Ready to go!
This last week has been a whirlwind! I’ve been to REI 3 times, packed my bag, cut down weight, packed it again, and repeated the process multiple times. My bag weighed 30 pounds without water. This was NOT the plan. The plan was 30 pounds with water. I got the weight down to 25 pounds without water by getting rid of almost every extra piece of clothing, replacing some gear with lighter weight options, taking out a jar of peanut butter, 2 pasta sides, 2 pop tart packs (those things are heavy!), and a can of chicken. I don’t have anything else I can take out of my pack. I’ve been pretty ruthless. Currently, I’m at a hotel in Gainesville, GA with my roommates (mom and dad). They’ll drive me to a parking lot about a mile from Springer tomorrow, we’ll hike there together, backtrack to the car, and then I’ll be on my way.
For clothing I have a 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair or shorts, 1 T-shirt, 1 long sleeve shirt, 2 socks, down jacket, rain jacket, my Valencia dress, 2 sports bras, 2 sleep underwear, and 2 hiking underwear (I’m not cutting down on underwear. Sorry I’m not sorry). It sounds like a lot, but basically I have a dress for laundry days, one cold weather outfit, one warm weather outfit and that’s it. I’m lying. I also have a pair of pajama shorts. I replaced my GravityWorks water filter system with a Sawyer Squeeze. I tried it in the sink, which is similar to a water source in nature. I also got a tiny Swiss Army Knife to replace a heavier multi-tool I had. It’s cutie.
When I hiked the approach trail a few weeks ago, I saw all of the thru-hikers with their full packs starting their journey and wished I was one of them. Tomorrow that will be me! On this trip I’m mostly looking forward to doing me. You do you, Imma do me. I’m ready to stop living my life according to my calendar and my alarm clock. I get really stressed out worrying that I’ll sleep through my alarm and somebody’s child will be waiting at school for me to pick them up. I worry I’ll lose someone’s house key, or that I’ll forget completely about a babysitting job. Also, I’m always late (future employer, don’t read this. I’m working on it. I won’t be late to work. I promise). Being stuck in traffic when you’re late is stressful! “Why don’t you just leave earlier?” Because if I have extra time, I’ll use it (future employer, I won’t use it. I’ll arrive early). That stress will be gone in the woods. I haven’t planned any deadlines for this trip. I’ll get where I’m going when I get there.
Before I go, I owe some thank yous. First and foremost, thank you to The Fam for taking me out for a pre-trail magic dinner, being so supportive, and giving me the idea to do this in the first place! The Fam got their nickname when I came bouncing into the kitchen where my parents and sister were chatting. My sister and my dad’s backs were turned to me, and I put my hands on their shoulders and yelled, “The Fam is here!” It wasn’t my family. It was Shawn and Christa before I knew them very well. I turned bright red. They’ve been The Fam ever since. Thank you Sissy and The Spence for being gear gurus and helping me especially in the beginning stages when I still referred to Katahdin as Cat-uh-Dean because I didn’t know any better. Thank you NABE for going on hikes with me, giggling while I put my sleeping bag into the stuff sack because you never thought it would get that small, and never telling me to shut up when I was talking too much about my trip. Lylas. We’ll always be neighbors. Thank you to everyone who hired me to babysit or pet sit over the past few months. I surpassed my goal for how much I was hoping to save for this trip and that has taken a HUGE weight off of my shoulders. You could have called someone else, but you didn’t, and I am so grateful for that. Last but not least, I’d like to thank my roommates for being so supportive, letting me live rent free, and just being there for me. I love ya.
Just for kicks because today was my last day of work… I’ve been keeping a list of some things that I thought were funny over the last few months. I’m looking forward to not working but I will definitely miss the sweet, funny things kids say. I think it’s cute when they fall in the toilet because they are so tiny, put their pants on backwards, sneak frosted flakes into my jacket pocket (I didn’t notice until I got in the car to go home), or when they accidentally drop food on the floor and look up guiltily at me to make sure I didn’t see only to find out that I’m staring right at them. All of the following were said in all seriousness. You know how it is…it’s only funny when kids aren’t trying to be funny.
“Amy…if you feel something in yahs (your) eye, it’s poop. Because it’s yahs (your) poop eye.” Oh…
“Your eye shoots out poop in the middle of the night.”
“Do you want me to draw you the hiccups?”
“I got these whistles at school.” (puts unpackaged whistles in mouth and starts blowing on them)
Me: “Those aren’t whistles. Don’t put those in your mouth. No, stop. Don’t put them in your bag either.”
“Okay (shrugs), we put them somewhere else.”
“Miss Amy, do you get skid marks in your underwear?” No. Just no.
“You’re funnier than Jesus.”
Plastic hamburger falls out of sock. Immediately glances up at me. She squints her eyes and in a hushed tone says “Don’t look at this,” before shoving it back into her sock. She had been secretly walking around a with a plastic hamburger patty in her sock all day.
“Group kiss!” Little girl yells between me and her mom.
“I have to put your fingers in your mouth.” What? Why?
Me: “Let’s color.”
4 year old girl: “My life is not about that.”
“Nemo is dead. His whole family is dead.” I overheard a 5 year old doing some really depressing pretend reading. That never happened…
I did one overnight babysitting job a couple of weeks ago. I was asleep at 2:00 in the morning and was awoken by the presence of another human being standing in the dark about a foot away from the bed staring down at me. She jumps back and says “Ah! You scared me.” I scared you!? You’re standing by my bed watching me sleep like someone out of a horror movie.
I feel something weird on the back of my shirt.
Me: “What are you doing?”
3 year old girl: “I’m trying to lick you but your hair is in the way.”
“Why are you all maked up (wearing makeup) today? Let me see.”
I turn around so she can see my face.
“Your sister has a boyfriend?”
“You don’t have one?”
“You should go get one.”
Goodnight friends! I’ll see you in the woods.
WAIT…one more thing. A wonderful person mentioned an App called bloglovin that you can download on your phone or smart-device. This App will allow you to follow my Appalachian Trials blog specifically (or Appalachian Trails, or any other specific bloggers), so that you can receive notifications when I post. That way you don’t have to check sporadically. I don’t know too much about it, but I can try to answer questions if you can’t figure it out.
Goodbye Mini. I’ll miss you.
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