Saturday, April 12, 2008


I've been asking myself: Do I have the right to throw some stuff into a backpack and go off by myself for a 3-6month vacation in the woods?

What makes me think I'm so special?

Then, again, if I'm not that special, it shouldn't make that much difference to the world if I'm gone for a few months.

So I'll keep on planning it anyway. With as little expense as possible. One thing I do want to do, and maybe one of the reasons I want to hike the Appalachian Trail, is to make a statement: it's not just for affluent folks who can buy all the highest-tech, state-of-the-art, featherweight equipment to make it easy to go out and play at living a spartan lifestyle.

I want to need to depend on myself, my creativity, my ingenuity, my resourcefulness, my stubbornness, my endurance.

"Grandma" Emma Gatewood was the first female to thru-hike the AT all in one end-to-end trip. She was 67 at the time (back in the 1950's.) She sewed up a denim duffel bag, into which she threw a change of clothes, a raincoat, a wool Army blanket, a plastic shower curtain for emergency shelter, and some crackers, beef jerky, and cheese. Then she waved good-bye to her family and set out hiking in U.S. Keds.

She made it.


bunnygirl said...

Do I have the right to throw some stuff into a backpack and go off by myself for a 3-6 month vacation in the woods?

Of course you do. The question isn't what makes you so special you can go, but what makes you so indispensable that you can't. IOW, there's ego in thinking you can't go, just like there is in thinking you can.

Life is short. Go, if it's your dream. It'll give you fantastic stories to tell your grandchildren!

Downhillnut said...

Good questions to be asking yourself. I suspect that your dilemma is also fed from the way those around you might answer the same kind of questions about it:
- "What makes us think we're so special, that she should give up her AP dream to be away from us for a while?"
- "Then again, if she thinks that AP is so intriguing, maybe she'll get it out of her system and appreciate us more if we let her."

It's hard to be an important part of something wonderful (like family, or an organization), and still independently free at the same time. Not impossible, but not easy.

From Here to There said...

Ellie, if someone you loved wanted to take 6 months (or whatever time frame) to complete something they were passionate about, and you knew that they could do it safely and was well prepared, what would you say to them?

Thought so ;).

Just thought I'd try to put a different spin on it.

Kewl Nitrox said...

If not now, then when?

Anonymous said...

There are some regrets we can live with the rest of our lives, but there are some that would haunt us the rest of our lives. Only you know in which category is the AT.

Finally touching base with you again!

Have you been practicing the Rach?