Taking a Moment To Celebrate – On to Part 3

I have been spending the past few blogs, and the past few months, focusing on several different things; wrapping up my education, saving up funds for the AT, collecting gear, dehydrating my food, talking to tons of people regarding their preparation and feedback regarding preparing for the trail, preparing our mail stops, preparing, preparing, preparing . . .

Whew!  Now let’s take a moment to just breath. . . and Celebrate!

Why celebrate you may ask?


Congratulations are Due


Nazareth College DPT graduation 2016

After many years, and many thousands of dollars, 53 of my classmates and I have officially graduated with our Doctor of Physical Therapy degree!  Congratulations to my fellow classmates of 2016!  It’s been a long and hard road, but we’ve all made it (some of us stumbled all the way until we were hooded)!  So now’s a good time to insert a brief funny story.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that wearing a dress, carrying a purse (that’s right, I said the dreaded word and admitted I own one), and wearing heels are as frequent an occurrence for me as seeing Halley’s comet pass over the earth.  But for an event of this magnitude, I dressed accordingly.  Everything was great, until just before I was called up on stage to be hooded.  All I had to do, was walk across that stage, smile, give a few hugs, and sit back down in my seat.  No problem right?  I’m going to be walking 2,000 miles soon, so what’s a few feet?

As I shimmied around in my seat, I crossed one leg over the other and FLOP!  The sole of my right shoe fell off, leaving just my heel attached!  GREAT!  This makes walking across stage a little more challenging.  I did some quick thinking, questioned some of my classmates if they had any duct tape, and made the decision;

Naz Graduation 2016

Explaining why I was dragging my foot across stage to one of my excellent professors. She had a good laugh!

I was getting across that stage regardless.  The only question was – barefoot, or sliding that right foot across the stage.  I went for the slide.

So for those of you who were wondering when I suddenly developed a drop-foot, now you know the truth.  I simply wanted to provide one last opportunity for you to all analyze my gait and have a good laugh all at the same time.  I was able to overcome this challenge and be creative, while supplying some entertainment for those around me.  Good thing I have a good sense of humor!

So again, I say CONGRATULATIONS!  While you may stumble along in your future endeavors, try to find the light side of things and have a little fun at the same time.  The friendships we have made along the way will endure and we will be there for each other.  We have helped pull each other through the tough times, studied in groups, made excellent study guides for each other with each other, practiced numerous tests/measures/hands on techniques, etc with each other, morally supported each other at unnamed pubs/homes after difficult/uncertain exams, the list goes on!  We really could not have done it without each other and I could not be more thankful for all of my classmates and the supportive atmosphere we lived in for the past three years.

So thank you all for laughing along with me, and making the past three years great.  And don’t you worry, I’ve learned my lesson, the dress and heels are gone again for another 75-76 years until Jamie’s comet returns for all to watch the glorious show once more.


Let the Countdown Begin

Now that we’ve all graduated, we have a MASSIVE countdown to our license exam.  So we’ve had our moment of breath, now its time to bear down and study for this daunting exam.  Don’t worry.  We got each other through three years of graduate school, we’ll get each other through this last exam as well!

But what else is this a count down for?

Let the countdown begin!

Let the countdown begin!

That’s right, I have less than 100 days to complete my preparation for the AT!  WOW! That’s a short time!


What is left to do?

Ok, back to business.  We’ve celebrated, we’ve given our thanks, we recognized the countdown.  Moving forward, what is left to do?

Jess and I have been going on shakedown hikes every weekend (for the most part) for the past 3-4 weeks.  I have discovered the pack for me, I have eliminated some gear, and I am still in the process of losing more weight in the pack.  The pack currently weighs in around 36 pounds, and I’m hoping to get it down further.

Speaking of my pack, let’s get down to the gear discussion!


My Gear ListGear

People often ask me what I need to bring with me for an excursion of this length.  Will I bring a hammock, or a tent?  Boots or Trail Runners?  What kind of weather do I need to prepare for?  All of these questions will be answered below.

Disclaimer – This is just a suggested list of equipment.  What works for one hiker, may not work for another.  To borrow words from Zach Davis;

“Hike your own hike!”

To date, this is what I am planning on carrying on my 6 month journey.  I am still hammering out some equipment/clothing, but I am close to having everything I need.


  • Weanas 2-3 person 4 season tent


  • Black Diamond Mercury 55

Sleep System

  • Thermarest Sleeping Pad
  • Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus Compact Length Mummy Liner
  • EMS Women’s Velocity 35 sleeping bag

Foot wear

  • Keen Women’s Targhee II WP Hiking Shoe
  • Keen Newport H2 Sandals
  • Crocs Offroad sport clog women’s
  • Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System

Base Layer

  • EMS X-static Sock Liners
  • Zoot Women’s Performance Tri 8” shorts
  • Icebreaker Women’s Everyday Cami
  • Zobha Twist Back Sports Bra
  • Spree Intimate underwear
  • Under Armour Heatgear Compression Legging – Women’s

Mid Layer

  • Darn Tough Merino Wool Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Sock
  • SmartWool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Sock
  • West Surfing Board Shirt
  • EMS Techwick Women’s Essence Short-Sleeve Top
  • EMS Women’s camp cargo pants

Insulating Layer

  • SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock
  • EMS Feather Pack 800 Downtek Jacket


  • EMS Women’s Powerstretch Bootleg pants
  • EMS Techwick Women’s Essence Long-Sleeve Top

Rain Gear

  • Latok Alpine Women’s Pant
  • Outdoor Research Horizon Jacket
  • Gregory Pro Raincover – Medium


  • Outdoor Research Arete Gloves – Women’s


  • Bandana
  • Polar Buff Reversible

Kitchen ware

  • Sea to Summit X-Mug Collapsible Mug
  • Light My Fire Spork
  • GSI Outdoors Halulite Minimalist Cookset
  • Outdoor RX Biodegradable Camp Soap

Bear Bag

  • Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack 20 Liter

Water filtration

  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter Plus

First Aid Kit

  • Band aides
  • Gauze
  • Triangular bandages
  • Advil
  • Cold pack
  • Gloves
  • Moleskin
  • Scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Seam fixing kit
  • Snake bit kit
  • Duct Tape
  • Sewing Kit
  • Ace wrap
  • Tape
  • Antibiotics
  • Burn Gel
  • Insect Repellant (DEET)
  • Anithistamine


  • Trowel and case


  • Leki Corklite Trekking Poles
  • Black Diamond Positron Screwgate Carabiner
  • Waves Micro Towel
  • UST Waterproof Field Notebook
  • Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Recharging Kit

Again, this is just what I am planning on bringing with me and is not meant to be a list of required gear.  Play around with different kinds of equipment and use what works for you.  Listen to advise, take into account what comes highly recommended, but make your own decisions and use what is best for you.  The rule of thumb is, if you haven’t used the item in a few days, send it home, you don’t need it.  That being said, pack responsibly, by some better equipment, and above all have fun out there!

Until next time!


Frankie and I on trail in the ADK.

Happy Hiking!

If you are interested in assisting in my dream, click here to help!



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