One of my favorite reality TV shows is The Biggest Loser (the next season begins on October 15). One of the reasons that I like it so much is being able to watch people overcome obstacles and reach significant goals in their lives. I like the support the contestants receive from their trainers and from their fellow contestants. I enjoy seeing hard work pay off and dedication yield great gain (or in this case great loss…..of weight). One of the events that happens occasionally during a weigh-in involves a player that drops below 200 pounds – the contestants call this entering One-derland (Wonderland) as they move from the 200’s to the 100’s never to return again.
Well, today is One-derland for me as well. I leave for the Appalachian Trail in 199 days. My countdown has moved out of the 200’s and into the 100’s. It is 50 days till Thanksgiving; 57 days until my wife’s 39th birthday; 77 days to Christmas; 84 days to the New Year; 161 days to my birthday and 199 days to my first step on the Appalachian Trail! Not that I am counting or anything.
As the day approaches, the necessity to prepare becomes a priority for me. I try to hike every weekend possible. My goal is to hike 2200 miles before leaving on the 2200 mile hike. So far, since January 19, 2013, I have accumulated 1,378 miles. I have hiked the Grand Canyon, around my neighborhood, at various MetroParks, at State Parks, and back & forth to work. I have carried my backpack for most of those miles because I must get used to backpacking for long distances. And the crazy thing is – I have enjoyed every moment of it – hot, thirsty, cold, hungry, sore, and tired – I have loved being on the trail and walking the path.