I would like to present myself as someone who is cool, bold and strong. Alas, I am simply myself. I’m an American woman in my early 50s, wife of a retired veteran, mother and GiGi, educator, and generally rather boring. However, I’m in that Goldie Locks area of being young enough to hike 2,000+ miles without too many physical limitations, but old enough to have plenty of life and backcountry experience. Also, most of my children are adults and I can take time off from work.
Life lived outside
I grew up an hour from the Jersey Shore, but my family always went to the woods or the mountains for our weekends and vacations. We spent our time car camping, hiking, backcountry canoe camping and downhill skiing. I was a long distance runner in high school and loved track workouts the most. When I was a student I took a hiking course and loved it! Fortunately, when we graduated, my husband and I lived near the college and were able to borrow materials from the physical education department. We even took our little girls on an overnight hike. This hike has been on my bucket list since before we called it a bucket list. Unfortunately, military life took us away from our alma mater and we no longer had access to free equipment. Fortunately, we continued car camping and hiking all over the world and even added other outdoor activities like cross-country skiing.
This is the question I am asked most often. Usually followed by “Who’s coming with you?” The second question has a shorter answer. I go alone, but meet friends and family along the way. The first is the one that most books on hiking any long trail ask you to consider. My reasons, like many hikers, are many and varied.
- I love being outdoors! I walk slowly because I love the smells, sounds, sights, tastes (wild berries!) and textures of the forest.
- I like to challenge my limits: physical, mental and spiritual.
- I enjoy healthy physical endurance activities and do them well. I’m not fast, but I’m stubborn enough to stick it out for the long haul.
- Hello? ADVENTURE!!
- I like to be alone.
- I want time alone to think about the next phase of my life.
- My husband supports me and is excited for me. He speaks proudly to everyone we know of me doing this.
- It’s the right time for me. (See Goldie Locks’ comment above.)
- I want to prove to myself that I can do REALLY hard things.
I’m leaving in only 4 weeks! I’m going to return this trail and head north up Mt Katahdin from the middle. Then go back to where I started and finish at Springer Mountain. I’m a bit of a data geek and sometimes type A. I used my hikes last year to test equipment, supplies, and routines to see what works best for me. I have 4 spreadsheets that I’ve been using for 3 months to plan this. I started gathering materials and supplies last year. Family and friends send couriers along the way. I think I’m going to have one almost every week! I also have friends and family who sometimes host me for off-piste days.
Excitement through the roof!
Do you remember the little girls from Despicable Me? I want to be Margo, the cool, savvy, smart older girl. In my head, I am her. IRL? I am Agnès with her excitement and uncontained emotions. I am this 6 year old girl in the body of a middle aged woman. I find it hard to contain my exuberance about life and my adventure ahead. I’ll join you in a few weeks to tell you about my packing list!
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