Storm Before the Calm
This post was originally started almost two weeks ago, but then time moved at a life-altering pace and hasn’t slowed down yet. We are almost convinced that if we can get to this Friday, nothing can keep us from Katahdin. I’m sure my blister-laiden, thru-hiking compadres currently trudging through the Smokeys beg to differ, but that is my claim and I’m sticking to it– at least for the time being.
It is now 5am on the day before Springer and naturally I’m awake. While this may not seem surprising given the inevitable nerves, excitement and trepidation, the last two weeks have moved so fast that Eric and I have joked that the first night on the trail, we wouldn’t be surprised if we slept for two days straight! Taking a zero day on day 2 would almost certainly be a first.
So, what are some of the things that have raced through our minds in the days leading up to unquestionably the biggest adventure we’ve ever taken? In no particular order…..
Will we be warm enough?
Sawyer Mini vs. Sawyer Squeeze?
Is leaving our jobs such a good idea?
We’re packing up the whole apartment in 3 days, really?
Do I need to do anything to get paid out for my remaining vacation days?
I’m out of razors. Is it worth buying the smallest pack at CVS knowing I won’t be shaving until September at the earliest?
We’re going to need soooooo many more boxes to pack the apartment.
Can I eat granola bars for 6 month straight? NO!
When will our crocs arrive?
Do we need extra travel insurance?
Have we forwarded all of our mail?
Is everything going to fit into the moving truck?
Can we try to get into that new restaurant before we leave?
And now here we are, 24 hours away from kick-off with only an eight hour drive ahead of us. Everything has been packed, loaded into the truck, sent down to Mom and Dad’s, and unloaded. We spent a good part of yesterday figuring out where we would like mail drops for the next few weeks and what we might want (beef jerky and dried fruit, always).
At present, with absolutely everything, my pack is weighing 29 pounds and Eric’s is 33. Pretty darn good, but still a bit heavier than we’d like. Tonight we dump everything out and play “life or death” with every single item to try and shave weight (i.e., see ya hairbrush that I have fought relentlessly to keep). We’ve put considerable time and resources into finding the best and lightest weight gear without sacrificing quality, and we are hell bent on keeping our packs as light as possible. There will be enough challenges on the trail without them being compounded by discomfort and soreness because of that extra shirt we just had to have but have yet to wear. Our gear mentality is to start off with no more than the bare essentials and see what we miss, if we miss anything at all. The expectation is that we won’t miss what we don’t have. Except that hairbrush.
But, no matter, we have a strong support system throughout the country ready to jump in and fill in the gaps.
The trail has truly become a family affair: My sister is the ultimate point of contact, Eric’s parents as the storage unit/beef jerk and dried fruit suppliers/ mail drop gurus, my mom as the trail blogger from afar, and every person in between for support and comic relief.
In and of itself, hiking may not seem like the most complicated endeavor– you literally just walk. However, planning for the trail has been quite the logistics puzzle. In the craziness of wrapping up our everyday lives, our support system has been an indispensable part of getting us to this point– 24 hours away from kick-off– with most of our sanity intact.
We’ve been asked repeatedly over the last few weeks if we’re excited, nervous, ready, and sure we want to do this. To answer those questions….
Yes, so excited that we are officially crossing an item off of our bucket list, one that has seemed like a pipe dream for so long.
Nerves were not given a fair chance at creeping in until this morning, but yes, a little nervous. Nervous about the unknown. Nervous about the things that are out of our control–I’m looking at you, Mother Nature.
So ready. We are as ready as we’ll ever be. I’m sure most people leave Springer with a heightened sense of confidence that they will be among the 1 in 4 who finishes the trail, but we really do feel like we can do this. We’ve poured countless hours into thinking through gear, food, and mental preparation. So, if this isn’t being ready, I’m not sure what is.
Are we sure we want to do this? Well, let’s see. We’ve just permanently left our jobs, rendering us income-less for the foreseeable future. We gave up our cute apartment that we loved (they just opened Bon Chon one block away!). And, we’ve literally told every single person we’ve come into contact with that we are hiking the Appalachian Trail. So, yea, I think we’re sure!
Today is going to be a wild day as we inch ever so close to Springer Mountain. See you on the other side, in other words, we’ll post from the Trail in a few days!
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