The Day After and Two Days Before

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish; Words Fell

This one requires two introductions! Thank you to Douglas Adams – So Long and Thank You for All the Fish is the aptly titled fourth book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy trilogy. For context, ‘so long and thank you for all the fish’ is reportedly what the dolphins said as they were fleeing planet earth just prior to its imminent destruction. And ‘Words Fell’ is simply a beautiful song by Lucinda Williams about the power of words and how at times even words cannot fully convey one’s thoughts and emotions. 

Yesterday I woke up as an elementary school principal. Today I woke up as a retired person In two days I will wake up as an aspiring AT thru-hiker. (I admit, there is some whiplash in both writing and living those sentences!) Today I have one phone, 1 set of keys, 1 laptop, and no office. I left my work phone, keys, and laptop in my now empty and clean office – more on the clean part later. And, this morning I put on my backpack and went out for an early morning hike to start the day and do some processing of it all which is where this post came from. 

As I have said many times to my friends, family, and colleagues, your support, encouragement, and love is what got me to this point and helped me preserve these last several months. So, one more time, thank you to everyone and a particularly BIG shout out to my colleagues at CIPS! You are an awesome team and you will be missed and present with me on this journey! Your send-off was tremendous and I am a better person for having worked alongside you these last two years! I shared a goodbye clip from Ted Lasso with my work team this week, here is the not-safe-for-work version.  

Last-Minute Updates Before the Trail

Due to the amazing generosity of friends and colleagues with some very timely REI gift cards, I decided to make a last-minute switch up in my sleep system. I had planned to use an Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20-degree quilt. It weighs 24 ounces and I planned to use this throughout the trip. The weather has been warming up and the gift cards were there, so, I did some researching. My base-weight, at least until the weather gets cold, will now be 12 ounces lighter as I purchased a Therma Rest Vesper 45-degree quilt weighing in at the wonderfully light weight of 12 ounces! 

A previous post focused on the many things I read about the AT and thru-hiking to prepare and pass the time while waiting to start the trail. I’d like to give a shout-out to one book in particular and recommend if you would like to know more about the Appalachian Trail, The Appalachian Trail, A Biography by Philip D’Anieri. I read it a couple of months back and started rereading it last week – though I don’t think I’ll get to finish it before I start. The book is a great story of the Appalachian Trail as an entity, how it came to be, and how it is part of the American story. A major premise of the book is that the AT is representative of the societal tension and clash between industrialization, progress, and humanity. The book certainly has given me some new and different things to think about. 

The next two days will be filled with lots of last-minute packing, chores, tasks, and other things to get me ready to say goodbye to home and hello to the trail. One of them is cleaning the house – yes, I do most of the cleaning at home! And this is after cleaning out my office this past week. Which got me to thinking of a powerful mantra I learned many years ago in Boy Scouts and have always tried to live by: ‘‘leave your campsite better than you found it.’ I leave for the trail knowing that my home and school are better than I found them and I hope to do the same for the AT!! 

Next post from the trail……………….

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Comments 5

  • thetentman : Jun 15th

    Congrats on retiring and good luck with the hike.

    “No Horses, No Parents, No Bedtime” by Tucker Atwood. Great AT hike book except it is too short.

    “Hiking My Own Hike” by Jon Fuller

    Check them out on Amazon.


  • Linda in NY : Jun 15th

    This blog entry is an EPIC transition between prep and the real deal. You’re setting a high bar, with Douglas Adams and The Sound of Music!

    I like your writing, and can’t wait to see the adventure unfold.

  • Linda in NY : Jun 15th

    This blog entry is an EPIC transition between prep and the real deal. Douglas Adams and The Sound of Music? You’re setting a high bar…

    I like your writing, and can’t wait to watch the adventure unfold.

  • Sarah Jones : Jun 16th

    The not work friendly version of the Ted Lasso goodbye was even better!!! I won’t be returning to CIPS next year either and I’ve been feeling pretty bad about that …. But you’re right … we have left it better than we found it. It’s time for a new journey … though yours is way cooler than mine lol Enjoy the trail!!!!

  • Paul F. Stregevsky : Jul 9th

    I’m a month late reading your blog but I’m enjoying every post as if it were freshly posted. It’s not for me; I’m the last of the great indoorsman. But I enjoy experiencing the great outdoors vicariously, through you and your older son.


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