So finally today, I’m on the train and heading south. It’s an emotional day, the first day of an adventure always is this way. Little sleep, wake up early, double even triple check everything and of course the one rule of travel. You always forget something. For me today it was both my debit and AAA cards. Remembered the debit card in time, the AAA card is left behind.
Always a bundle of nerves initially and then standing at the station a woman cautiously walks up to me and says, “heading to Georgia?” I smiled big, she was a 2008 thru-hiker and we had a great conversation.
Getting into Penn Station and headed for the train, it was my turn as I said to a couple, heading to Georgia?” They smiled big. Turned out to be John Stewart so there were now two famous names heading for the trail.
On the train we fell into immediate and easy conversation, we have the same anxieties, questions, excitements. We are all carrying too much food, right? We immediately talk about gear, the hiker’s equivalent to how’s the weather. it’s nice to have this conversation, they are good people and I’m taking it as a good omen.
Today I’m traveling solo but not alone, I bring pieces of people with me both mentally and physically.
My medicine bag from KC with a drawing from my youngest niece, and Ganesh from Stephanie.
I have a good luck charm from Kim and Lhakpa in Nepal. A book from my family. A piece of a quilt from my friend Meleah, anything you carry on this trip has to be precious because weight is so important.
We carry a lot in our heads as well and we hope to throw off that weight with the miles. So to my three questions, what was the most beautiful thing I saw today, that would have to be the scenery out of the train window.
What made me happy today is easy, getting on the road. What I learned today was that other thru-hiker’s are in the same space I’m in and that made for a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane
I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that? ~ Soledad O’Brien
So tonight is my last night before the journey starts, I’m excited and nervous and running a million things through my head. Tomorrow morning I will board an Amtrak train for Atlanta with a brief hour and a half layover in Penn Station. Enough time for one last legitimate piece of pizza before I leave NY. About 19 hours later I’ll arrive in Atlanta at 8AM on a Sunday morning.
Because it’s stuck in my brain I’ll share the worm, On the Road Again
I will spend two days in Atlanta, to see one of my best friends, kick around Atlanta a bit and pamper myself for a couple of days in a really nice hotel. On Tuesday morning I’ll jump on MARTA to hook up with Survivor Dave and a couple of other thru-hikers to head to Amicalola Falls State Park. I’ll transition easy into the thru-hiker life on the AT, a night in the lodge, then a 5 mile hike the next day to the Hike Inn for a less posh evening. Then finally the next morning after a year of planning and scheming, of buying sooooo much gear and changing my mind so many times about what to bring, I’m off.
My plan is simple, 8-10 mile days and an arrival into Neels Gap on the third day. The first few days will really be a live fire check-out run, get things dialed in and start to adapt to trail life. I look forward to when get up, tear down, hike, set up and sleep becomes a routine. The beauty of all of that is nothing about it will be boring or routine. I look forward to warmer clear nights where I can take the rain fly off of the hammock and stare up at the stars until I fall asleep.
There will be so many milestones to look forward to, my first state border, then 13 more. I look forward to seeing my first bear, climbing Clingman’s Dome, then getting out of the Smokies, jumping off trail in NC and VA to visit friends, my first resupply run, my first hitchhiked ride, my first trail angel, my first successful yogi’ing and especially to my first new friend on the trail. There will be adversity of course, blisters, turned ankles or knees, sore feet, incredibly hard days, rain and I look forward to all of it. Truly, all of it is the experience because you never know how many of those 5,000,000 million steps to Katahdin you’ll get to take, but I’m hoping to take and relish every single step.
Lot’s of thank you’s to go out to folks, first to David Miller the writer of the AT Guide, AWOL is a great guy, super accessible and helpful, he was in fact my first pre-hike trail angel and I look forward to meeting him in person at Trail Days in Damascus. My friends and family who have been supportive even when they didn’t have an idea or understand why in the hell I’m doing this. To Scot Gauvin and the Potable Aqua ATCrew2015 and my fellow crew members, I look forward to seeing you all at some point on the trail, even if it’s a high five when you’re going SOBO. To Phoddo, a Twitter friend, it’s been great to have someone to stress with via Twitter. Finally, to the readers of the Ministry of Happiness, we talk a lot about living a happy life, so time to stop talking the talk and to fully start walking the walk and of course having many happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane
Check out from Rev at The Ministry of Happiness
And now for a quick break in the radio silence.
Ten weeks from today, I'll be hanging out at a campsite along the Appalachian Trail. Nine weeks from yesterday will be my last day at work. It doesn't seem real.
Hike PrepA few folks have asked how planning for the hike has been going. I have to quickly think about it before answering because, though I do feel busy, I don't feel like I've been thinking about actual AT prep all that much. Things are in a pretty good place on that front. I've written up what I think will be my final list for gear. There are a few items that I still need to sort through, and those are marked with an asterisk. (This might change if you read this post after I leave, at which point the gear list should be completely finalized.) Many of the items with asterisks just need to be weighed for total pack weight.
Something to keep in mind is that thru-hiking the AT can be viewed as stringing together a lot of 3-6 day backpacking trips. Every few days, I'll have access to a town where I can restock on food and pick up packages. I don't plan on doing mail drops, but if there's a piece of gear or clothing that I realize I should have gotten, then it's an easy enough thing to have Amazon ship it out to where I'll be. I feel a lot more comfortable not having everything "perfect" before I head south after stumbling a bit on last November's 5 day shakedown hike in Virginia.
Other Prep, etc.There are other things that have been happening over the last few weeks, though, that have kept me busy. Here's a quick sampling.
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