Monday, March 30, 2009


The end and the beginning!

This will be my last blog post before starting the Appalachian Trail. That way I'll still have a day to read and respond to comments :-)

I'm not scared, but I'm going nutz. I thought I was all set but then I unpacked everything and planned more stuff for Steve to send me and organized that and... now my stuff if all over the camper again, with one more day to go.

I went into the Amicalola Falls State Park office today, where the hiker registration book is. There's a hanging spring-scale outside, and when you register, you give your real name, hometown (what'll I put? I don't live anywhere...) and your pack weight. I browsed the last several days of starters, and most packs were 35-45 pounds. Mine is about 30. One guy listed his as 100 pounds. Could that be real? What's he carrying, firewood? Maybe he just wrote something dumb. The guy before him had listed his pack as 10 pounds. That could be possible; 3 days of food, no tent (sleep in shelters), hi-tech lightweight clothing, no stove (eat cold food)... it could be done but I wouldn't try it myself as a relatively new hiker. I want gear!!

Tomorrow I'll go down and register myself. I can't do it before starting on Wednesday, b/c I plan to start about 7a.m. and the office doesn't open till 8:30.

While I was there I saw a young fellow starting up the approach trail. It was 2p.m. The approach trail is steep, rugged, and 8 miles long. He was going to have to book it to get to the first shelter by dark. Or.... he could just find a flat spot and pitch his tent.

I am not doing the approach trail. Steve is going to drive me to a place where a Forest Service road crosses the trail about a mile into it. We're going to walk back to the trailhead together, then turn around and walk the first mile together. I love that. The fact that my husband is so much in favor of my hike and has done so much to help me get ready and support me, is one more sign to me that God likes this idea.

In addition to wanting to walk the first mile with Steve, I don't want to do the approach trail because I think it's an extremely strenuous first day, 8 miles straight uphill carrying a 30-pound pack. Maybe if I hadn't been fighting tendonitis for so long, but as it is, I'm not going to try it. The Lord has helped me heal and given me all kinds of affirmations, so I'm not going to go stupid on Him and tackle that climb my first day. There have been lots of people who've quit their hiking plans partway up that trail. "If it's going to be like this, I can't make it." I want to give my tendons a fighting chance!

You find all kinds of stuff discarded on the approach trail as people toss stuff trying to lighten their packs. (Maybe the 100# guy's firewood or whatever will be there!) One of the things often found on the ground is Bibles. People get inspired and take a whole full-size Bible with them. It's one of the first "unnecessary" things to go.

I tore the Book of Psalms out of a pocket Bible and am taking that. I'm also taking 50 pages at a time of a Dean Koontz book. Steve will bring me the next 50 pages at each of the 3 places he's meeting me, and mail them to me after that. Except.... darn, I've already mailed myself 3 boxes, and guess what I forgot: my book. I'll have to wait till after the Smokey Mountains to find out what happens next, I guess!

Anyway, I'm off. Wednesday. But I'll try to respond to any comments to this post. Our connections is hopelessly slow here, takes minutes to load anything or change screens or send anything. But I'll try.

Wish me luck. Wish me well. Wish me Godspeed.

As I wish it all to all of you. Old friends and new.


TxTriSkatemom said...

Luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparation, and you have done all the prep you need to meet this opportunity head-on. Also in your pack, but making it lighter instead of heavier, are my prayers for your well-being and safety, and my wishes for an amazing experience every step of the way. I will be thinking of you and waiting to hear all the updates! Love you, Ellie!!

Anonymous said...

It's so heartwarming that Steve is accompanying you on the first mile (really, two). What a man!

Go strong, go light, go with God.

ShirleyPerly said...

I love that Steve is starting out with you. That is sure to make your start a good one. And I can't imagine someone carrying a 100# pack either unless he looked like the guy in your photo below, LOL.

Best of luck and look forward to reading about your adventures!!

A Wild Celtic Rose said...

We'll all be "with" you on your great adventure!!!

Have a wonderful time!



2008 GOALS said...

May the wind always be at your back!

It's going to make your marathons and your Ironman look like a walk in the park, but you're going to love it!

Can't wait till you get to "our" Dairy Queen in Atkins, VA--the kids still remember finishing our section hike there. I promise they have the best burgers in the entire world (when you've been out on the AT for awhile)!!!!


Peggy & Steve Harper

Laura-n-Sasha said...

You go girl, We'll be thinking of you often and wishing you all the best.

bunnygirl said...

I have every confidence you can do it and that it will be the experience of a lifetime. You've prepared, you have faith, and you have the good wishes of many. Enjoy! (You know we can't wait to see the pictures!)

Marsha Sea said...

I wish you luck. I wish you well. I wish you godspeed.

I wish you the greatest adventure. I wish you joy and wonder.

I wish you a healthy, happy, safe hike.

Marsha Sea

Holly said...

GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY TRAIL ELLIE! Have a wonderful wonderful hike and embrace every moment! I am sending you LOVE and GOOD VIBES every day!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes and Godspeed on your've prepared, you're ready, and you'll do it! Remember to make it fun too. Can't wait to ready your updates! Good luck!
Louise (we met at the East Jordan Tri, remember?)

Carlene said...

Wishing you happiness on the trail in the days and weeks ahead. Just remember, savor the good stuff. It won't last. And when you are in a rough patch, remember that won't last either.

Carlene said...

Hmm... that came out much more pessimistic in print than it sounded in my head. I'm going to try again. Savor the good stuff, and let the bad stuff go.

Teach1 said...

You don't know me but I've been following you for a while. I am turning 54 and am hoping to do a thru hike in 2011. You are my hero. Be positive, be well, be safe.

Ellie Hamilton said...

Teach 1 -- There's no contact info at your page. But thank you for your wishes and.... don't "hope" to do a thru in 2011... PLAN and EXPECT to do it!!

batty said...

Have a wonderful walk, and enjoy the beautiful weather! From what I've read about the trail there are lots of people hiking it - so you should be in good company. I was going to say keep a journal - but then, you're trying to pack light! I've only seen photos of the trail and viewed it from a car - but it's lovely country.