I have not been here in Blogland for so long.
We have been away from Internet access, except for the McDonalds wi-fi and our son's house. We've been back "home" in western Maryland at Deep Creek State Park the last several weeks.
Now we're en route to Austin, TX for the winter, via Ohio to see our daughters and other grandchildren, then Michigan to visit Steve's parents and one of his sisters and her extended family. I will need to stay late at Mom-in-Law's on Nov. 3 to watch Linae's Ironman Florida finish, since we won't have web access at our Michigan campground either.
I had this big plan, Plan A (without knowing it was Plan A and the plans might eventually span the alphabet) to pack up a bunch of gear, buy a plane ticket from Austin to Atlanta, and start hiking the Appalachian Trail late in March.
Everything has changed. There's good news and bad news.
The good news is that our son, Jon, and his wife, Jamie, are expecting their second child the third week of May. Abbie is going to be a big sister. We've been in "baby deprivation" for several years now and are thrilled that we're getting a new grandchild.
The bad news is, it won't work for me to be out in the wilderness out of cell-phone signal reach, and go into town for a food resupply, call home, and find out the baby was born and is 4 days old already.
Or was born prematurely and is in the NICU.
At first I decided right off the bat not to go at all. End of hiking plan. Scratch Plan A. I can't even begin to describe the inner battle between joy over the new baby and grief at not hiking the Trail.
We made arrangements to work again at Candy Hill Campground in Winchester, VA, starting in early May, so we'd be just a couple hours from "home" and we can see the baby and the rest of the Maryland installment of our family every couple weeks.
The campground is only about 15 miles from Harper's Ferry, WV, which is an important stop on the AT and the "psychological halfway point" for thru-hikers. I could hike from somewhere, to Harper's Ferry, getting there early in May and joining my husband in Winchester in plenty of time for the baby. This was Plan B.
I'd found out that if my family were to contact the Appalachian Trail Conference with my approximate location (I'd be keeping Steve updated) they could find me within hours.
It started to occur to me that if I were in the neighborhood and not hiking all summer, I could train for and participate in SavageMan in September, which I've been salivating over ever since its unofficial trial run in 2006, and its inaugural running a month ago, both of which I missed because I wasn't in the right place at the right time. For 2008, I could be.
Then Holly came up with Plan C. Wouldn't it be a great story for this person to grow up with, she said, that "When I was born my grandmother was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and she left the trail to welcome me into the world for a week, then went back to the trail to finish hiking her dream before spending the next couple years close to me and my family."
Whew. That would be a story. Much different from, "My grandmother was going to hike the Appalachian Trail but she didn't because I was on the way."
I seriously considered this. For awhile it seemed like the way I'd most likely go.
But there's SavageMan. This year was its first running. Next year is scheduled. But that's not enough runnings to assume that it will be put on every year. And for 2 years I have really, really wanted to do this race.
The Appalachian Trail will always be there. SavageMan may not be. If it weren't for this baby coming at this time, I might never have been able to do SavageMan at all. We might never have been in the neighborhood when it was SavageMan time.
So I went back to Plan B. Hike till the baby comes, (I should be somewhere around Roanoke), then stop, train for and do SavageMan, probably also doing some section-hiking on the Trail since we'll be so close to it all summer, and then finish the Trail another year.
But now I don't know again. I don't know if it's worth buying a plane ticket for a 2-month hike. Especially with money tight enough that I'm already scrimping on my gear. Maybe I should save until I can do the whole thing, then do the whole thing.
And then I get depressed again thinking about not going.