The Waiting Is the Hardest Part (Other than Actually Hiking)
Its 7 on Sunday morning. I’ve started preparing Sunday dinner. This week, by request, is pasta and meatballs. The bananas on the counter are begging to be made into bread so that will come next. Ray stands at the counter next to me with his AWOL guide, notepad and Guthook guides app open on his phone.
It’s our Sunday morning routine. Has been for many years and will continue to be… well, for two more weeks.
This is going to be the most scattered post I’ve ever written. But that seems to match my mind right now. We’re just over two weeks away from our trip to Georgia, where Ray will begin his AT thru-hike attempt. Not only is his hiking gear packed (and repacked) and ready but my carry-on for the trip to Georgia is lying on the bedroom floor… like I need two weeks to pack for two nights. It’s hard to describe these pre-hike thoughts and feelings. I’m anxious. I alternate between sheer excitement and utter panic – and I’m not the one hiking. I find my mind wandering often. I frequently picture us at the arch that stands at the beginning of the approach trail in Amicalola Falls and wonder what that moment is going to feel like. The moment is so close; I can nearly feel the emotions.
Ray is ready. So ready. Total ants in his pants, ready to start this walk, let’s go right now, time to get this dream going ready. This break between his retirement date and start of the trail has been good. He has had time to relax, decompress, and has been getting physically ready for the trail. But it’s time to get going. He yearns for those first steps and for it to be his turn. The waiting is the hardest part – well, other than walking the 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine – the waiting is the hardest part.
I’ve tried to prepare myself for this time on my own. I’ve been playing the “what if” game. What if Ray wasn’t here, what would I do? I played that game last week when the warning light on my car indicated low tire pressure. I tried to solve this issue on my own. Probably would have been more successful if I believed the tire gauge when it read ten psi instead of believing it, too, was broken. Ray took the tire off and brought it in for repair. Adaptability will be the key to my success – just call the auto club. After years of paying the membership fee, they may be put to work this year.
My biggest level of anxiety comes from the idea of driving and operating our motor home on my own. Molly is our 23-foot Roadtrek (Class B van-style). We had loads of fun in her last summer going as far south to North Carolina, north to Maine, and many weekends at the beach. It was an amazing summer of fun and adventure. This summer I plan to meet up with Ray along the trail as well as do some trips to the beach on my own. This coming week we’re going to get her out of storage and Ray will do some “how-to” videos for me. More trail prep, just a different kind. Warning: If you see me at a pump-out station this summer, you may want to stay back. Could get ugly.
Back to the trail – we’ve started following those who started the trail ahead of OneFoot. It’s exciting to know that he may meet up with some of those folks. It’s sad to hear of those who’ve already ended their AT quest just a week or so into their journey. We can only imagine their pain and disappointment at ending the dream so soon. They didn’t want that and we don’t want that for Ray. Watching these other folks leave the trail reminds us of the reality that this is a thru-hike attempt. OneFoot is just another in a long list of hikers who, in this 2018 season, will walk toward the goal of reaching Katahdin. There are no guarantees. It’s the unknown and unpredictability that is so daunting. Seems we can plan for everything, except for what we can’t.
So, it feels like we’ve done all we can to prepare – Ray for the trail and me for the adventures that await. And now, we wait. We typically aren’t ones to wish time away – preferring to embrace the moments. This feels different. This is about realizing a dream that has been so long in the making. The clock is going so s….l….o….w….
It’s almost his turn, and we can’t wait to say it’s his turn.
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