Tag Archives: hiking the appalachian trail

My Feet!

I’m at my brother’s house, letting my feet heal before I head back to Asheville. My brother and his wife are long-suffering, understanding and generous. I know he would probably love to see me head back out when I heal up, because he’s such an avid backpacker and outdoorsman himself. He also has respect for my decisions and is probably breathing a quiet sigh of relief. Yeah, he’d love to see me stand on top of Katahdin in September, but he’d also like to see me putting more of my art out, submit my writing and be safe in a place where I’m at peace with myself.

Like I said, he and his wife are rare, wonderful people who I am grateful to have in my life.

My feet still hurt. I have to take some pretty serious painkiller to move around, so I spend a lot of time in bed, letting the tissue rebuild. When I hobble to the bathroom I think of the people I’ve cared for and how they haven’t been able to navigate freely for years. I never want this for an extended period of time. This just reminds me that my life offers me more freedom than I realize, sometime. The prison of bills, of trying to make a tiny bit of money cover necessities and hope there’s enough left over for the inevitable surprise (car trouble, bad weather, etc.) keeps a cell for most of us. I’ll remind myself of that the next time I get angry when the money doesn’t stretch far enough. At least, I’ll say, I’m ambulatory, healthy, and I can depend on myself.

It’s good to be back.


Appalachian Trail

My plan to hike the trail-all the way-has made a big difference in small things these days. I am not renewing any subscriptions, am planning to stop landline phone service in February, planning to actually move out of my little house in February as well. I hope to spend most of March visiting friends and family before I set out on my hike.

In the coming 6 months, I will be reading everything I can find on thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, backpacking in general, lightweight hiking and camping equipment, anything to ensure my plan is successful. A couple of thousand hikers start the AT every year-only about 10% actually finish. Only about 10% of that number are women. I plan to be in that tiny number. I may have failed at almost everything else I’ve attempted in my life, but I’m determined about this.

I alos plan to do this as a vegan. !!! Before anyone starts gasping and trying to bring me to my senses, check out some of these links-




There are lots of vegan websites and I subscribe to Vegetarian Times and the North American Vegetarian Society. It is possible to have a perfectly balanced plant-based diet. It’s also a lot healthier and kinder to the planet and the animals who share it with us. Don’t worry, there is no sermon forthcoming. I just don’t want to see a lot of warnings about hiking without meat.

The whole idea is exciting to me. I will be in a situation where each day will be consumed with survival and the most basic kind of life appreciation. I need that after living in a virtual prison for the past 3 1/2 years. My life has been a constant struggle since my split with my “dream man'” as he called himself. The struggle has evolved from a daily struggle to pay bills to a struggle with the point of it all. When I realized I was getting a small bonus I decided to save it for the Hike. The Hike was something I planned originally for my retirement in 4 years. I don’t think I can wait 4 years. I’ve been gasping for breath for a long time. My art and writing is suffering-as it always does when I start sliding down the Depression hill.

Then, it hit me. Why wait? WHY? We aren’t guaranteed anything. What if something happens in the next 4 years? What if something happens in the next 4 days? Do I want my last thought to be “Why didn’t I DO anything?” As the old saying goes, “If not now, when?”

I’m poor now. I’ll be poor 6 months from now. I’ll be poor 6 months after that. Why not hike the trail and be poor…with a real accomplishment under my belt.

So that’s how I made the decision. I’ve got to get through this Winter without any big expense (I’ve already had one…the effing computer monitor went out. But it’s early days. I can make this up.) And I will, dammit. Nothing is going to screw this up for me. I’m leaving for the trail in the Spring and I’ll be coming off once a week or so to resupply and make contact.

Already, my wonderful brother has offered to let me use his dehydrator so I can begin stockpiling dried food. It’s lightweight and nutritious. I’ll be packing boxes to be mailed to me along the trail so I can resupply at minimum expense.

I’m researching lightweight backpacking (another whole world out there on the Web) and reading everything. Other hikers’ experience can help me avoid costly mistakes.

Anyone who has advice, questions, suggestion, please comment. My current assignment has me out of my home for 5 days at a time so I won’t be able to read them until next weekend, but please, comment! And if anyone wants to join me, come on! (even for a day or so)

Think positive, outdoorsey thoughts!

Hiking the AT

I will post something more detailed later, but I want to say this while I have a chance. First, my new assignment has me away for 5 days at a time-24 hours a day so I won’t be able to check email and stuff until the weeeknd so don’t post a comment you need immediate feedback on. But please comment!

Second, I’m going to hike the Appalachian Trail, starting late March, early Spring 2012. That gives me 6 months to research, dehydrate food, gather the materials I’ll need and dispose of my worldly goods. I don’t intend to put things in storage, but will give away things to the people I know can use them. If they want to return them when I’m done, great. If they find they really need them, keep them. One thing that losing everything has taught me-I don’t really need it.

I’m excited about the trail and am open to any and all comments and suggestions. I’ll be posting more later. Think positive thoughts for me-you know,  like keeping the car in good shape, etc.