Preparing for the Trail- New Orleans Style


This is my first post on the AT Blog.  I am so excited to be part of this community.  I am writing you from Covington, Louisiana which is just outside of New Orleans.  My family has a home over here, so we often come over for vacations.  I teach sixth grade English, and I am enjoying my last few days before school starts; I return on January 2, 2017.  Covington is an adorable small community about an hour outside of New Orleans that boasts an historic district with great shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.  I am in my favorite locale, St. John’s Coffeehouse.  My two children and niece are right down the street at an art camp which is hosted by the local Art Association.  Another great thing about Covington is that a “rails to trails” path goes right through the center of town.  This is a trail which was created in the place of old railroad tracks.  It extends for about 30 miles from Covington to Slidell.  I was able to run/walk 6 miles this morning.  Tomorrow’s plans include a long bike ride, and Friday will be my long run day.

I plan on slowly but surely completing a thru-hike of The Appalachian Trail (AT) through section hiking.  This is the best option for me since I am a teacher, and I have the summers off.  My children went to their first sleep away camp last summer in North Carolina about an hour outside of Bryson City, North Carolina.  My husband and I did a scouting trip and completed some day hikes around this area.  It was amazing.  We experienced the Nantahala Outdoor Center and hiked both North and South from there.  We also hiked around The Fontana Dam area at the base of the Smokies.  Our children will be in camp for two weeks.  I hope to take them on an overnight on the AT before or after camp.  I also plan on hiking for at least one week of the two weeks.  My husband can plan what we’ll do for the other week.  Last year we hung out in Asheville for a couple of days, and that was amazing.  I have hiked all of the Connecticut section of the Appalachian Trail in my twenties.  As you can see, this will be a life long journey, section hiking The AT.  It will happen!

I am currently working on getting in shape for the summer, so I can fully enjoy my week of hiking.  I was about 50 pounds overweight last summer.  Since then I have successfully lost 30 pounds.  I am going to dig deep and work on those last 20 pounds on 1/1/2017.  In the meantime I am trying to maintain the weight I lost and run as much as I can.  There are very few hills in the New Orleans area, so I have to be creative to prepare.  I am considering signing up for an ultra run/walk called “The Beast.”  It is a  couple of hours north of New Orleans and includes some hills. I can also use the stair machine at the gym.  However, let’s be honest, nothing will truly prepare me for the mountains except the mountains themselves.

All the best to everyone!  Onward!

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