Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It's just about time for me to buy my tickets south, and every day I keep putting it off.  For some reason, purchasing a train ticket to Georgia makes me more nervous than taking a leave of absence, selling off my furniture, getting rid of the clutter and crap that I've accumulated over the years, saying a (temporary) goodbye to friends and family, and moving out of my house.  It even makes me more nervous than a wet sleeping bag and encounters with moose, which are the two things I worry about most with regard to hiking.  (Being trapped in a wet sleeping bag when I encounter a moose?  That's the stuff of nightmares.)  I'm guessing that my hesitation comes from what the ticket represents- until I purchase the ticket, I can still change my mind (of course, this is silly thinking- I can change my mind at any point along this path- from before I get on the train to Georgia all the way up until I take that last step to the top of Katahdin in September).  But I don't think I will.  I suspect that once I start hiking, I'll be good.  In the mean time, the pull of stability, family, friends, and dry socks beckons...

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's a Potluck Party!

Ivy is throwing me a goodbye party at 8 pm on Friday, February 25th, at my house in Somerville, MA.  I hope you can make it.  Please RSVP on Facebook or send an email to Ivy if you are planning on attending.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


February 1 - Move downstairs, to a smaller room, thus ensuring a massive purge of belongings.  Annoy downstairs roommate with how much crap I "temporarily" move into the living room because I wasn't as successful with my initial purge as I needed to be.
February 15 - Attend AT info session at REI.  Rethink the whole strategy/plan.  Panic.  Reassess.  Conclude that I'm going to be fine.
February 25 - Going away party!  See the invitation above.
February 26 - Move belongings up to New Hampshire.  Annoy sister and brother-in-law with how much stuff I leave at their house, despite my earlier promise that it won't be all that much.  Ask to borrow truck to move more belongings.  Look the other way when they roll their eyes.
February 27 - Run a half marathon.  Move out of room, take up residence on couch.  Rethink reasons for signing up for half-marathon on the day I have to move out.  Conclude that I am completely crazy..
March 1 - Last day of work, followed by last Tuesday Night Dinner.  Be joyous, but weepy.
March 2 - Pack truck.  Head up to NH.  Start to sort through the pile of stuff I left at my sister and brother-in-law's house. 
March 3-7 - Continue sorting, planning, packing, and spending time with my family.
March 8 - Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-Roma-ma-ah! Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!
March 10-13 - Final visits with CT family and friends. Give packages of spare clothing that I can change into when I visit as I hike through.  Double check addresses and phone numbers.
March 14-17 -Family time!  Purchase food for first week on the AT.  Pack backpack and travel bag.  Be weepy.
March 18-20 - Spend two nights in NYC. 
March 20 - Leave for Delaware. Rethink my decision to live outside for six months, but recognize that it's too late to change my mind. 
March 21 - Leave Delaware, taking the overnight train to Gainesville, GA.  Leave travel bag in Delaware.  Start missing my jeans and sneakers immediately.  Go through internet withdrawal.  Check backpack multiple times, in case I forgot something essential.  Panic because I can't find my water filter.  Unpack bag on train.  Find water filter.  Repack bag.  Repeat with various other essential items.
March 22 - Start hiking! 
March 23 - September - Start hiking the Appalachian Trail!  (The trail starts at the top of Springer Mountain, which is 8.8 miles from the trail head.)  According to Wikipedia, March 23rd is known for a number of things, most recently having to do with assassination, explosions, death, and plane crashes.  It's not exactly auspicious.  For the record, March 22nd is only slightly better.  Decide not to worry about this.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Repeat for 2179.1 miles.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Packing Up

One of the goals of this trip is to leave my home and work in such a manner that when I return my bad habits will be harder to pick up.  To this end, I'm trying to move out of my current apartment in such a manner that allows me to only take the bare minimum with me, and leave behind (ie: sell, give away, donate, or throw out) the things that I've unnecessarily accumulated over the years. As the stack of boxes of things I want to take is growing I'm finding myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable- I was hoping to end up with enough things to fit in my car, and only a handful of larger items, mostly restricted to artwork, my mattress, a trunk, and my bookshelf.  I was off to a good start earlier this month- a brutal culling of my books meant that I'm only keeping two small boxes, essentially leaving behind a full bookshelf worth.  But since then I've been far too liberal with what I'm keeping, and although the prospect of starting to repack all over is daunting, I'm going to have to.  Ugh.

I decided to take a break from the meta-packing and focused in on the fun packing: my first test-run of packing my pack for the trail.  Here's what I've got so far:

The Big Stuff:
REI Ridgeline 65 Pack
Sierra Designs Light Year 1 Tent
Kelty Light Year Down 0 Degree Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress
MSR Superfly stove and MSR IsoPro Fuel Canister
PUR Katadyn Hiker Microfilter

The Small Stuff:
Cooking pot, mug, and spork/knife
One knife
One multi-tool
Toiletries (toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, towel, ear plugs, Dr. Bronner's soap)
Emergency items: matches, hand warmers, a first aid kit (to be totally repacked because everything in it is expired... whoopsie), and a compass.
Two Nalgene bottles (I'll be switching to my Camelback once the weather gets warmer)
Pack cover
Bear Bag
Patch kit

Packed Clothing:
Two pairs of Smartwool socks, one pair of liners
Three pairs of undwear
One bra
One Techwick short sleeved shirt
One Techwick long sleeved shirt
One Smartwool long sleeved shirt
One fleece jacket
One pair of hiking pants
Light gloves

Together, these things weigh 25 lbs.  I still need to add water, food, a sewing kit, a camera, a cell phone, a guide book, a headlamp, book, journal, and pen. I plan on wearing a hiking dress, hiking tights, hiking boots, socks, liners, a bra, underwear, and a long sleeve shirt, and will be carrying my hiking poles.

Keeping this under 40 lbs is going to be hard-- seems like I'm having the same problem packing for the trip as I am packing up my room!  But that's why I'm packing my pack for the first time now- so that I can work out these potential issues within the next two months, which will hopefully get me started on the right foot on March 22nd.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood...

On Wednesday, January 5, 2011,  the company I work for granted me a leave of absence starting in March to pursue a lifelong dream of mine to hike the Appalachian Trail.  For those of you who don't know, the Appalachian Trail is over 2,000 miles long, and stretches from Georgia to Maine, following the route seen here: http://tinyurl.com/d5ls87. I'm aiming to start the hike on March 22nd, and will hopefully complete it sometime in September.  I'll be returning to work at the same company in November.  Words cannot adequately express how excited I am about this new adventure... it's been something that I've been daydreaming about for the past 15 years or so.  :)

While I don't have the next few months mapped out completely, they involve selling my possessions, moving out of my fantastic house, figuring out the logistics for keeping in touch with all of you (for example, this blog) and the logistics for spending 6+ months hiking), and (hopefully) getting to see or talk to most of you before I head south.

Thanks for your support and love... and, if you live somewhere near the trail, thanks in advance for the hot shower and place to sleep when I come through.  :)