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Kythruhiker - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2011

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Ed Williams
City: Beattyville
State: KY
Country: US
Begins: Mar 26, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Feb 2nd, 2011
Start: Kentucky
End: Kentucky
Daily Distance: 0
Entry Lat: 37.569681
Entry Lng: -83.400983

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,464
Journal Visits: 1,499
Guestbook Views: 331
Guestbook Entrys: 4

Gear list Training

Appalachian Trail Map

(Click image for full size)


Dad

And so it begins...

Many moons ago, all my belongings in a storage building, my house lease expired, and a six month leave of absence secured from my employer, I made a last minute decision to forego a thru attempt of the AT. Regrets are never a good thing to have but even knowing the fact that the trail was going nowhere and would be ready for me when I was ready for it wasnt much solace. Funny how ones priorities can differ so much from the reality of the day to day situation. Long story short, the last ten years have included far too little hiking and backpacking. AT Trail Days has been attended sporadically, quite a few miles have been hiked on the AT and in other locales, but the elusive AT thru hike has never come.

Life, being the fickle bitch it is, throws us all sorts of obstacles. Some we can overcome, some we just bite the bullet and grunt through the pain, and some that teach us lessons well grow from. Eleven months ago on the 7th, I lost my father to brain cancer. It seems like during the majority of my adulthood, my father and I could never see eye to eye on how one should balance work and play. My dad, life-long hard worker, believed that if you work hard, youll be rewarded in the end and have a retirement in which to enjoy the spoils of your labor. Id like to think, at least early in my career, I could credit Dad for an excellent work ethic. But somewhere along the way, my values changed. Somewhere in the midst of an 80+ hour work week, flying to the next client, I realized how miserable the non-stop life of corporate servitude was making me. So my life choices started to change. I started living more for the moment, and Ive made plenty of mistakes along the way, but learned from them, and to quote a good friend and fellow wood hippie, occasionally had to FIDO (Fuck It Drive On).

Dad never got to enjoy the spoils of his labors. He spent what little retirement he had suffering in pain and still trying to accomplish hard work, which is what he truly loved doing. It wasnt easy watching such a strong man reduced to what brain cancer reduces you to. At one point during Dads journey he told me to make sure if I wanted to do something to do it. A lesson he learned far too late in life. A lesson that is echoed to me in almost every shift I work as an EMT. The fragility of life is not to be taken for granted, there is truly no promise of tomorrow. We only get one go round, use it or lose it.

So...FIDO. Im hitting the AT in mid to late March (watching the mountain weather closely for a firm start date although it is looking to be March 26th or 27th) and headed North to Maine. Im not the consummate writer but I do hope to document this trip so you, dear journal readers, can keep track of my trials and tribulations. Being a techno-dork, Ive spent many hours (far too many) deciding how to keep this thing updated. Ive finally broke down and ordered a smartphone (Droid X on Verizon) so I can journal and post along the way, hopefully adding the occasional picture to the journal. As time and interest allow, I also hope to have the occasional Facebook/Twitter status update as to my whereabouts. Ill have a more complete photo collection online when/if the SD cards make it back to someone to upload. Or, if all the above falls through I hope to see many of you after I return from Maine!

Im currently working on adding my gear list so you can see what I have in the portable travel trailer on my back more to follow soon.

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Journal Photo

AT 2011

"If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again--if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man--then you are ready for a walk." - from Thoreau's essay on walking

 

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