During our 45-minute meeting on the side of the road, as action-packed as it was, my parents had a few moments to spare a word or two about the cottages they’d been in the past two nights (and in which I would spend that night). They sounded nice, but I was a hiking fool. I looked and smelled like I needed a shower, but I felt rested and energized and ready to hike my greasy head across another 13 mile stretch. The range of elevations would be only 1300 feet, with the change spread out over the whole day, and I was ready for an easy day. (Compare this with the multiple 2500 foot elevation changes of the previous day.) In fact, it would be even easier than it looked: the terrain was downright pleasant.
It’s getting so close to the day of reckoning now and there is so much to do! I still have a multitude of things on my to-do list and I wonder which ones are not going to get done. I have some idea. At least I can now scratch “Create A Trail Blog” off the list.
I’m head-starting the trail at Fontana Dam on March 11 in the morning. I want to get that part done with because it’s the only section Copper isn’t allowed to hike. He’ll be staying with my mom for those two weeks, and hopefully she’ll keep him in shape so his joints won’t be creaking when he joins me.
Here’s what my schedule looks like for the next week. Tomorrow is my send-off party, a huge affair my mom decided to throw that I’ve had to help with many of the preparations for and it has eaten up a good bit of my time. There has been a solid week-and-a-half of logistics and preparation for that affair. I hope everyone will enjoy it.
The guests arriving from the furthest away will be Steph and Leighton from Annapolis and Raleigh respectively. They will be staying the night Saturday night and accompanying me and Cop on our shake-out trip, which will run from Sunday to Wednesday. We’re going to do a fairly short loop I know up in the Cohutta Wilderness, only about 30-something miles, so it won’t be a particularly strenuous trip when spread out over four days, especially since we’ll be hitting the trail pretty early. If all works out in terms of power, expect to see a post with plenty of photos from that trip next Wednesday.
Next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be last-minute preparation days. Some time in there, I’ll be doing a post describing the gear I plan to start the trail with. I guarantee you’ll see some things there you’ve never seen before.
Sunday the 10th, my mom will proceed to drive me to the the Smokies, where we’ll spend the night. She’ll drop me at the trailhead on Monday morning, and then I’ll be off.
In general, I’m going to try to write something everyday, though I may combine several boring days into a single post sometimes, and get the post uploaded two days after the events it describes have finished. There may be some gaps where, say, I run out of power and have to write up the events ex post facto, but I’ll be as stingy with my power consumption as I can to avoid that whenever possible.
I expect I’ll hit Katahdin by July or August or so, then fly back to civilization for transference back to Fontana Dam. Then I’ll spend the last month or two hiking south back to Springer Mountain. And then I’ll decide how I want to spend my post-trail life.