CAN I GO?

scout-2-18-17-allentown-shelter

Which way is Maine, Dad? Can I go too?

Scout was ready. He heard the harness come out of the drawer and was all over me. He has been my hiking/training partner helping me try to get my “older” body into reasonable shape to take on the Appalachian Trail. Sadly, little Scout will not be joining me on March 21st when I sign in at Springer Mountain and try not to make too big of a fool of myself.

We did an out/overnight and return this weekend to the Allentown shelter on the AT. Scout helped pull me up the hills and investigated the blowing leaves and the critical caws of the local crows as we passed underneath. It was unusually warm this weekend and the Enlightened quilt was quite toasty even though the temperatures only dropped into the 40’s overnight. Well worth the investment. Also, the Thermarest pad was very comfortable. I didn’t spend a lot of money on my kit but the quilt and pad were the exceptions. Sleep is so very important to the next day’s stamina, both physical and mental.

So Scout will stay at home and help Mom fill and send the rescue boxes. I guess I’ll have to get up those Georgia hills all by myself until my hiker legs kick in. They will, won’t they?

15 thoughts on “CAN I GO?

  1. Yeah! Congrats! Glad you’ve set a date. I’m looking forward to following your adventure. Yes! Your trail legs will kick in. 🙂 You can do it!!!

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    • 44 years in the making (graduated college in 1973). I’ll tell all the college kids that this is my “gap” year. It just took a while to kick in. Career, marriage, kids, mortgage all got in the way. So I’m really only 23 in Trail time. Wish my legs would buy that theory.

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  2. I was so excited when I read your post!! We’ll get in touch before you leave and I’ll give you contact info in case you need anything in Maine as the bulk of the AT is in what I refer to as my backyard. All the 4000 footers. That’s why I started here in 2015 as I felt comfortable. At least as comfortable as one can be scrambling rocks and never ending roots. Plenty of water here too which is good. I’m banging Katahdin out again end of summer. Working on getting leg muscles/strength back after a year of not using them much (sort of hard when you can’t see the floor). So excited for you!

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  3. You may recall I didn’t finish; got to CT/NY area and stress fracture from a fall. But I wasn’t disappointed as I’m a “stuff” person and carrying my world in a backpack didn’t really work for me. Plus never a shortage of trails or 4000 footers close to home. Loved The Whites
    HATED entering NH though. The Mahoosinic aye yi yi! Pretty when I look back at photos. One thing I’m extremely glad I sprung for was a 2 way satellite communicator. I went with Delorme and even though a text that I sent near Spaulding Mountain in Maine took almost 330 minutes to arrive, at least it went. Plus I was able to map out points using their software on my laptop so everything was on the receiver; water sources etc.

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  4. Hey Mike, given that I am scheduled for my second knee replacement the first week in March, I will sit out this trek and root for you from the sidelines. If you haven’t already read it, pick up a copy of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in The Woods and take it with you. Add one step every day on behalf of me and I’ll bend my new knee for you likewise…and c’mon, won’t Scout fit in one of those pockets in your backpack?

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    • At 10 months he is already over 9 pounds. When I get to PA I may invite him to do some of the sections with me. He is an avid hiker and loves every minute of it. Especially the other people and dogs we meet along the way. A regular good will ambassador. I have read Bryson’s book which is far and away better than the butcher job Redford did on screen. Nolte stole the movie. Look for updates from the trail. I’m not promising Pulitzer quality but will make an effort. Fat fingers and aging eyes make phone typing a chore.

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  5. Mike…Consider buying a cheap tablet with keyboard attachment..doesn’t weigh much and it gives your fingers and eyes a fighting chance…plus you can download books on it to read…prices on them are pretty good these days…I just went to amazon and searched “tablets” and a bunch of ’em came up…just buttin’ in from the sidelines here.

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    • Thanks. I have considered this and decided I will try the phone (5″ LG android) for the first month then decide if I want to add the tablet and bluetooth keyboard. The added weight and size is not a major issue though every ounce is felt over distance. I’m just not sure I want to “complicate” my kit. The phone will do everything I need to do and if I keep my missives short, should be enough. Less to worry about “walking away” when my pack is unattended. 24 days, not that I’m counting…

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  6. Good luck Mike. I am the guy with the THRU: An Appalachian Love Story blog. I am also serving as a Trail Ambassador from time to time at the Amicalola Falls Visitors Center. Having hiked the AT twice — the first time 44 years ago — I wish you the very best.

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    • Whoa! A fellow author AND another 44. I have adopted the trail name “44”. I found myself using that number talking about my upcoming thru on one of my “practice” hikes in PA. I was joking with some “younger” guys at the shelter and telling them that I was hiking during my “gap” year after graduating college. Trouble was that I graduated in 1973 and instead of hiking that year as I planned, life got in the way. So, now it’s 44 years later and I get to take my gap year to hike, a little late. “44” it is. You got to do it back when ultra lite wasn’t invented yet. I still have that rigid aluminum frame pack down in the basement, Ha! Hiker Hostel and then to Springer on the 21st. See you up the trail.

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