The Time I Saved Indiana Jones (Stories from the Trail #1)

This the story of how my friend showered in a public water spigot, I almost died of thirst, and together we saved an innocent hiker from almost certain death. It sounds dramatic, but I swear it’s true.

Alright, let’s set the scene. This was the day my friend Caterpillar and I passed the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail. We were reasonably pretty hyped, and maybe that’s why we crushed ten miles in the morning.

Halfway

This is what the halfway monument looks like. We didn’t bother to take a picture for some reason, but I dug one up for you from the internet. You’re welcome.

At noon we got to a quaint country hostel, which had our packages. We climbed the steps to the porch, approached the front door, and knocked.

No one answered.

At that point I realized they were closed, and also that there was literally no where else to get food for many miles. Somewhat dismayed, we walked a few yards to a nearby store (Also closed, although when open it’s the home of the ice cream challenge), and collapsed in the shade of their front porch to decide what to do. Our guidebook said the hostel would open that evening, and we realized we had no choice but to stay put until then.

So we did. We lazed around on the store’s front porch, took turns sleeping, read stories to each other, and did a bit of impromptu laundry in the water spigot. Later, Caterpillar decided to take a shower in the spigot too, scandalizing me, but getting away with it.

Ice Cream Challenge Store

This is where we stayed all afternoon. In this picture it’s raining, but when we were there it was so, so, so very hot. Perfect for taking naps and drying socks.

When the hostel opened we popped in, grabbed our food, and got back on the trail. But it was late.

And that’s the crucial thing to note for this story: we were hiking at a time when almost everyone else was already in camp for the night. No one else was on trail.

We got in about two more miles when we had to stop short to avoid tumbling over a middle aged man, collapsed in the middle of the trail.

Caterpillar said, surprised, “Are you okay?”

He gasped back, “No.” And then, with the desperation only dying men have, he croaked, “Water.”

My first instinct was to give him water. My second was worry that his body would reject it if I did, and he would be in worse shape than we found him. I grabbed my water bottle, measured out a bit of water, and gave it to him. He wanted more. I waited as long he would let me, then gave him more. And a bit more- a third of our water stores.

“Here,” said Caterpillar, “We can give you a liter of water to use, if you’ll let us pour it into your bottle.”

“No, no,” he said, “I can’t let you do that. I’ll be fine.”

Caterpillar and I exchanged skeptical looks. “Come on,” I said, “How about you pack up and we’ll send you off with enough water for the night.”

I don’t think he had the energy to argue with me. He started packing, and told us the story in jumbled snippets. It had been a hot day, as we were well aware. He had been sucking down water faster than he thought, and when he ran out it took him by surprise. So much so that he found himself, very suddenly, two miles from water and already half dehydrated.

Things went downhill from there. He tried to walk back towards water, but collapsed. He tried to call for help, and had no cell service. He tried to set up his hammock, and couldn’t concentrate. At last, he sat down in the trail, got out a pillow, and determined to wait out the night, in the hopes someone would come by him early the next morning.

Frankly, I’m not sure he would have made it that long.

By the time we knew all of this twenty minutes had elapsed and he still hadn’t packed up. I watched him blunder with this piece of gear and that, hands shaking, while he talked to us, rambling and slightly incoherent.

I began to realize that we weren’t going to make any more miles that evening. I also realized that there was no water to be had here. Not for two miles. That was a problem, especially since we couldn’t leave him and he couldn’t walk… not unless we split up.

I turned to Caterpillar and she turned to me.

“Do you want to go…?” she asked.

“Yeah, unless you want to,” I answered.

There was an awkward pause. “I’ll do it,” she said, “give me all the empty water bottles.”

We emptied her pack onto the ground, filled it with every vessel capable of containing liquids that we could find, and watched her disappear down the trail. She would walk the two miles to the water, fill all the bottles, and walk the two miles back. Meanwhile, the man and I had about a quarter of a liter of water each. Put another way, we both had about a glass of water to last us until Caterpillar came back.

“What’s your name, by the way?” I asked him as I began to gather all of Caterpillar’s things, now strewn across the ground.

He grinned at me, the first smile I’d really seen out of him. “My trail name is Indiana Jones. I got it a long time ago, hiking with my Dad.”

Indiana Jones

This is to remind you what Indiana Jones looks like, in case you had the audacity to forget.

