I like numbers and keeping track of milestones. I am not a statistician or a great analyst but I enjoy counting down the days to deadlines and tracking significant accomplishments. Two of these types of numbers jumped out at me recently. On Wednesday of this week, the countdown to the Appalachian Trail will be at 80 days. I remember how excited I was when the number went below 100 days – that was three weeks ago and wow three weeks from today will put me at the 60 day mark. If the last of April results in a deluge of a week’s worth of rain or six inches of snow in Georgia, I might postpone a few days to start in better conditions. But, if all goes as planned, 80 days will put me at Springer Mountain. I thought about the time frame and realized that Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg traveled around the world in only 80 days. Eighty days into the hike will feel a whole lot different than 80 days anticipating the hike. With the cold weather it has been difficult to envision the spring and summer trail but the first warm breeze will energize the toe bones and put a bounce in my sandals.
The other cool thing for me is that this post marks over 140 blog entries. I have so enjoyed researching and reading about the A.T. Putting my thoughts on paper, sharing some of the facts that I am uncovering from others, hiking from state to state on paper (virtual paper that is), and journaling about my hikes of preparation have been quite therapeutic. I have liked the challenge of trying to tell a story via a keypad and a laptop screen that captures some of the emotion of the hike…fear, freedom, frustration filled with hills, humor, and hopefulness. Putting together lots of information about the different states (I’m still working on Maine), the variety of wildlife that could eat me or fill me camera with great memories, the ice cream challenge, the high mountains, the panoramic views, and the shady valleys of the AT have forced me to systematically study the 2200 miles before I take my first step. There’s lots more to consider before the end of April. I wish to thank you for checking out my blog and taking an interest in my journey.