Gosh, gang..... y'all have been asking where I am. You miss me when I don't post! Love ya!
Sometimes, life just seems to be the same thing every day and I can't think of anything to post about.
I'll start with my walking/training progress, since that's a great metaphor for still being alive.
Walking is up to 4.5 miles. Yay!! That's half a day's hike in the early weeks of the Trail. I expect to start with about 8 miles a day, upping it every couple weeks by a couple miles until I stabilize at the 16 or so daily miles most hikers put in. Daily distance partly depends on where the next shelter is. They're spaced roughly a day's hike apart, anything from 6 to maybe 12 miles. I don't plan to stay in the shelters for the most part.... the mice are plentiful and brazen, and I don't like to hear snoring. But tenting right near the shelter is good, because you never camp alone that way. Most shelters have tentsites nearby. If the weather is really, really awful (torrential rain, wild wind) I'll stay inside the shelter, with ear plugs (for the snores of shelter mates) and a piece of bug netting (for the mice, with whom I would rather not share my sleeping bag, or my hair.)
Next week I graduate to a 5-mile walk. Woohooo!!! I'm starting to jog a little bit, too, since soon my walking will be of enough distance to take a huge chunk of time without some "running breaks."
I love my new backpack. It's supposed to be "Lip Red" as described in my previous post, but it's really more of a rust color (thank goodness.) It's 3800 cubic inches, and all my stuff is packed into it with room to spare. It resides in the storage area under our RV home, since I can't hike yet, especially with extra weight in a backpack. Every few days I haul it out, unpack it, ponder what I'll need and what I won't and what I could make a lighter version of, then repack it, put it back under the camper, and read my AT books some more. Or something similar.... right now I'm reading Yukon Alone, by John Balzar, about the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, less well-known and more rugged than the Iditarod. Like other athletes preparing for a major event -- marathon, triathlon, hiking the Appalachian Trail -- the mushers obsess over their lists of what they need, how much food per dog per day, pack, unpack, repack, revise the list, and start over. They weigh everything over and over trying to get their load as light as possible (their sled bags are commonly packed with 350 pounds of supplies, mostly food for the dogs, relatively little for themselves.) They plan airdrops of food and supplies (on the AT that's a mail drop; in the Ironman it's the Special Needs Stops;) they plan race strategies of how many miles in how many hours at what pace followed by what length rest break.... it's all so familiar. Sports are all so different but it seems endurance sports have features that bind their participants together in common experience.