COUTNDOWN – 2 DAYS to the Appalachian Trail!
I thought that life would slow down just a bit as I got closer to my hike. However, today (my last day in the office) was an exciting day and a whirlwind of activity. Mr. Kurtz (my great friend, English Teacher at the school and my pastor) along with some special students/friends held two different balloon launches for me. The elementary and middle school students (K-8) all gathered in the courtyard and made a huge circle around the sidewalks. I came dressed in my hiking threads and supporting my backpack. I “hiked” around the circle giving high fives and saying goodbye to the students. At the direction of the principal all the students released their balloons and raised their voices in the spirit of the fun event. About an hour later, the high school students arranged the same kind of send-off. TV media was there to record the event and the balloons filled the air with hope and color. I felt so supported by the students and many expressed true excitement for my hike.
After my two helium, uplifting farewells, I found a note on my desk that I was to call a local radio station (WFCJ) for an interview at 4:30. After fitting a personnel interview between the balloons and the phone call, I was able to talk about my adventure on the radio. The interviewer was so friendly and asked great leading questions allowing me to share lots of details about the thru-hike. By the time the end of the day, I had experienced a great deal of support and encouragement but had to leave the office with a short list of undone “to do” tasks. I have complete confidence in those who will fulfill my responsibilities while I am gone, so I closed my office door and walked to my car with a true peace of mind.
Cathy and I leave tomorrow morning for Georgia. We hope to arrive early in the afternoon and spend some quality hours with my son and his beautiful family. The weather shows rain most of the day but Cathy and I will still have a great time of sharing and conversation as we head south. I will have to talk about every topic I can think of in order to satisfy my need to hear Cat’s voice for 120-150 days!
The weather looks terribly wet for the Dayton area next week. Georgia does not look quite as damp. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday look mostly sunny – Tuesday, Wednesday and part of Thursday could hold some showers – then the next Friday and Saturday reflect a 0% chance of rain and highs in the upper 60s and low 70s. If this is reality, I will rejoice in those conditions – although I have seen the forecasts change drastically from day to day.
I am excited about getting started and experiencing the journey before me!