I wish I’d originated that saying but it is credited to Prussian General Von Moltke (the elder) who must have said it sometime in the first half of the 19th Century. I am actually getting pretty tired of planning and I’m ready to get on with the show. I have been doing training hikes five times per week, sometimes on the AT and sometimes on trails near home. Because I don’t want to spend a lot of time driving, I keep hiking through the same places and I have to admit that it’s getting a little bit boring. I keep revisiting new gear options and buying lighter or more multifunction equipment and clothing, then sending some of it back and keeping the items that work better than what I had before. Finally, I’m reading a lot of trail journals, the AT Guidebook, and drafting walking schedules for the first few weeks and identifying possible resupply points. This is more planning than I really want to do but until I get started with the hike, I feel compelled to plan, plan, plan.
This past Sunday my wife and I drove down to Richmond and had dinner with close friends David and Ann, who hosted a nice dinner for us with our son and his fiancee. David is an avid hiker and a professional writer and had lots of questions for me. He also advised me to take a pencil rather than a pen for writing journal notes – thanks David!
For the past couple of days my wife and I have been visiting her mother, Jackie, in Norfolk, Virginia and yesterday I was able to spend some time with my terrific brother-in-law Robbie, my niece Robin, and a nephew-in-law Clint. It was great to see them. Robbie is a good friend and I love to be with him. Robin is a sweetheart and Clint is very interested in what I’m doing so he had lots of good questions.
Oh yeah, after my last post my wife said that I need to quit referring to her as “my wife” in the blog. So from now on she’s “the Princess” or just “Princess”. I probably don’t need to provide any explanation for this nickname, especially if you know her, so I won’t. Anyway, the Princess is still tolerating my constant discussion of the AT and my ongoing obsession with training and planning. It looks like she’ll be able to meet me after about three weeks on the trail and then again three or four weeks later. By that time I’ll be within a two-hour drive from home and she can continue to visit every three or four weeks for the middle portion of the trail. Tomorrow I will start putting together a bag for the Princess to bring with her in the car when she comes to visit. I’m going to include spare clothing, batteries, fuel canisters, food, etc. and hopefully she’ll add some calorie-rich cookies or brownies.
The local weather forecast for tomorrow is that we’ll get 6-12 inches of snow. We haven’t had that much snow in several years, so I hope the forecast is correct. I plan to go on a ten-mile hike tomorrow, so if we get the snow it will be nice to test out my clothing and footwear to see if I stay relatively warm and dry. The hardy souls who are already out on the AT have been suffering through some really cold weather down in Georgia and North Carolina and I’ve read their journal entries about how miserable it can get. I admire their toughness and courage for starting so early and hiking through the harsh weather and I certainly hope that spring arrives real soon.
The last big event before I start hiking the trail is my son’s wedding which will be in Las Vegas. I’ll be out of town for nine days for the wedding plus a short visit to my Mom’s house in Southern California. When I get back home from this trip I’ll have four full days to make final preparations and then drive down to Georgia. My father lives about 30 minutes from Springer Mountain and we’ll stay with him for one night, then I’ll start the hike. It’s so exciting to be counting down the days!
My next post will probably be an updated list of equipment, clothing and food for the beginning of the hike. I looked back at my previous post on this subject and I’ve made quite a few changes, so I’d like to update the list and have an accurate record to look back on. It also may be helpful for anyone else who is thinking of hiking the AT.
I’ll close for now…gotta get ready for the big snow storm.