I grinned back at him “Well pleased to meet you, Indiana Jones. I’m Old Soul.”

It took me a long time to find a campsite that Indiana Jones could walk to. Even longer to gather up all of Caterpillar’s stuff, all of my stuff, and all of his stuff, and carry it to the campsite. When, in turn, I escorted Indiana Jones to the campsite, he was so wobbly that I was terrified he would fall and crack his head on one of the rocks, leaving me to helplessly watch him bleed out.

But we both made it to the campsite. Once there, he began begging for water. I think he was still more dehydrated than I realized, because even though he began by politely refusing my water, within ten minutes he had downed every drop we had. I was alone with an incapacitated companion I could not leave, two miles from the nearest drop of drinkable water, with no way to contact absolutely anyone.

Let us be perfectly clear: if Caterpillar didn’t come back with water then my life, and Indiana Jones’, would be in serious peril.

So I did the only sensible thing I could do, and peed into a zip-lock bag. You know, just in case.

There were then a few chores to be seen to, when I wasn’t contemplating my precarious grasp on life. I set up the tents, ran back to the trail and left a note for Caterpillar so she would know where to find us, then walked back through the dark to Indiana Jones. He was busy trying to hang his hammock, despite the fact that he could barely stand.

I offered to let him sleep in my tent by himself, while I shared with Caterpillar. He wouldn’t hear of it. I offered to set up the hammock for him. Out of the question.

So I was obliged to sit on the ground, staring off into the night, and listen to him struggle for two hours to set up his hammock, all while trying not to think what would happen if Caterpillar never made it back.

No one is ever scared of running out of water until it’s too late, but as the hours ticked by I acquainted myself thoroughly with that fear.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.

At ten o’clock at night I saw a headlamp in the distance, jumped up, and saw Caterpillar speeding along towards me, backpack laden with life-giving, beautiful, essential, water. 

 

 

Idealized Water

This is about how I was viewing water at this point: pure, sparkly ambrosia.

And the instant I saw her, I dissolved into a mess.

We distributed the water between the three of us and I, sniffling with relief, poured out my zip-lock bag of urine. We still didn’t dare to go to bed until Indiana Jones finished setting up his hammock (it took at least another half hour, and he still wouldn’t accept help), simply out of fear he would have some sort of attack, which was not unlikely, given what he told us of his medical history.

But he did, at long last, finish his hammock and go to bed. I was still more than a bit hysterical on the inside but finally I could crawl into my tent, snuggle into my sleeping bag, and zip up the door, shutting out the whole world.

We parted ways with Indiana Jones the next morning. He seemed embarrassed, and before we separated he gave us $20 each. As far as I know, he made it safely to civilization. As for us, we were a bit short on water that morning, but made it to the next stream and refilled with no problems.

So what did I get from the experience? Well, if I’m honest, a genuine terror of dehydration and visceral understanding of the frailty of human beings, but also a confidence in my emergency-situation skills.

If I had a choice, I would have preferred to never go through the experience. But now it’s happened I’m grateful for the lessons it taught me, and I have a much greater respect for people who face survival situations on a regular basis. I don’t know how they do it, but I know now that it certainly can’t be easy.

That’s all for this week.

Best,

Eliza

 

Rainbow

Rainbows are for happy endings. 🙂

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I Finished the Trail!

Summit Picture

Why are my elbows bent backwards, you ask? Got me. But you get a prize for being the 1000th person to ask. *le sigh* Let’s just say it’s cause I was so excited.

 

That’s me, on August 1st, 2018, finished with the trail. Yep— I made it. After all these years I’m an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker.

It was (obviously) a long journey. And I have a confession: I barely blogged any of it.

There are a few reasons for this, as far as I can tell.

 

