You Are Not Prepared

The Cake is a Lie

It’s my daughter’s ninth birthday and I forgot to order her a cake. Over the past weekend she had her birthday party at the roller rink with friends and I managed to order cupcakes.  In the chaos of the last few weeks, I forgot to order a cake for her actual birthday, to be celebrated at home with her family.  I had planned my AT start date to be home for her birthday, and ended up spending a fair amount of February watching people post hiking pictures in what looked like perfect sunny weather, wishing I were putting in the miles.

The local cake shop saved me, having the perfect rainbow cake already prepared and two minutes later, personalized.

Bye Bye Blucifer

I’ll be flying out of Denver to Atlanta in two days, hitting REI, and heading to Amicalola Falls.  And I feel very unprepared.  I’ve dreamt of hiking the AT for decades, not having the financial means to do it while younger.  Later I always thought I would wait until the kids are off to college.  Sometime during the COVID shutdown and shortly after reading a book on Grandma Gatewood, I decided maybe I shouldn’t wait that long, and began thinking “Huh, wouldn’t it be wild to celebrate turning 50 and entering middle age by going on a long ass hike through fourteen states?”  And I started reading up, making plans, figuring out logistics, buying the wrong expensive gear just because REI had another sale, for this thing I was going to tackle.  In the distant future.  But somehow, time has passed and it’s almost here, the date that past me felt very sure I would be prepared for.

You Shall Not Leave Me!!

Tavin says this to me with increasing frequency as departure day nears.  You shall not leave me!!  And “Why didn’t you do this when you were younger, before I was born, so I wouldn’t miss you?” We talk and talk about it, and I involve her in the preparations.  We set up my tent and sleep system in the backyard, and she tries them out. She puts my loaded backpack on-nearly half her weight-and tries to walk without falling over. She loves geography and maps, so I buy a map of the AT and hang it on the wall.  I tell her she can follow along with me and tell me fun interesting facts about the states I’m passing through. “I prefer countries,” she replies.  I get her a cell phone so we can message and talk, and I promise to send her pictures of all the snakes and bears and moose and zebras I see.  “Zebras??”  Ok, probably not, but I should get to see some wild horses. We talk about the possibility of her joining me on the trail for a week in the summer, and for a brief moment in time I consider pulling her out of school for the rest of the year and taking her with me on this adventure.  Then she discovered that the great outdoors is lacking indoor plumbing and noped out.  My children have had much different childhoods than I had.

When Do I Get Your Car?

Ben turned 16 last fall and has been enjoying his freedom.  I worry less about leaving him; he has become very independent and is busy.  He’s a junior in high school and taking online college courses on top of his honors schedule.  He is involved with the Honor Society, Drama Club, and Technology Student Association.  Twice a week he goes to Martial Arts classes, and also volunteers with a little kids’ class.  He’s excited that he’ll be able to borrow my new car while I’m away, and I’m thrilled that he’ll be driving our newest vehicle with the most safety features. His summer plans are undecided-Maybe he’ll take another college course?  Maybe he’ll get a job?-but he is also not interested in joining me on the trail for a while and pooping in the woods.

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Oh right, this is my first post, I should do the thing.  Greetings and Salutations!  I’m a native Vermonter, and after becoming an RN was enticed by some ads in the back of a nursing magazine to become a Travel Nurse.  I did that for almost a decade before meeting my husband.  We eventually settled in Colorado and now have two kids.  We are a multigenerational household with my mother living with us, which is a major reason I’m able to run off into the woods for a while.  I’m a gamer, so if you read the title in Illidan’s voice, that’s how I’m hearing it in my head as I’m frantically trying make my final preparations.  I still love to travel, and am a SCUBA diver, Crossfitter and powerlifter.   I participate in microfiction contests for fun, while procrastinating on writing the fiction series that has lived in my head for years.  I have fond memories of my travel nurse days, when everything I owned fit in my car, and the freedom of being fairly unencumbered by material goods.  I’m very much looking forward to existing for a few months with just the things I can carry on my back.  Even if I packed too much and insist on carrying a bear canister (more on that later).

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Comments 3

  • Charlie scoff : Mar 7th

    You never told me you had a book series rattling around in your head! I wanna hear all about it!

  • Bluewhale : Mar 7th

    I swore I wouldn’t follow any more people — until I read your post. The cake looks delicious, the kids sound fantastic, and I look forward to reading all about your trek!

    • Tara : Mar 23rd

      Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventure.


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