Just Ninety More Days, and Still So Many Questions
Just 90 more days. Ninety days to make sure my gear is what I want. Ninety days to make sure my food is all in order. Ninety days to make sure we make it to the trail. Ninety days. I’m giddy with anticipation and scared I haven’t prepared enough. I’m confident my gear is dialed in, but then I think I am missing something.
Any hiker, whether a section-hiker or a thru-hiker, has been exactly where I am. I am sitting at my desk and thinking – 90 more days and I have 75 essays to grade this week. I have 25 rough drafts to go over and yet… my feet will soon be on the AT and not standing in front of students teaching freshman composition. Ninety days.
Doubts and Questions
I set my tent up in the family room the other day, climbed in and blew up my air mattress. I just made a change to a long and wide pad from a regular. I didn’t even know if it would fit. But, thankfully, it did. I didn’t know if I would be able to still put my backpack at my feet like I wanted, and I could. I didn’t know if I would be able to get the sheets on the air mattress and then the end of the quilt on the end of the mattress, but it also thankfully worked out. So, no doubt on the tent, the sleeping system and the air mattress. The pack is also good to go – but do I leave the brain on or take it off? Do I want to save myself those few precious ounces or do I want the convenience of the brain on the pack? I don’t know. I’m already carrying a Helinox chair to rest my back when I’m in a shelter, or eating lunch, or whenever I want to sit – is it too much? Should I just sit on a log? I’ve done that in the past and I’ve survived, but with the osteoarthritis in my lower back, will I experience less pain having the chair? I don’t know. I read Facebook pages of people going ultralight and using a sleeping bag liner, taking the clothes on their back and nothing else except maybe one pair of socks and underwear. I have an extra shirt, shorts, underwear, base layer and two pairs of socks. It it too much?
Confidence and Clarity
I have lost 105 pounds in the last year, so unless my pack, with everything in it, weighs 105 pounds, I am good to go and my body will still have less to carry. I am capable of hiking the schedule I have set out for us because I have been working out, maybe not as often as I should, but we’re starting in Harpers Ferry, W.V., and I will get my trail legs and the trail will be my trainer. I have done the best I can with my dietary needs – as complicated as they can be – and I can get into towns and make up what I lack.
I am ready for the dreary, monotonous days when it rains and the sun doesn’t shine. Likewise, I cannot wait for those glorious, sunny days where I can stand on top of a mountain, like Avery, or Whitecap, or walk across Franconia Ridge and weep at the beauty I see. I got this… in just 90 days.
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