Monday, July 23, 2007

My first online journal

Well, I'm kind of written-out today and I did say that sometime when I didn't have anything else to say I'd start transcribing my old journals from my attempted 1998 thru-hike. Here goes:

8am, Comfort Suite, Cumming, GA--April 19

I surprised myself these past few weeks at how sedate I felt about this whole enterprise--the planning was done, it was just a matter of crossing things off my list until today arrived--and even though leaving Philadelphia was hard, I didn't really feel nervous until now. I've woken up to grey skies and rain. It will still take us a few hours to get to Springer. Perhaps it will clear.

6pm--Hawk Mountain Shelter

Lots of hikers here, some thru-, some section and more arriving. The rain kept up 'til about 1, the grey skies kept up til about 20 minutes after we reached the shelter. I'm glad of it, actually, having the first rainy day be the first day, it means I won't get lulled in by blue skies and then be tempted to sit out the first rainy one. All the trees around the shelter are festooned with wet gear. My rain stuff worked great--pants and jacket from X, lightweight, breathable, water resistant *not* waterproof, but if today is any indication that's all I'll need. Also making me very happy--X hiking poles and Diva Dog's no-pull halter. When she's on leash we look like an 8-legged, 2-sectioned pack animal. Which I suppose we are. She's learning the "stay back" command--the poles have helped in teaching it since once she's behind me she'll trip over a pole if she tries to come forward. And the halter has perfectly solved the pulling-vs.-choke-collar dilemma. When she comes to the end of the leash the halter tightens under her "armpits" and, magically, she stops.

I'm not going to try to name everyone here--I haven't caught everyone's name(s), for one thing, and there are about 12 of us, for another. There were a group of section hikers, also trail maintainers, who have since headed on to make more miles, but who first generously helped me with me stove; there are 2 high school seniors from Columbus, OH hiking about 500 miles for their senior project (cool high school, hunh?); there's a sibling group of four who have dyed their hair to match each others'; a couple of familiar names from the internet; and a total of three dogs. Among others.

Oh yes, my nervousness from this morning. It lasted pretty much up 'til I reached the terminus plaque on top of Springer. I had it to myself, and it was kind of a "this is it?" experience, so I turned around and headed north. (Mom dropped me at USFS 42, which means hiking south to get to the terminus.) On Friday as I was driving away from E. High School, where I tutor, I had to gasp for breath at what I was leaving. I've had a fantastic year with the kids there and ended on a strong note with them. It was impossible to picture what I would be doing instead. Walking by Long Falls this afternoon I had a similar experience--it took my breath away that I was just a glance away from such beauty and I will be every day for the next 150. Still hard to imagine, but here I am doing it.


Moishe said...

Mitten Chick! I can't wait to (re)read all this... hope things are going well. Email me sometime at moishel at gmail dot com.

S. said...

Hey, I'm glad you're reading! You definitely turn out to be the star of this journal. :)