That Chapter is Written, Though My Book is Not Yet Finished

Line of Departure-16 Days

I am officially 16 days away from my AT thru hike start date (16 February 23). Today is a special day for another reason as well. Today is my last official day as an active duty Soldier for the U.S. Army. At 0001 or 12:01am this evening, I am no longer employed. Though for the past 90+ days I haven’t really felt employed either since I’ve been on terminal leave and prepping for this next adventure. My last post was about 45 days ago so lets have a quick recap to get up to speed.

Prepping, prepping, and more prepping

In addition to training with hiking, cycling,  and a whole ton of skiing (cover photo summit of Peak 6 at Breckenridge Resort) I have revamped my gear and lightened my pack load. I sent all my trail clothes off to Insect Shield and had them treated. The treatment lasts up to 70x washes and the whole process took less than 3 weeks. I still need to treat my pack, shoes, treking pole straps, and tent.

I am flying from Colorado back to North Carolina on Friday and will begin prepping my bounce boxes for the first 45 days. After that, I most likely will use town resupply vs boxes for the whole trail. My start point is still the approach trail at Amicalola Falls, GA. I have read through the Farmers Almanac and looked at predicted weather patterns. I am sure someone is going to leave a comment that reading those are useless. Thanks for the advice and hike your hike!

Most Common Responses Heard and Reasoning

I have met quite a few people in the last 90 days living in Colorado. When I have told people what I am about to endeavor on I get 3 very common responses:

  1. Wow! That’s badass! I wish I could do that, but “insert why here“.
  2. Um…are you crazy!
  3. That’s crazy! How long is it? (Though I do appreciate calling the endeavor crazy vice asking if I am crazy)

After those responses and a quick back and forth exchange I precede to tell them I served in the Army for 20+yrs and wanted to take a “gap year”. I wanted a decompression period, the ability to reflect, and determine what I’m going to do with the next chapters in my life. I’ve already had a career and retired from it. That chapter is written, though my book is not yet finished.

Never Forget Your Gear Is Built By the Lowest Bidder

I’ve stated this fact in a previous post. While in the military the majority of your equipment (to include weapons) is built or supplied by the lowest bidder. This is the first time I’m using gear which does not fall into that category. After several shake down hikes, weighing of items, and getting over “hiker hoarded syndrome”, the confidence in my gear is high. Though no plan survives contact and I know stuff will break, get lost, or just not work. But as Patrick Swayze said in Road House “Expect the unexpected”.

My Altra Timps sadly did not make it from training to trail. I was hoping to get at least another 250mi out of them on trail. The mesh lining on the right shoe started to fray and is basically gone at this point (common issue from what I researched). I decided to go with the new Altra Lone Peak 7’s for the first 400-500mi (condition dependent of course). Different at first than the Timps, but I’ve grown to love them and have about 100mi on them at this point.

Giving Back While Vo-cationing

I am proud to also announce that I am fundraising while on the trail for the Greg Hill Foundation! This foundation is based out of Boston, MA and has helped to provide relief to emergency services personnel, general citizens, and others in times of need after catastrophic life events. The foundation did amazing work after the Boston Marathon bombings and continues to provide exceptional help to those across the New England area. It is 100% non-profit and I of course do not receive any proceeds. The below link is to my fundraiser page and has more info about the foundation if anyone would like to know.

Every donation goes a long way!

I really wanted to get at least one 14er in before I left for the trail, however the snow cover is just too much this winter. So here are a couple of photos from the past two months of hiking and skiing.  First photo (from left to right) is from Crags Trail hike. Distance of about 8mi with a starting elevation of 9900ft up to 11k ft. It was 9 degrees when we started, little chilly. Next photo is after taking the snowcat at Keystone Resort up to the bowl area. That’s all ice on my beard, but I wasn’t very cold surprisingly. Lastly is the view looking back up at the Peak 6 bowl at Breckenridge. I’ve been told multiple times I need to purchase a Go-Pro, but maybe next year. Thanks for following along and check out my Insta for more hiking/skiing content!

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Comments 2

  • lost and found : Feb 1st

    I know you are looking forward to getting your trail name, but just remember, if someone tags you “Radar”, you don’t have to accept it!

    • Stephen : Feb 1st

      Lol I’m assuming there is a negative connotation with that name?


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