HikeItForward-Final-MediumMy adventure on the Appalachian Trail is less than five weeks away – 34 days!

This week is filled with TAXES and completing an online leadership course that I am facilitating for Indiana Wesleyan University.  I have a wonderful tax consultant who does all my forms for me but I still need to accumulate all the documentation, receipts, charts and possible deductions so that she can make sense out of my life. It will be great to get that in the mail – goal: Friday of this week

The class for IWU is a short, two-week praxis, working with master level students as they prepare to write their theses. I enjoy the research process (especially when others are doing all the hard work) and helping adult students hone their scholarship skills. It has involved a lot of reading and grading on my part, but I hope that my insights can benefit these students – goal: class ends on Friday – grading complete by Monday.

After these two tasks are completed, my mind will focus even more on trail preparation – finalizing on the list of gear, my itinerary for the hike, my resupply spots and mail drops. Nailing down the contents of my backpack will necessitate a few trips to REI (in person or online or both). Weighing every piece of clothing and equipment, I hope to provide my back with as light a pack as possible. I will let you know the total weight in a couple of weeks.

And of course, I have miles to hike before the end of April. The fierce lion’s head still seems to be affixed to the face of March – I am waiting for the lamb to take over. SPRING is here! Someone needs to tell March. I feel badly for the folks on the trail right now as they persevere through cold and wet conditions and I am thankful that my hike day is still a month away.

NC Border Sign on the AT

NC Border Sign on the AT

I attended a strategic planning meeting all day Saturday at my school. It was very interesting, quite insightful and down-right exciting (I usually don’t describe meetings with these adjectives) to hear the report back from various action groups and see the plan take shape with tangible initiatives and clarity of focus. After lunch I had a board member approach me and ask about my hike. After some delightful conversation about my journey, he said, “I remember that you wanted people to sponsor you by the state – has anybody taken North Carolina, yet?” I shared that NC was still available. He smiled and commented, “If I remember right, you were suggesting $5,000 per state, would be open to $2,000?” I immediately thrust forward my hand and enthusiastically declared, “SOLD!” A hand shake, two great grins, one generous individual and one excited thru-hiker-wannabe sealed the deal. What an unexpected gift at an unanticipated time that brought wonderful encouragement to my heart.

NC/GA border photo found at :

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