Call Me by My Name (Tenday)
Aside from my broken toe, I thought I was prepared for a 2,198.4 mile thru-hike.
I know— that’s a bold statement to make just 48 hours shy of Amicalola Falls. This evening, I sat down with my friend Tennessee Pickle to inquire into the Appalachian Trail’s MLP (Mountain Lion Potential) only to realize a crucial oversight. The Appalachian Trail doesn’t have lions. It has Lyme disease.
Somehow, in all of my pre-hike prep I managed to:
1. Move (back into Mom’s house… ouch).
2. Curate and download the perfect book list. You can find that secret in my grave.
3. End up with a pack that (despite shakedowns) will have the Ultra-Light backpackers quaking in their trail runners.
Don’t worry y’all— I cut the tags off of my gear and melted down my toothbrush. That should offset my thirty pound base weight.
What I didn’t do, however, was research ticks.
Did you know you can Google “map of Lyme desise” (incorrect spelling and all) and the internet will provide you with a heat map of the Appalachian Trail? It’s in my recent search history, should anybody need the proof.
Tennessee Pickle handed me a marked up book on the subject, with the request that I wash my hands in between rubbing my hurt toe and reading about said ticks. My phone notes read “doxy something?” and “premetherine” (in red underline).
Now, you might be thinking:
(Mountain) lions and toes and unknown ticks— oh my!
To which I say:
Don’t forget, it’s also winter.
To which I’d (less sarcastically) add:
I have been here before.
I mean, not literally here. There are no ticks in Colorado. But, I have been in the space of embracing all that I don’t know.
In the height of 2020’s infamous global shutdown, my aunt suggested I hike the Colorado Trail. I laughed. I went to bed. I didn’t even own a pack.
The next morning I had a gear list powered by Google, an emptied bank account (don’t do as I do), zero training, and a start date.
500 miles. 3 resupplies. You do the math. I was the girl whose base weight rivaled her body weight. Talk about quaking in your Hoka’s.
According to the internet, the average hiker packs between 3-5 days of food. I could fit ten in my ursack. Close enough.
And with that thought, Tenday was born. Molly… who?
Are you sensing pattern here?
Thankfully, tradition states our trail names follow us. Otherwise, I’d be Toe. Or Lyme. Not funny. I know.
My name “Tenday” embodies my sense humor and willingness to totally commit— even if what I commit to is totally wrong.
My name also marks me as a woman who leaps. Whose confidence allows for loud proclamations of error. Who is humble in what she does not know. Who won’t quit.
I will always be the friend who is never quite prepared. “Best laid plans” and all. Tonight, it was the dreaded ticks. Tomorrow, it might be something even scarier. Still, I will walk. Still, I will still make it thru (pun intended).
I am Tenday. I am 48 hours out from Amicalola. And soon, I’ll be researching ticks in a hostel near you.
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