  1. I’m not good at publishing things that I feel are sub-par. I realized this when I met my hiking partner, Maya, who blogged for every day of the trail. She wrote well, but she had a formula and every sentence didn’t have to be Shakespeare. She was just talking about her day and inviting her readers to participate— nothing elaborate or burdensomely eloquent. On the other hand, I suffered burn out because I felt like every post had to be a work art. Which brings me to my next point.
  2. I had too many other things I was worrying about. And when I felt that on top of showering, resupplying, eating, sleeping, cleaning everything, flushing out filters, doing laundry, interacting with people in town, all in under 24 hours— I just didn’t have time to write and edit something that I wanted to be perfect. Plus, while in town I was usually recovering from extreme cold, ravenous hunger, snow, trench foot, or other serious and physical stressers. I just didn’t have room in my brain, while under such strain, for quality writing. So why did I want I to be perfect?
  3. I was scared of my audience. Not you guys, obviously. But I was primarily blogging on the trek, where one of my posts got over 300 shares and I can only imagine how many views. That terrified me, and further impressed on me the need to make my posts immaculate. With so many eyes watching me, how could I afford to publish something I hadn’t edited heavily?
  4. There is a fourth reason, which is harder to describe. I had a vague sense that I wanted to enjoy my hike on its own terms, existing entirely within the moment, even if it meant that I couldn’t vicariously appreciate that moment later, through the medium I had recorded it on. I had spent a lot of my life up to that point trying desperately to record everything that happened to me, lest it slip through my fingers and be lost forever. I’ve kept notebooks for this purpose since I was old enough to write, and at that time I was keeping two, plus two blogs. It started to get to my head, giving my anxiety. I was beginning to just want to live my life, no strings attached. No matter how I want to, I can’t record everything in my life.

 

All of this culminated in an abandoned blog on the trek. It really wasn’t an acceptable thing to do, whatever my reasons, and for that I apologize. I should have at least left a note when I decided to stop blogging. But I didn’t. I felt emotionally incapable of taking that step.  And I can’t change what happened.

Anyway, here I am again. Safe home, a thru-hiker, well fed and dry and warm. So what are my plans now?

Well, I really don’t know. I’m going to college in autumn, but I couldn’t tell you where. Right now I’m busy applying to seemingly everything, and I’ll know my plan better once I know where I’ve been accepted.

I’m also planning on saving money. This is to offset any costs of college that inevitably fall on my shoulders. I’m trying to go debt free, but I know that it’s hard to get a completely free education, so hopefully the money I raise this year can cover those costs. I don’t have that job now because I’m still applying to schools. I’ll probably get it sometime in October.

So that’s what’s up with me. Now, what about the blog?

Well, there are a few directions I can go with this blog.

I could abandon it (which would be sad), I could continue to post stories from the Appalachian Trail (which would be entertaining, and might make up for all the missed posts), or I could post updates on my life as it is now (maybe a bit boring to you, but interesting to me).

I think I might do a combination of the three: fewer posts, with content alternating between what’s going on now, and stories from the trail.

Unfortunately, the blog just can’t be a priority right now, with lots of pressing college application and financial obligations on me. I’m trying to set up the next stage of my life, and it’s proving to be a taxing effort. But don’t worry: this blog is a special place to me. I doubt I’ll ever truly abandon it.

Until next time,

Eliza

Gear and Food Changes for the AT (Progress Update #19)

Hello all!

As of today (well, the day you’re reading this, at least) I am officially back on the Appalachian Trail, marching towards Maine! If you want the scoop on how that’s going I encourage you to check out The Trek where there is not only a recent post, talking about starting the trail again, but also the promise of regular from-the-trail updates for the next five months.

But that’s beside the point. Today I wanted to talk about the changes I’ve decided to make to my gear and food for this second leg of the AT.

1. Quantity of Food 

In November I very simply did not take enough food. I was also trying to go lower carbohydrates which wasn’t a terrible idea but, combined with not having my caloric needs completely met, didn’t end up going great. I was just pretty hungry the latter half

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Allll mai food. (Well, some of it.)

of the month. But it turned out okay because (as my family can assure you) I made up the deficit when I got home by devouring absolutely everything, all the time.

2.  Bigger Food Bag 

This goes hand in hand with number one. I needed more space for all my food.

That’s all! I probably won’t update this blog until after I’ve finished my hike, so if you want updates I once again encourage you to head over to The Trek, where you’ll get to see how my hike is really going.

This time I’ve increased my total calories from around 2700 to closer to 3200 and increased my carbohydrates as well. Hopefully I don’t feel as hungry this time.

3. Camp Shoes 

did bring camp shoes last time but they were flip flops. This sounded like a great idea at the time but, as it turns out, you cannot actually wear flip flops with socks. This makes midnight bathroom excursions 1000% less warm and/or convenient. I’ve got some new camp shoes now (not flip flops) to amend this situation.

