Life has been busy! I’m writing this blog with six weeks to go until our March 11th start date. Since retiring on January 1st I’ve been going through my entire house and cleaning it out/ fixing it up so we can put it on the market before the end of February. Also, my wife requested I get thoroughly checked out by my doctor before attempting the AT, which has turned into referrals to other doctors to visit. Unfortunately there are family history concerns that require extra attention. But the good news is that with most of the poking and prodding and scanning outta the way I’ve still got the green light to go.
Show me the money!
On the hiking side of life I’ve just about finished making my gear purchases. There are so many little things to get beyond the pack, tent and quilt! It’s easy to get stressed out while obsessing over what brands to spend your money on; what needs and need-not-be in your pack; what methods/materials you’ll use to cook and clean; and how much and what kind of clothing to bring along. But I’ve put in the effort and feel pretty good about my choices- we’ll see?!?! I’ll be sure to post my gear list soon.
Walking the Walk
I have continued to train. Last week I took my longest hike to date, from my house to my parents’ and back. It was 18 miles total with cars whizzing by me the entire way. Most of the time there was a greenway system, but for about a third I was walking on the not-so-great grassy shoulder area. I only had about 1,000 feet elevation gain and the hike took just shy of 5.5 hours. By the end of it my shoulders hurt, but it felt good to have walked that far and still feel like I had more in the tank… which was important since I had to go back to cleaning out the attic that afternoon!
I want to throw a shout out to my AT mentor- Jerry. I worked with both he and his wife, Cappy, at the local middle school. Cappy is a long distance hiker too. Jerry hiked most of the AT last year under the trail name Whistler (NOT the same guy from the Whistler’s Walk book). He has been a huge help to me in choosing gear and proffering advice. When I filled him in on the details of my 18 mile hike he gave me some great advice for adjusting my backpack in order to alleviate the shoulder pain. It’s so good I’ll include it here in case it can help others. In his words, via text, Whistler told me to: “Loosen all straps. Bend over when you put the pack on. Hike it up and tighten the hip belt. Then as you straighten pull the load leveling shoulder straps (if your pack has them). As you stand you’ll feel the pack settle on your hips. Clip your chest strap, then loosen the load leveling straps to allow 90%of the weight onto the hips. Your shoulder straps should be lightly resting on your shoulders. Throughout the day tighten and loosen the chest strap so the shoulder straps are not resting on the same spot all day.” What great advice! I’ve done a couple shorter 2 hour hikes since then and definitely noticed the difference. Thank you Whistler. And please stand by for me to pester you with more questions!
Well, I’ll wrap it up for this blog. So far I’ve done these monthly, but I’m going to pick up the pace as there is a learning curve to blogging on The Trek from a smart phone and I can use the practice. I know I’ll be too tired after a long day’s hike to try and read an instruction manual for blogging, that’s for sure!
Until next time!
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