Planning a New Adventure
The excitement of a new adventure blinds us to many of the realities of what it will take. Recently I’ve learned to plan my next adventure while I’m in the middle of my current adventure. I try to get the general idea down and then work out the small steps one by one.
When hiking I try to take the same approach. I hike from tree to tree. When I look at hiking 30, 300, or 3,000 miles (which I haven’t done yet) I want to break it down into manageable bit. I know I can hike to that tree about 500 feet away and then I pick the next destination.
Planning My New Hike
My longtime friend Rob (trail name Rabba) came up with the idea to do some hiking in 2018. I said let’s do the Sheltowee Trace Trail and he agreed, with some hesitation. We set out to train, plan, and purchase our gear. I’ve done some longer hikes before and had several packs, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and various other pieces of gear. Rabba was less prepared and initially wanted to sleep under the stars. After many conversations, I persuaded him to get some new gear.
We spent the winter months buying gear and testing it out. We had one particularly cold night testing the new tent that was a Christmas gift from my fiancee. Our first mistake was we put it up in the dark, forgetting to properly secure the rain fly, and thinking we might freeze when a mid-March blizzard blew in dropped eight inches of snow that night.
Why We’re Hiking
Hiking is something we have always done since we where little kids. We would walk through the woods of Eastern Kentucky finding various treasurers. Once we decided to hike Black Mountain, which turned out to be a service road that led to a cell phone tower that we pretended was a secret government facility we had stumbled upon. The bullet-riddled no trespassing signs did give it a dangerous feel.
Hiking with My Friend
I don’t know how Rabba and I have never done a multiday outdoor trip before. I’ve done many hiking trips solo and with other groups but never with Rabba. I’m sure we will have a lot of highs and lows on this trip and hopefully we will remain friends after.
Fear Kicks In
We’ve stuffed our packs to the seams, we had our last meal, and made one last trip to our local outfitter in Lexington for our final supplies. The nerves and reality of the hike are starting to kick in. I think we will make it all the way, or at least halfway; a man did die last week in the Red River Gorge on part of the trail. Hopefully, I can get some sleep tonight.
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