4. SPOT Device 

So last time I was on the AT no one really knew where I was unless I had data. This was a bit concerning since I often didn’t have data, and it drastically increased the likelihood of dying alone on a mountaintop buried in snow. I’ve now bought a tracking device which will send my location to my concerned relatives every few minutes and let me ask for a rescue if needed. It mostly just gives everyone concerned some peace of mind.

5. Sleeping Bag

I got a quilt! There’s a lot of debate about whether sleeping bags or quilts but I’ve cast my lot in with quilts. I have a zero degree quilt now, and I’m hoping it’ll keep me warm this February.

6. Whistle 

I got a whistle, since it’s advice I’ve gotten several times. That’s all.

That’s all! I probably won’t update this blog until after I’ve finished my hike, so if you want updates I once again encourage you to head over to The Trek, where you’ll get to see how my hike is really going.

All the best,

Eliza

I Hiked 300+ Miles (Progress Update #18)

Hello all!

Since I last wrote I’ve succeeded in hiking 309 miles of the Appalachian Trail! *confetti* I even got a little beyond Hot Springs, NC which was my goal. You can read all about it here.

Anyway, that leaves me with a trifling 1,879 miles to go. Should be a piece of cake right?

Probably not, but I’m going to try anyway. Which brings me to what I’ve been up to since completing that section of the A.T:

  •  December 3rd: I finished up my hike and went back to the civilized world.
  • All the rest of December: Looked for jobs (I even got hired at Amazon but it fell through), but mostly  vegetated on the couch in a daze of exhaustion punctuated by ravenous hunger. I don’t remember much of December, if I’m honest.
  • January 3rd to now: Got a job working at a car parts factory, and worked 40-60 hours a week.

So yeah, I’m still working, and it’s pretty boring. But I’ll be done a week from today and from then I’ll begin working on logistics for the rest of my thru-hike. I just need money right now, so that’s what I’m working on.

(Tangent: blue collar jobs turn out to pay really well. Apparently no one will take them, so whoever does just gets showered in money. It’s also just an interesting experience, and I would recommend taking this kind of job, even just for a little while, to everyone. At the very least it beats fast food.)

The plan, as of now, is to begin my hike sometime in late February or the beginning of March, but I haven’t got an exact date pinned down. Honestly it’s hard to think beyond my last day of work, because I’m so consumed by that at the moment. But I’ll figure something out once I can devote my full attention to the issue, and I know I’ll be gone by the first week in March.

You should get a post or two out of me in February, as I record my perpetration for my hike, but when I actually start hiking I’ll be updating The Trek, rather than this blog.

So yeah. More posts in February. Leaving late February/early March.

That’s all this time. Take care everyone,

 

Eliza

Moving the Blog!

Hello again, everyone!

This is a bonus post, because I’ve got some excited news. About two weeks ago I applied to be a blogger for a fabulous website called The Trek, which makes content about all things backpacking. It’s really a wonderful site, and you should check them out if this stuff interests you. But the point of this post is that they accepted me, and I’m going to become one of their thru-hiking bloggers.

What this means is that And If I Stand will, for the duration of my hike, be a secondary blog, and I will be recording all the nitty gritty hiking details at The Trek. But this doesn’t mean that I’ll never update this blog again: I’ve entertained the idea of making And If I Stand not exclusively about hiking but more about anything cool I decide to do. For example when I’m done with this thru-hike I could return here and talk about the next project I’m working on, and follow that to its completion. This works well with my title too: And If I Stand is an intentionally ambiguous name, not linked specifically to backpacking.

Anyway I won’t be on the trail at all from December to early spring, so I’ll probably update this blog during that time.

TL;DR: I will not be sharing the details of my on-trail experiences at this website, but at this one. So if you’re interested in how my thru-hike is going to go, check out that blog!

I’m excited for what the future holds, you guys! My first on-trail post should come out on The Trek by the 9th of November.

Until then,

Eliza

Gear Haul! (Progress Update #17)

Hello all!

As promised, today I bring you my gear haul. This is a list of absolutely all the gear that I’ll start the Appalachian Trail with. I’ve done separate posts on food and clothing so I won’t be including them in this post. Also, as in my clothing haul, I will provide links to the products where I can, but that won’t be possible with everything.

Alright, let’s get started! I’m going to break this down into groups. First group:

The Big Three

IMG_3101.JPG

Big Three

More about those three here.

Cook System

img_3100.jpg

The ideal kitchen, ladies and gentlemen.

