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Happy St. Valentine’s Day


This is it!

Have you ever woken up one day to decide that you were going to hike the Appalachian Trail? Me neither. While it was an epiphany, it didn’t happen overnight. The trigger was that I turned fifty and realized that while I loved the outdoors growing up and was in a very active Boy Scout troop for six years, I raised four children with only a handful of fishing and camping excursions. I vowed that I’d make up for the thirty years of sloth by making sure the next thirty years are exceptional. I can’t go back and correct my mistakes, but I do believe that it is never too late to start doing the right thing.

And I got lucky, too. My oldest son decided he’d join me on the AT thru-hike. I mean, he is really into it and he blogs over at http://freerangehiking.com

The boy is a post-traumatic Afghanistan combat vet, a medic and on-site medical dude for the planet’s largest online retailer. He’s already chosen his career path with them, and they will support his thru-hike with a package of paid and unpaid leave, as well as the opportunity to cash in some employee purchased company stocks. I’ve put in my profile details that we’ll be hiking in 2020, but that is the latest date we will complete it, hopefully we’ll get everything lined up much sooner than that.

As soon as I can get the cash socked aside to pay my bills for four months and have enough left over to purchase food for the trail, I’ll be on trail the following April 1st. That may be 2017 but definitely before 2021.

To fill in the time between then and now, the boy and I are hiking dern near every weekend in the southern Indiana state parks. There are some good training hills down there, and once things green up this spring, we’ll be pulling quite a few overnighters. I’ll update anyone who wishes to follow our journey with preparation entries and let you know how I ended up financing this trip and when our ultimate start date is.

Some of those training hikes (joyful affairs in and of themselves!) will be conducted on the AT and longer U.S. trails, and I insist that I receive my trail name on the AT – I’m sure that will be an interesting post all by itself. I’ll let you know when I’ve been re-christened.

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