As I sit here, drinking my glass of Welch’s Grape Juice (used in the south for Baptist’s communion services…I’m blessed!), I am thinking two weeks ahead when I will be wandering the first 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail, along with my buddy JD. Our lives will surely be touched with each step we make along the way. Along with the couple of ticks we will pick up, I am positive we will have a splendid time trying to reach our destination. Now that the trip has been planned out, mile by mile, it is time for us to get our equipment and supplies together.
“Get your shit together, country boy!” OK! OK! Geez!
My backpack has been emptied out onto our dining room table to inspect each piece as I check off my list. Tent…check! Sleeping bag and pad…check! Deet…check! Shamwow…check! Jetboil stove…check!
Wait a minute! Shamwow? Why the hell are you taking that thing along with you?
Ladies and gentlemen, lend me your ears! The original group sat with a skilled hiker the other week, before doing the Laurel Ridge Trail again, and went over our plans for completing the hike. One of the suggestions made was to take along a Shamwow…for bathing! WOW, I almost died laughing at the hilariousness of the idea and the sheer thought that I had not realized it before. The Shamwow can absorb a tremendous amount of water. That being said, one can stand beside the creek/stream and bath. The use of biodegradable soap (non-toxic to the environment) and the fresh flowing water allows you to be refreshed for the next day of hiking. I can see myself now, looking like a modern day Adam, washing my nether regions next to a stream. Ok…I’m loving that image just a little too much!
So now I am sitting here with my laptop, downloading the topographic disk for my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx unit. I guess you can say that I went a little out of the way for this first trip. My logic is that this is not going to be my last trip and it will get used more and more as the years go by. The other half and I are also using it for geocaching. If you have never heard of it, you should go over to Geocaching.com. I’ll do another post about this wonderful sport/hobby later. I wanted to make sure that if it were to happen…getting lost that is, I would have every bit of help to get found. The last thing I want to do is get into the mountains of North GA and get lost and end up in some scene from Deliverance. I would want to be Burt Reynolds if at all possible. The trail from what I hear is clearly marked. It may be a tad grown up with weeds and vines, but that’s expected in the humid, wet environment we call the South.
Getting back to the dream, I can’t stop thinking about completing the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Yes, I know that it takes roughly 6 months to go from Springer Mountain to Katahdin, Maine. Think about the tranquil nights and the people you can meet along the trail that are genuine people, wanting to get out and get back into nature. Think of the everlasting friendships that can be made with people who are trying to achieve the same goal as yourself. The thought of it drives me insane with anticipation. That’s what this country boy needs…some everlasting friendships with people who are interested in the same things. Hiking, camping, going out on the lake….just to name a few.
Recently, I have been listening to podcasts about hiking the Appalachian Trail. Each one provides me with another small dose of nervousness and happiness. Happiness in that I will be able to prove to myself that I can do this and nervousness in that I am actually going to do it. Does that sound weird? It probably does sound as though I am being dramatic about the trip. Oh well. This is my trip after lots of planning and second guessing myself and I expect it to make a big difference in my life.
The days will go by. The hours will slowly fade. The minutes and seconds will tick away. Two weeks will feel as though it were just a matter of sunrises and sunsets and then my feet will plant firmly on Springer Mountain and my dream will become a reality. At least the first 30 miles of that dream! LOL!