T Minus 50 Days!

With only One Month, Two Weeks, and Six Days left….

The Countdown is Officially on!

And what better way (off trail) to start the new year than with another countdown? With the resolution of logging more miles in 2017 than I did in 2016, the new year certainly holds a lot of potential. In under two months, I’ll be starting a solo journey that begins in Alabama where I’ll thru hike the Pinhoti Trail. From there, I’ll take then Benton MacKaye Trail for about 90 miles to Mt Springer, Georgia. Finally, I’ll thru hike the Appalachian Trail across Fourteen States ending at Mt Katahdin, Maine.

This time last year, I had no idea that I would be able to say that. Even six months ago, I was questioning the feasibility of thru hiking the 2017 season. But here I am, proving all my doubts wrong.

 

Sure I’m a bit nervous, but it keeps me on my toes.

Nothing worth doing is easy, and plenty¬†of them are wrought with danger. Thru hiking is no different. Solo hiking for 2,600 miles certainly comes with it’s inherent dangers, but that’s all part of the fun. I expect that through the course of my long walk, I’ll be cold, wet, tired, sore, hungry, and lonely. That doesn’t bother me.

Call me crazy, but I’m still looking forward to these “bad times” on the trail. For the first time in my life, I’ll be given a real challenge. Both physically and mentally, I will be pushing myself to the limits and the mental fortitude I gain along the way will stick with me forever .

 

Nervous Ticks are a Good Thing

I’ve probably packed and unpacked my gear a dozen times with the dreadful feeling in the back of my head that I’m forgetting some essential piece of gear. I almost expect to arrive at Mt Flagg without my shoes or worse…my flags!

Though it is very unlikely that I will forget anything too important or irreplaceable, I am making it a point to review my gear every day until I make it to the trail. Besides, with my luck, even the most ridiculous predicament is possible.

 

 

Being a hiker is like being a drug addict …

When you aren’t hiking, getting back on the trail is all you can think about.

More and more, I find myself combing through trail guides, or binge watching thru-hiking vlogs in anticipation of what will soon be a reality for me as well. With everyday that passes, it becomes more difficult for me to find non-hiking related topics to talk about. At work, all of my regular customers get daily updates from me about my gear lists and the planning of my route when they stop in. My co-workers on the other hand got sick of my trail talk a long time ago.

 

Last minute preparations are in order.

The other day was my first real day off in almost 3 weeks, so I finally got a chance to start breaking in my new hiking shoes. Having never worn shoes with aftermarket insoles before, they felt really weird for the first half mile. But then I realized what it was…They Were More Comfortable! They made me feel like I had a fresh pair of knees and I didn’t want to take them off. Even after doing tens of thousands of miles of running in preparation for the Navy, I had never had the proper support in any of my footwear. The difference was shocking to say the least.

On my next day off, it will be time to set up my new tent outside and cut my tyvek footprint down to size. On the same day, it would be a good idea for me to also get a bit more practice hanging my food.

Unfortunately, my work schedule prevents me from going on a shakedown hike. Instead, I’ll just have to rely on my experience from previous hikes. But I’m not too concerned. They may sound like famous last words, but I’ll be fine; I’m confident in my abilities and my gear.

 

I look forward to continue writing in 2017, but for now, I will leave you by simply saying:

Happy New Year’s

May 2017 Be Better Than 2016

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