Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How are You Getting to the Trail?

The Hiker Hostel

The southern trailhead of the Appalachian Trail is located at Springer Mountain, Georgia.  We will be flying into Atlanta, and then taking a train about an hour north, where we will be met by the nice folks from the Hiker Hostel.  The Hiker Hostel is a lodge that serves the hikers of the Appalachian Trail, and they will take us back to their very beautiful, rustic, log lodge.  It is located about 6 miles north of Dahlonega, Georgia, and only a few miles from the AT trailhead.  We have booked the Thru-Hiker Special.  It includes the shuttle from the airport, overnight lodging, a breakfast, 8-ounces of fuel (you can't carry this on the plane), and shuttle the next morning to the Springer Mountain parking lot.  Since it's our last night of civilization, we opted for one of the private rooms, instead of the "bunk room."

Private Room at the Hiker Hostel

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Couple of Pack Rats

We made a quick trip to the Pack Rat in Fayetteville today for some last minute items, only to find a FULL parking lot.  It was the first day of their big winter clearance - sweet!  The funny thing about being inside a store with a ton of people grabbing stuff off of sale tables,is it makes you start worrying about the deals that everyone else is grabbing and you are missing out on.  It tends to create a bit of a buying frenzy.  I did stick mostly to our list though.  Besides a few "must haves," I picked up some Teva sandals that weighed next to nothing, and were 50% off!  I have really been wanting something like that to wear in towns instead of my Crocs.  The "must haves" were:  a pair of short gaiters for me, 2 mosquito head nets (it gets pretty bad in the mid-Atlantic states in the summer), and an extra zipper storage pocket that will slip on to my backpack's hip belt (to keep my camera handy).  We also found a water-proof backpack liner that fit my pack, and a nice stuff sack for Keith's new air mattress.  I am pretty sure we are done shopping for this trip, but Keith laughs whenever I say that - but I really mean it this time!  (If you've never been to the Pack Rat, be sure and check it out - awesome store!)

The Pack Rat in Fayetteville, Arkansas

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks" - John Muir

Hiking in the Hood

The 4-day trip we did in January actually was not only a good "breaking in" trip for our gear, but also for our bodies. No matter how much a person runs, spins, swims, or works out, there is just no substitute for hauling 30 pounds on your back, up and down hills. So, to prepare ourselves, we are hiking every other day, with our full gear, around the neighborhood, then to the bottom of Fianna Hills, and back to the top again. Linda got her bigger boots, and is breaking those in as well!  Here's Keith on the Fianna golf course on our hike this morning.  I can't help but think how much that background will change in the next few weeks.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Countdown - 17 Days

With only 17 days left before we begin this epic adventure, there's so much to do, we are not sleeping well at night. While our backpacks are all packed and ready to go, we are still working on the logistics of resupplying, and working through the long list of things you do before you will be away from a home for 6 months.

A short list: Taxes, all bills on auto-pay, plenty of gluten-free food for Sean, prepare any mail-drops that Sean will need to ship to us, prepay any unusual expenses that you don't want to have to think about on the trail, dog's vaccinations, dental appointments, birthday cards, wedding cards, graduation cards, any car maintenance that is overdue, any home maintenance that is overdue, thorough flower bed cleaning, trimming, and mulching, service lawnmower so it will be ready for Sean to use, show Sean about turning on sprinkler system, where the water cut-off is in the yard, all of those things that you knew you would get around to showing him someday . . anyway, you get the idea . . . and this is why we wake up at 4 in the morning.

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks" - John Muir