Preparing to Launch: Crazy Mixed Emotions

The Mood

I’ll be starting my AT flip flop thru hike two weeks from today in Harper’s Ferry, WV. While I am excited to begin this adventure, something I’ve dreamed about since I was a young pre-teen, there is also something gnawing at me, a kind of trepidation. I know there will be many high highs: spectacular views, friendly hiker faces, wildlife, the joy of accomplishment, and so much more. But I think that I’ve read too many AT books and blogs, so the hurdles out there that may or may not be awaiting me come to mind. Things like norovirus, injuries, lightening, bear encounters, ticks, add infinitum. But these are just risks that can be managed, and hopefully mitigated (so I tell myself). After all, we take risks every day, just driving to the supermarket, but take these mostly for granted. So, I take a calming breath, and focus on the adventure ahead.


I feel well prepared. I’ve replaced some of my old hiking gear with newer lighter weight stuff like a tent, sleeping pad, stove, and rain suit. I’m sticking with a few tried and true pieces of equipment like my EMS pack and down sleeping bag. I’ve purchased some freeze-dried meals and other assorted light weight foods (including my beloved Tang). Sent out the first couple of mail pick-ups. Most importantly, I have been working hard on physical preparation, lots of leg and core strengthening exercises, and simulated hill climbing. So, I guess I’m ready. My wife and two friends will see me off at the Potomac River bridge, and I’ll be on my way. Hope to see some of you reading this along the way as we’ve discussed.

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Comments 2

  • Daniel J Hippe : Apr 12th

    Have a great adventure! Say hey to any Ridgerunners you meet.

  • Robin Robinson : Apr 12th

    Wow, Doug! What an amazing life event this will be for you! I can’t wait to follow along, and I’ll keep you in my thoughts for a safe journey!


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