weekend–reality would find it’s way back into my minds eye and I would realize how impulsive the thought was. But it didn’t. Sunday evening, I found myself back online and signing myself up for the same preparation/survival class that Jennifer Pharr Davis attended at the Appalachian Trail Institute instructed by the “AT legend” Warren Doyle (currently holding the record of completely the trail most amount of times= 14). The class was being offered near Damascus, VA during the 1st week of November for $300. I told myself, as a safe guard, the best thing that can happen is that I fall even more in love with the idea of hiking the AT and would then have the necessary knowledge to succeed or worst case scenario, I decide I don’t hike the AT, but still gain useful knowledge, hike a beautiful part of Virginia I have yet to hike, and potentially meet some neat people– either way, a win!
I went to bed that night feeling a little anxious, but equally excited about the clear and exciting direction I was going.
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