Day 0 Eve
It is currently just after midnight, Eastern Time, which makes this the official, “Day 0,” post. My mum and I have settled into a lovely little resort about 15 miles from the trail head, though it will take us an hour to get there, of course. In typical Sundquist fashion I have just completed packing and quite frankly I’m almost too exhausted to write this. I don’t mean to say, by any means, that the past two days have been hard or tiring, I’m simply exhausted from being on the road and thinking so much for two days. That being said, I certainly won’t make this a light post as I am as dedicated to a full record as some of you are to reading it.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone and it certainly doesn’t surprise me but, preparing to hike over 2000 miles and be away for five months is a hell of a mental game. Yesterday was a bit rough, I’ll admit, mostly due to having far too much time to think while driving over 12 hours only to sleep restlessly in a hotel just outside of Nashville, TN. Before I continue, keep in mind that none of these musings have softened my resolve in the slightest, don’t worry about me. I feel it is perfectly natural to have a small voice whispering in the back of my head, “you could just skip it, you know?” “There are people who love you back home and will miss you dearly, you know?” “Do you really need an adventure like this? It would be so simple to just keep on keeping on as you always have, you know?” These are some of the thoughts which slowly wafted through my road-addled mind over the course of my drive yesterday — thought I’d share. Today was much better. I actually slept, though not all that well as I mentioned, and I’ve eaten better the last couple days than I normally do. Overall I feel nothing but excitement about starting my hike, getting underway and leaving my doubts to the rain soaked roads of Iowa and Illinois. A number of people have asked if I’m nervous (including one of my mum’s friends on the phone today) and unbelievably, I’m not in the slightest. I know I can do this or I wouldn’t be trying. It’s going to be hard, rainy and hot and miserable at times. Duh. If it was easy what would be the point? Enough of my psychobabble for awhile. Tune in next time.
Yesterday during our drive my mother and I listened to a book called, “Emma Gatewood’s Walk,” which describes the hike(s) and life of Emma Gatewood who first hiked the A.T. in 1955 at age 67 with little more than the Keds on her feet, a homemade sack to carry minimal supplies (usually not including much food and no sleeping bag), and a blanket while wearing her Dungerees and sporting one hell of a fiery resolve. She was the first woman to ever hike the trail and the first to hike it THREE TIMES. I won’t blabber on about my new-found hero but it’s a wonderful book which should be read by, well, literally every literate person on the planet.
My mum and I found a couple cool little fast food joints we don’t have up in da Nort’woods and saw more traffic than landscape, though the former wasn’t all that bad. Yesterday was a work day and we did work before collapsing in a heap in our respective beds for the night.
Now, yesterday thoroughly boring you all to death, let’s talk about today. After my mother (God bless her soul) let me sleep till around noon we set off on our short little jog to Nashville for some breakfast (lunch, fine…). We landed at a popular joint called Pancake Pantry following the excellent recommendation of one of her friends. She had pancakes and I had a B.L.T. (don’t judge) which fueled us the rest of our day with fervor and renewed energy. If yesterday’s drive was mostly rain and boredom while listening to a non-fictional book concerning my current adventure — today could not have been more of a polar opposite. The sun was pumping out a solid 87 degrees worthy of blacked-out sunglasses; the landscape can only be described as breathtaking as we wound our way through the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia; and, of all things, we opted to listen to, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t attest to that but the book is an absolute riot! It was certainly much more fitting to keep us in good spirits as we tackled the last leg of our journey. We only had about six hours to cover and, with the time change, landed at our resort at 7:00pm. Immediately after checking in we buzzed off to the nearest town (something with a,”D.”) and found a spectacular New Orleans-style diner called Bourbon Street. I had what I assume will be my last steak for quite awhile and washed it down with a couple of the best Southern-Style IPAs I have ever had the pleasure of ruining my taste buds with. Mum had fish tacos (fabulous) and some local concoction with gin, lime juice, and rosemary-infused simple syrup (OK – waaaaay too sweet even for her but, after all, we are in the South). A short drive back to our little mountain hideaway brings us up to about two hours ago.
As I said earlier, I FINALLY finished packing tonight. This of course included setting up the Spot (GPS tracker/save-my-ass-when-I-fall-in-a-crevace device), restocking my first-aid kit, doling out meds and food and generally stuffing everything I own into a host of different sized plastic baggies. Oh yea, I almost forgot, I also discovered that my lovely feline housemates chewed tiny holes in my water bladder………looks like I’m bringing both water bottles after all.
Tomorrow I certainly won’t have the luxury of sleeping till noon but 8:00am sounds reasonable as I only have eight miles of trail to cover. I’ve told a few of you but I am planning on taking it a bit easy the first couple days to test my legs and get used to my trail routine. Anyone following on my Spot when I get the links up will probably be bored as shit for a couple days — sorry. Before I get started we have about an hour’s drive to the trail head as I mentioned above and my mum will be accompanying me on one of the approach trails (only about a mile). After that, I’m underway! It will probably be a few days until I can post a blog but I will dutifully write in my journal so try not to forget about me, will ya?
I’m exhausted (please include mental pat on back for staying up and writing this, thanks). I’ll be cozying up to my latest Dirk Pit Adventure novel and passing out shortly.
Till next time,
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Will be thinking of you and praying for you daily. Good luck and have fun.