Ready to Launch

My wife organized a retirement/AT launch party and invited friends, relatives, and work colleagues. I was truly surprised, and it was great to see everyone before I begin this adventure. I am going to miss my wife while hiking, but I know that I have her full support, and that knowledge will help move me down the trail. We are driving down to Harper’s Ferry tomorrow so that I can begin my thru hike. I’ve got everything packed, checked my base weight (26 lbs, not bad), and I feel about as ready as I’m going to feel.

Tick Prevention

 I’ve made an effort at tick prevention, more than in previous hikes.  My colleague, Pete Murdoch, has had chronic Lyme disease experience through his son Win, who made a documentary film about his journey through the disease and treatment. His warnings to me combined with predictions of a banner year for ticks, got my attention. I purchased some Permethrin spray and treated my clothes, tent floor, and the outside of my sleeping bag. I have also vowed to perform daily tick checks of myself, even asking fellow hikers to check my back if willing. I asked my doctor if he would consider prescribing doxycycline that I could take as a prophylactic if I have a bite and show any disease signs, but the answer was no. All I can do is make a serious effort to avoid tick borne diseases.

Early Hopes for the Trail Experience

As I ponder this hike, I guess my principal thought and hope is that I can find the right balance between the drive it takes to complete a thru hike and enjoying the adventure. I realize that it will require persistence to get through the bad days with rain, wind, lightening, etc. And I realize that there is risk of acute and chronic injury that may require a change of plans. But I really want to embrace the sights, sounds, and smells of nature and not let my determination take me out of being present in the natural world, which is one of my principal goals for the trail. My next post will be from my hike, and I am looking forward to all that comes my way, the highs and lows. 

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