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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: Mar 21, 2012
Date: Mon, Mar 19th, 2012
Entry Visits: 1,099
Journal Visits: 48,739
Guestbook Views: 4,751
Guestbook Entrys: 94
So why the AT this year? It’s never been a trail that has really attracted me. It’s often referred to as the long green tunnel because much of it runs through forested areas and the opportunities for wonderful views day after day I believe are limited. The weather is usually much wetter, hotter and more humid and I have to admit I am a fair weather hiker and do not like hot weather or rain very much. At least there isn’t likely to be any snow – at least I hope that’s the case. There are shelters all along the way that have to be used because camping opportunities aren’t as prevalent. Finally, it’s way more crowded than any of the other trails I have been on. I’ve read that close to 3000 attempt a thru hike every year.
I’m still disappointed having to suspend my CDT hike last year even though I’m still convinced it was the right decision at the time. But I am determined to go finish the CDT soon. So with all that, attempting the AT this year seems even to me an odd decision. But I have been antsy all winter to get back out on the trail and the AT does offer an early opportunity. The predominant starting month is March so I can start much earlier. With such low expectations of the trail, I think it can only be a much more exciting and challenging experience than I’m imagining. If I want to achieve the triple crown of hiking all three of the major national scenic trails, then the AT has to be done sometime, so why not now? I’m not getting any younger, so there aren’t that many years my body will hold up to the rigors of long distance hiking. So that was my rationale – a little weak but something to justify in my mind. Fortunately, Ann, my wife is on board – she did her usual rolling of the eyes when I told her, but she is already in the swing of putting the supply boxes together. I am so lucky to have such strong family support. Our son Matthew has offered again to clean up my journal entries before they appear in Postholer so that hopefully they won’t read like wild ramblings of a crazy man.
Another interesting feature of the AT is that it is extremely well marked with white blazes every 100 yds or so. It certainly isn’t the navigation challenge (or nightmare depending on your perspective) of the CDT. I’ve decided not to take maps or compass since I’ve never heard of anyone getting really off course. However, because I want to maintain my daily Spot “I’m OK” messages, I will be carrying my gps and I do have the AT track on it with all of the shelters identified. So if I ever do get to the point where I’m wondering whether I’ve got displaced (I never use the “L” word), I’ll have the gps to fall back on. I also bought the AT guide which is a mile by mile listing of key features of the AT such as road crossings, trail junctions, shelters, water sources, town maps and the like. So I think I’ll be OK with all of this. Talking of Spot, once I get started, if you click the link at the bottom of the yellow box, it’ll take you to a map of the area and you can see where I am each day. Because the AT comes so close to big areas of civilization, I’m sure many readers will be able to recognize many of the areas I pass through or close by. With the AT guide, it’ll be easy to compute daily mileage, so I will include my progress with each entry so you can get a better feel of how well I’m doing (or not). Also, I’m sure you don’t realize how much I enjoy and appreciate your guestbook messages of encouragement, support and humor. I get to see them on the phone each time I find a data connection, so please don’t hesitate to keep sending them at regular intervals. I’ll thank you now in anticipation.
The pictures are from our recent Jan/Feb trip to England and Catalonia, Spain plus my recent ski trip to Utah. I put these in just as another test of the image shrinking app. By the way, the Sagrada Familia is Barcelona's most poular attraction. This massive cathedral was designed by Gaudi and they have been building it for over 150 years. Completion is anticipated sometime between 2020 and 2040. Not my taste in architecture - I'm told it was from Gaudi that the English word gawdy was derived. You can see why.
Tomorrow is my flight to Atlanta. Must get back to all my last minute chores.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Part Trois
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more: www.appalachiantrail.org
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