Why walk in the woods?

Most people don’t ask but those who do, challenge me deeply.  Just what is it that draws me to this long and historic pathway?  I have always had a deep respect and liking for the outdoors; nature amazes and excites me and leaves me smiling at every turn. When approaching the edge of the Grand Canyon, we are totally awed when our view expands horizontally and vertically  to try to capture the expanse of such a natural wonder.  Who from the Midwest, wouldn’t be inspired by the magnificence of the Giant Redwoods of California.  Walking this trail, actually a pathway, that leads northward from Springer Mountain in Georgia, through 14 states, to eventually end on top of Mount Katadin, in Baxter State Park in Northern Maine,  will be the goal.  In this case the ‘journey is the destination.’   I hope to experience the power of this trail; that force that draws thousands of hikers each year to ‘spend a lot of money to live like a homeless person’, sleeping in tents or shelters, cooking on small gas stoves, eating  instant oatmeal and pop-tarts for breakfast,  Ramon noodles and mac & cheese for dinner, and snickers bars, granola bars and jerky for occasional treats…

The common saying ‘hike your own hike’, suggests that we do our own thing, hiking at a pace that is comfortable for that person; listen to your body, rest when it is necessary, drink plenty of fluids, and be sure to eat regularly. Our continued good health depends on this. Having the stamina to walk many miles a day, will improve with time spent on the trail. It is said that it will take at least two weeks to develop “trail legs”.  I expect that my feet will hurt after 10 hours of hiking up and down mountain trails regardless of how many days we have had to train…

The nature of the woods entices me to go and see for my self the beauty and magnificence of our ‘unspoiled’ back country.  The mantra ‘Leave no Trace’ implies, take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footsteps.  I will take photos and will journal my adventure so that I can share with my friends who have encouraged and supported me during the past year.  I hope to post regularly on Facebook and may even post to this blog. (not sure if this is possible from my Droid). But it is my responsibility to  leave the woods in better condition than i found it..We must be the stewards of our world, leaving it a better place for our children and grandchildren.

So I will walk in the woods finding peace and solitude; I will have time to ponder life…

 

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The Person who made this hike possible

While planning this trip on the Appalachian Trail requires a lot of thought, it  also requires a lot of love and respect of the most important person in my life.  Lois has very graciously allowed me to take 6-8 weeks of our lives and do something which is very self-serving and selfish, to satisfy one of my personal desires.  I will be away from home and she will have to deal with all the responsibilities and potential problems that develop for that period of time.  Not only the housekeeping, that she always does, but all of the yard work, and weekly chores that I would normally do, as well as taking care of mom, and all of the grocery shopping.  She won’t be able to rely on me for running here and there on a daily basis, and must take care of all of our special need cats and their foibles.

Lois is a very special lady and I am very fortunate to have her in my life, as my wife, girlfriend and partner…. Lois, I Love you very much.

Two Men and a Trail…

In less than three months, I will begin a long ‘walk’ on a trail that begins in Georgia and extends Northward through fourteen states, ending atop Mount Katadin in Baxter State Park, in north central Maine.  I have dreamed of doing this hike since 1968, when I spent the summer in Bar Harbor, ME, for a summer research project at the Jackson Laboratory. While browsing in the State Park gift shop, I found and purchased a trail guide for the section of the Appalachian Trail which included the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

This interest was rekindled last March, when I discovered that an ‘old’ friend and fraternity brother, Dr James Rogers, was to start the hike on April 1, 2015. I spoke with jim and asked if he would like a companion for a section of the hike and he said yes. I discussed this with Lois, my wife and was very surprised when she said that I should take some time and hike part of the trail with Jim…the ball is rolling…  I wanted to do this but would never be prepared for an April start, so the plan was to meet up in North Carolina on May 1, 2015, somewhere.

I started a “mad training” program to prepare as best I could in the short amount of time before I would need to fly to North Carolina. There was also the obligatory household chores which needed to be finished before I could go out to play. One month of furious activity, assuring myself that I had the necessary equipment and the, always important, “break in the boots,” routine, needed to be done satisfactorily.

However, not to be…Jim chose to ‘postpone’ his Appalachian Trail hike for 1 year which brings us to the present, February 2016.  It has been difficult to get in shape and maintain that level of conditioning for a year but I have managed to do just that.  The hiking in the Canyons of Canton, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, carrying my backpack, 4-5 miles daily has paid off. I will be “trail ready” by the First of May this year…                     So, you say, suppose my hiking partner bails…I will be hiking the Appalachian Trail, this year, come hell or high water.

So I am very excited and would leave tomorrow if given the opportunity, but will patiently wait for April 30, when I head south for the ‘trailhead.’  Stay tuned for further updates as we progress northward on our journey… tp