Appalachian Trail, Blogging, Everyday

Here, is where I belong

The other day I had a friend that I haven’t talked to for a while email and ask me if I was still going to hike the trail.  See, I had planned on doing a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine in the spring of 2017 (see blog posts starting here).  He lived in Georgia at the time and was considering starting off with me just for the weekend.  Things in my life changed and as my start date got closer and closer (April 10th), I realized that this year was not going to be the right time for me.  Even though I was a little disappointed I was also a little relieved.  The year before I was in a weird place in my life where I felt like I needed to alter my viewpoint and what better place to do that then on a 2100+ mile trek?  I felt the need to walk out of my life and walk into a trail life for what could be over 6 months.  Although my family and friends were supportive, I think they were all relieved as well that I had changed my mind.

A couple of months before what would have been my start date, I had let one of my 13-year-old cats cross the rainbow bridge because she was loosing her battle with cancer.  It was devastating and as I was going through those emotions, I couldn’t even imagine leaving my husband and our other cat behind at the time.  So April came and went and then in the summer I had to face an even bigger loss in my family when my father passed away from cancer as well.  If I had been on the trail, I might have been too late to have ever said goodbye and I can’t imagine how my life would have been after that.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and there was a higher power that was holding me back from the hike so that I would be able to be with my loved ones in a massive time of need.

I replied back to my friend that, for now, I didn’t have a new start date in mind.  Not that I would rule it out for the rest of my life but that my life had changed so much in the past 6 months that I have been looking at it differently.  I told him that “…before my father died, I felt the need to find myself on the trail, but after he died I feel like I have found myself right where I am.  If that makes sense”.

And even though I don’t know exactly what 2018 is going to look like, I am confident that I will discover even more of who I am, right here where I belong.

 

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Appalachian Trail

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 mtnGLO

I bought my tent for my AT thru hike about a week ago.  It is a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 with mtnGLO technology.  I was going to wait until it got closer to my trip, but I am trying to save money wherever I can.  I found it on Amazon on sale for only $359 (normal retail is $479), plus I had a $50 gift card.  It wound up being a $170 savings overall.

I went with this particular tent because both of the people in the blogs I have been following use it and the thru hiker gear list on, Appalachiantrail.com recommend it too.  The main difference between mine and all of theirs, is the color and that I have the little lights on the inside.  It is listed as a two person tent.  The solo hiker I follow, has been using it for the additional space for her gear and a couple I follow, have been using the 3 person, again for the same reason.  I would like my pack to be inside with me (except for my food), plus for now, my husband and I can enjoy it too.  The tent itself is classified as a ultra light tent and weighs in at under 4 pounds.  It won the 2015 Editors Choice Award from Backpacker magazine as well.   I opted for the mtnGLO because the prices and weight difference were so minimal that I thought it would be a nice little touch that could come in handy.

The mtnGLO adds a small strip of LED lights to the inner frame of the tent and can be turned on and off from a small switch that hangs above you.  I know I plan on reading/blogging in the evenings when it is too early to sleep but too late to keep hiking.  This way I won’t have to use a headlamp or flashlight and it might come in handy for the middle of the night bathroom needs as well.  In away those little LEDs will probably also provide a small sense of security too.

It has been rainy here last week, so I haven’t had a chance to open it up and set it up yet.  Today I was better; just overcast and breezy.  So I went out to the common grounds in front of our condo and attempted to set her up!  First attempt was a fail!  I got everything out, but had no idea how exactly the polls were to fit into the grommets at the conners.  I was afraid it was going to be too taunt and rip or bend something.  So back inside and onto YouTube I went!  I found this video and it was very helpful!  I figured out that it was ok if the polls “bend” a little and that they wouldn’t break or tear anything.

Back outside for attempt number two.  It was a success!  The breeze was a pain because it wanted to throw the tent body and rainfly everywhere, but overall it was really easy.  Since this was just a trial run, I didn’t stake anything down (that’s why the rainfly looks saggy).  I was pretty proud of myself and excited to see my future home standing up!  I forgot to test the LED lights but could see the little switch to turn them on and off hanging from above.  Once I officially camp in my tent I will make sure to take some day and night pictures of it as well.

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This is how it comes all packed up

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Everything out of main bag and instructions are on the inside flap

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Instructions (still needed to watch a video because I am a visual learner!)

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Polls, stakes, and tent body

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Everything spread out and polls put together

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Tent without rainfly
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Tent with saggy rainfly (not staked down)

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Appalachian Trail, Fitness, Running, Vegan

Soggy start to the day

This morning was quite the work out.  I was pretty tired form only getting about 4 hours of sleep the night before.  Husband was sick (and is alright now) so we didn’t get to be until about 11:30.  Then at about 3am my cat decided to throw up too!  So much fun!  Anyways back to the work out!

I can totally feel myself getting stronger and stronger.  I have maintained the same weight but I can see a definite change in my overall phasic.  Getting more toned and less giggly in certain parts.  I would still love to have abs but my arms and shoulders as well as my legs are defiantly changing.  Good thing too because I need to stay in tip top shape in order to prepare my body for more strenuous things…… like say doing a thru hike on the AT!

I actually got a little taste of “trail weather” this morning.  We were sitting at a nearly 100% chance of rain for most of the morning hours.

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It wasn’t raining when I got to the gym, but it was pouring when I needed to leave.  I came prepared; with my rain jacket and my hiking shoes.  It’s only about a half mile to my house, but much of the neighborhood I walk through is in a flood zone.  At times my whole foot was submerged in water!  My hiking shoes were not the ones I would wear on the trail.  They we meant for drier weather.  They are the Keen Marshall hiking shoe.  Great shoe for warmer weather, dry, hiking.  Very breathable with its mesh upper.  They do make a waterproof version (new version called the Saltzman WP) of the same shoe that I may take a look at in the future.

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Keen Marshall

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Keen Saltzman WP

I also got to see how my rain jacket would perform in more then just a drizzle !  I have a Patagonia Torrentshell and it did pretty well this morning.  It only takes me about 10-15 mins to walk home and I stayed mostly dry.  My hair was still dry and my torso was too.  My arms got a little “damp” but I think that was from holding them up to make sure my hood stayed down (since it was windy too).  If they had remained down by my side the whole time, I may have stayed a little drier.  But by no means was the top half of me soaked.  I don’t know how dry I would have stayed after an hour, but then I don’t know if there is a jacket out there that promises to keeps you 100% dry after hours on end.  If there is one that you know of, please leave me a link in the comments!

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Patagonia Women’s Torrentshell Jacket

Walking out in the rain was invigorating! It made me feel happy in away. There were spots along the way home that I had no choice but to walk in ankle high water. I could hear thunder and see lightening too, but they were far enough apart that I could tell the source of the lightening was about 2 miles away.  I didn’t run, but I did hurry home and was even laughing at times.  There was nothing I could do to change the situation I was in, but I knew I just had to keep moving forward.

One hour, one on one work out @6am

Warm up 5k bike, 1000m row, 200m ski

First Set x4

  • Captains chair, leg raise (up and over) x20
  • Glute bridge with 65 lbs barbell x15

Second set x5

  • Dumbbell thrusters (bi) x4  (4 sets 20 lbs x8), (1 set 22 lbs x8)

Third set x4

  • Deadlift with 135 lbs barbell x5
  • Inverted row x10

Cool down .6 mile “trek” home

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