Hygiene/First Aid

  • Trowel from REI
  • Small first aid kit with:  band-aids, gauze, duct tape, mole skin, antiseptic wipes, a needle, and duct tape.
  • Toilet paper
IMG_3105

Everything else. (I’ve lumped hygiene and first aid in with miscellaneous tools)

Miscellaneous Tools

That’s everything! A few of the things in the list didn’t make it into the pictures (namely the compression bags and silk sleeping bag liner; the one because it hadn’t come yet and the other because I accidentally left it in my sleeping bag sack) but other than that the photos are comprehensive.

Also, bonus photo of all my clothes, since I didn’t have them all together when I posted my clothing haul.

IMG_3098

Alright, that’s all I have to say about gear. As for actually leaving for the trail, that will be sometime this week although I don’t want to say exactly when for security reasons.

Anyway, you’ll hear from tomorrow, when I announce something which will have pretty far reaching implications for this blog (you’ll want to catch that), and then you won’t hear from me again until I’m on trail! It’s exciting, huh? This is really coming true.

Until then,

Eliza

Clothing Haul! (Progress Update #16)

Hello again!

One week until I hit the trail! It’s getting close.

Today I’m going to talk about the clothes I’m bringing on the trail and next week will be all about my gear. First, let’s go over my goals with selecting this clothing.

I wanted clothing that was:

  1. Insulating when wet. This is important because it’s going to be cool up there and if it rains I don’t want all my sopping wet clothing to freeze me to death. That’d be bad.
  2. Versatile. I want to keep many of these clothes through to the Spring, so flexibility, especially in warmth, is key.
  3. Durable. I’m trying to go higher quality in the hopes these items will last to Katahdin.

 

Alright, let’s get into it!

Darn tough socks

These are the exact Darn Tough socks I have.

Starting from my feet and going up I have one pair of Darn Tough* socks and one pair of thicker, Fits socks. Both wool. I want two, one to sleep in, one to hike in.  For shoes I’m bringing along Salomon Trail Runners. I love those shoes and I’ve been wearing them all the time, even when I’m not hiking. I also got gaiters for potential snow, and to protect my socks and shoes from getting wet and nasty. 

Pants now. I have a pair of yoga pants and one pair of synthetic joggers rated down to 30 degrees. The joggers are also super comfy and I’m looking forward to using them as pajama pants. I’m also bringing a hiking skirt. This might prove extraneous but if it is I’ll just send it home.

Oh, and on my hands I have lightweight men’s snow gloves by Isotoner.

puffy jacket

This is my jacket and it makes me happy. Okay? Okay.

For my torso I’m bringing, as my first layer, a generic synthetic sports T-shirt. It’s light blue and I like it. Then I have a black zip-up fleece. It’s a bit heavy, so I might have to switch it out, but it only cost me four bucks, so if that’s the case it’ll be okay. Plus it’s super warm. Then, over my fleece, I have a lightweight puffy jacket from REI.

Now, for my head. I’m bringing two buffs, which are probably my favorite thing on this list. I really like my buffs. I’ll also be bringing a bandanna, which may occasionally go on my head. All of those can cover my ears to keep in extra heat, if necessary. But I also have a generic wool cap, which will hopefully cover my ears too. I especially wanted a hat because none of my jackets have hoods and some protection from the elements would be nice.

2017-03-15Buff

This is me wearing a buff from last Spring. 

Other than that, there’s only my Frogg Toggs, which is essentially a rain poncho. It does have a hood, so that will provide whatever protection from the elements my hat and buffs don’t cover.

So that’s my wardrobe! It’s given me a lot of headache over the last few months but I think I’ve covered my bases with as little cost/weight as possible. It’s a fine line between freezing to death, going broke, and breaking your back with weight. I’ll find out in a week if my choices were wise or not.

Until next time,

 

Eliza

 

*Where I can I have provided links to the precise product I am using. Some of the items,  for instance my joggers, I bought second hand and therefore cannot provide links for.

What I’ll Eat on the Trail + Backpacking in Ketosis (Progress Update #15)

(Quick Disclaimer: the ketogenic diet has been recommended specifically for me by my doctor, and I have worked with him to implement it. I am not experimenting on myself willy-nilly and I’d recommend doing a lot of research and possibly consulting your health care provider before starting any new diets.)

Hello there, all!

