Saturday, June 23, 2007


I have not been blogging. I've been thinking. I've been re-inventing myself.
I have not been running. I started returning to it but got tired of it.
I have not been biking. I started returning to that, too.... but got tired of it.
Lord knows I haven't been swimming.

I had registered for a triathlon which took place today in Maine, but my manager forgot to giveme the day off. I said, that's OK, I didn't want to go anyway.

What I want to do is hike. And learn to backpack and wilderness-camp, and be ready to start the Appalachian Trail next spring. I'll probably only do half, or a little more, from its start in Georgia to the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line. Although we're more or less "retired," I still can't take 6 months out of my life and everyone else's to hike the whole trail. Steve is talking about spending the summer back "home" at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland; on the way there from wherever we spend the winter (south), he can drop me off in Georgia and I'll just walk home.

I have to learn to live out there first, though. To manage with next to nothing, and learn to rely on myself. Which, actually, is one of my reasons for wanting to hike the Trail, learning self-relliance, but I'll have to learn a little of it before I start.

Today I made myself a little stove out of one of those teeny aluminum cups that hold tea candles. I filled it with 15mL (a tablespoonful) of 91% isopropyl alcohol (the stronger variety of rubbing alcohol), put a few stones around it as a pot stand, flicked my Bic and it burned for 17 minutes. I got the idea from this site about ultralight backpacking. On this creation I cooked a package of Ramen noodles (an AT-hiker staple). I wasn't hungry but I was so pleased with my accomplishment that I ate them anyway. Denatured alcohol is recommended, but I didn't have any. I could probably actually get the water to boil on a candle-cup full of that! Even without boiling, though, the noodles cooked. I was so happy!!

The Vermont City Marathon was 4 weeks ago. I posted a few hopeful thoughts about a PR this fall, if not a BQ, but then I lost interest as I tried running and just didn't enjoy it, and started thinking that I want to spend my long-"run" days doing long hikes, not marathon-training. I guess I'm recovered physically, but mentally -- either I haven't recovered, or I emerged from that marathon a changed person. Because I am not interested in doing another marathon. Not for a long, long time. I will not be trying for Boston this year. I will be hiking.
I think this blog is, starting now, the story of a runner-triathlete-turned-hiker.

I don't want to run. I want to hike. I want to walk and walk until I get to the end of the earth. Or to Pennsylvania. I wish I could go all the way to Maine.


bunnygirl said...

Growth and change is what keeps us young.

You might want to look into Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. I've attended their camps in Texas and New Mexico and I just love them! I had been worried that they would dumb the stuff down and make it easy, but they do nothing of the kind.

The camps are inexpensive and held all year long, all over North America. Some of the offerings vary by location, but things like backpacking and camp cooking are pretty universal.

Check them out! But above all, do what makes you happy. A new challenge makes for a better you! :-)

Kewl Nitrox said...

Good to see you back and blogging. Life's too short, you just gotta be true to yourself and go where your heart leads you.

I'm not a hiking sort of person myself (more a 4-5 star resort person). ;-) But I have a lot of respect for the real woods men/women out there.

Nancy Toby said...

Why would it require rearranging "everyone else's" life for you to hike the trail? You're retired. No one is counting on you. Do what you want! Make it happen!

If you want to split it up into 2 summers, that's sensible too!

Good luck!!

From Here to There said...

This is so cool, Ellie, and something I want to do myself one day (starting with the Canadian Trail, mind you!). You can't do it all, there are so many hours in a day. You may want to run, bike, swim, tri, in a couple of years, or you may not, and it doesn't matter! All that matters is that you're doing what your soul needs.


Steve said...

I understand the craving to hike. I finally got to hike the AT in '97. The greatest thing I've done so far. The independence proving may be the part I needed.Don't fight it. Something inside is trying to get out.

Cowanesque '97

ShirleyPerly said...

Do you know Marit Schultz of the 50&DC Marathon Group? A couple years ago she hiked the entire Appalachian Trail on her own. A friend and fellow 50&DC member (Frank Jobe) wrote about her adventures. I remember them being interesting reading.

Anywhoo, just an FYI that I wasn't able to book the timeshare that I wanted to stay at in NH so I'll be putting off the C. Demar race until next year.

Happy Hiking!

TxTriSkatemom said...

glad for the update -- sounds like you have a whole new adventure in front of you!

the running and the cycling and the swimming is only good for you if you get something back from it. when it becomes too much like work it's time to find a new passion.

TriFeist said...

You see it as re-inventing yourself but to me, through hiking the AT is a natural extension of the Ellie I know and love. You find your truest self when it's you against the course (marathon, ironman, trail, whatever). It's the rest of life that gives you fits.

My father and I have hiked quite a bit on the AT between Georgia and Tenessee. Primative camping is the only camping I know. Let me know if we can help.

Favorite Apron said...

I am right there with you in spirit.