So today I’m going to talk about my diet on trail. I’m doing my best to follow the ketogenic diet at the moment and I hope to continue that on trail.  I’m not the best person to explain the mechanics of ketosis (this link should be helpful if you want an in-depth explanation) but essentially it means that my main fuel while hiking will come from fat, a bit will come from protein, and very little will come from carbohydrates. This means I will 1) carry less weight per calorie, 2) have more energy, and 3) not become a spiraling, food-manic mess if I’m deprived of a meal for a few hours, which is a common reaction among backpackers.

So anyway today I’m going to break down, item by item and calorie by calorie, what I’ll be eating on trail for November. When I return from my hike hopefully I’ll be able to let you know what I actually ended up eating, and how I’ll be modifying it for my hike in the Spring.

Alright, so this is a list of the foods I’m taking on trail with me:

  • Home-dehydrated ground beef
  • Ground Beef from thrivelife.com
  • Sausage Crumbles from thrivelife.com
  • Aldi Olive Oil
  • Peanut Butter Packets
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Tuna Packets
  • Assorted vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Dried apples

The break down of macro nutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates in this instance) from these foods is roughly this:

Second Pie Chart per calorie

Yes, I did indeed make a pie chart and I’m very proud of it thankyouverymuch.

So, again, that’s a pretty significant portion of calories coming from fat.

Really quick, before I go any farther, I want to note something: all the following calculations rest on the assumption that I will eat off my groceries for twenty seven days out of the month and eat at restaurants for three. I’ve allotted $70 to myself for those three days.

Alright, now let’s go to my handy-dandy spreadsheet:

second spreadsheet yea

 

There’s a lot going on here, I know. But let’s look at one thing at a time:

  1. The bottom right cell gives the total money I will spend on groceries every month. This comes out to about $14 per day on trail. Also remember this is plus the $70 I’ll spend on restaurant food.
  2. The bottom cell, second from the left, gives the average calories I will consume per day. This looks like too few but I’ve actually calculated the most pessimistic possibility here. In reality I will have more than one tuna and peanut butter packet per day, my home dehydrated ground beef will probably have more than 360 calories in it, I can easily buy more food if I’m hungry along the way, and I probably will not stay on the trail for a full thirty days. I like to calculate for the worst possible scenario and be pleasantly surprised when things turn out a bit better.
  3. The third column from the right shows how many days per month I will eat each food. Notice I am not eating every food every day, but swapping them out, especially my meats.
  4. I calculated the price per calorie (the third column from the left) by multiplying calories per serving by servings in a unit to find the total calories in a unit, and then dividing that by the total price.

There’s more to the spreadsheet but that’s the highlights.

Oh, and the good thing is that these calculations not only help me with my upcoming hike, but provide an outline for the whole thing. When November is over and I’m back home I will refine this model, with changes as appropriate, and it will become the model for my food consumption per month, which will certainly help with calculations for when I hit the trail again in the Spring.

That’s about all I have for today.

Take care, everyone.

Until next time,

Eliza

 

 

Starting in Three Weeks! (Progress Update #14)

Hello again!

Lots to say this time. For one thing I’ve moved my start date forward! Because of unforeseen circumstances I’ll need to be home for about a month in the Spring, right in the middle of my thru hike. So I’m leaving at the end of this month instead. I’ll hike all of November, come home for the winter, and leave again in the Spring as planned, coming home for a month in the middle of the Spring hike. It’s a little more complicated this way but it works out to be the same amount of trail time, which is all I need.

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Dehydrating ground beef

To summarize: I’m leaving around October 30th and hiking the A.T. all November. And… that’s in about three weeks.

So I’ve been cooking like mad to dehydrated all my food. I have pretty specific dietary needs so that’s turned out to be somewhat labor intensive. But it’s a little cheaper this way and I know it’ll be better for me.

I’ve also been buying up the last straggling bits of gear and clothing that I need. I’ll do a gear haul right before I leave and you’ll get to see all the bits and pieces I’m accumulating.

One more thing: I’m still working at the Nature Center, but only weekends now. And my last day is October 21st. After that I’ll be able to devote all my time to preparing for this hike.

I’m getting excited. I’ve waited and prepared for many, many years for this hike and watching it come together is both nerve wracking and exhilarating.

Until next time,

Eliza

P.S.

I’ll be going back to my weekly schedule of updates now. You can expect a new post every Tuesday morning.

 

 

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P.P.S. Oh yeah, and Butters says hey.