Happiness and contentment in life come from the merging of Opportunity and Talent. My Dad had Talent but no Opportunity so could not find a way to learn to play the Violin. I had Opportunity but no Talent -- I lack the physical ability to complete a Thru Hike of the Appalachian Trail. I failed to learn this lesson even after numerous section hikes, but in the Spring of 2013, after 41.6 miles hiking in MD and PA, I learned the lesson that Dad had in mind when he told me to "hike the Trail." This Blog is now about the Merging of Opportunity and Talent more than it is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, but I still plan to include snippets of the Trail in the Blog. It's about Chasing the Trail of Life. I hope you enjoy my posts.

COMPUTER TRESPASS---RCW 9A.52.110---Computer trespass in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of computer trespass in the first degree if the person, without authorization, intentionally gains access to a computer system or electronic database of another; and (a) The access is made with the intent to commit another crime; or (b) The violation involves a computer or database maintained by a government agency.

(2) Computer trespass in the first degree is a class C felony.

This Blog is Dedicated to my Dad. Although he never accomplished his dream of learning to play the Violin, he did construct and play a Dulcimer at an Elderhostel.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pre-Hike Number Six and Observations

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Yesterday was a great day for hiking. I carried 25.8 pounds on my back and hiked my 8 miles and felt really good. I was even able to do a short bit of running ... uses different muscles ... on the gravel road.

I met a couple of people while hiking yesterday and gave them my Blog info. I hope they have time to check on my progress occasionally.

I had nearly everything in my pack that I'll have on my first leg of my hike. I have culled everything extraneous from my gear and have what I consider are my bare essentials ... I do have some gear that is heavier than other hikers might carry ... I carry an MSR Miniworks Water Filter because I trust it, others use the Sawyer Squeeze Filter or Aqua Mira drops. I carry Five Fingers Trek Sports because stream crossings in Crocs or Flip Flops can be dicey. I use a bivy and poncho tarp because I don't like bugs and I do plan to use shelters if it rains or WHEN it rains, if at all possible. Bivies and Shelters work well to keep the mice and buggies at bay. I've had the bivy in mild rain but never in a torrential downpour ... if the poncho doesn't provide enough cover, I may order a BearPaw Wilderness Designs tarp. 10x6.5 in brown for stealth camping. It weighs 12 ounces while my Poncho Tarp weighs 9.5. I carry a rain jacket for warmth as much as for rain. I like the poncho in the pouring rain in the summer.

After reading a few Trail Journals, I am considering sending myself my stove and cook pot when I get to Maine. It can get cold and I might want a way to heat water and even to cook some meals. It's a thought I'll have to consider. I'm definitely using my EMS Rewards to purchase a 9.3 ounce Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus sleeping bag liner. This with my lightweight thermals is about the same weight as my mid-weight thermals and I believe will keep me warmer in my sleeping bag. I will also be using the 4.7 ounce silk liner with this liner. Layering being the key to warmth.

Sometimes I think it's not in my best interest to read Trail Journals when they accurately describe the White Mountains and Mahoosuc Notch  and such [see this  VIDEO]  ... I can look at the map profiles and shudder ... and reading about the days and days and days of rain and cold and wind ... and 18 inches of snow in August or September in Maine ... and who had to get off the Trail due to this injury or that illness ... and biting flies ...and Lyme Disease ... Oh, it was 'fun' to see the 'real' Maine Climbs ... rebars and ladders and all. But worrisome that I won't be able to carry heavy enough winter gear should it get freezing cold or should we have an early winter ...

Making it all the way is my goal ... but just hiking 'today' has to become my focus. In the past, I've lost my focus by concentrating on the goal. But THIS time, I'm setting my goal to be focusing on 'today's' hike ... and letting the miles pass while doing so.

If I had any sense, I think I'd start in GA and hike half way to MD [and my Mom's] or hike SoBo from MD to GA ... I feel 'comfortable' in the Southern half of the Appalachian Mountain Range ... but the Northern half creates the same 'fear' as when I went to Italy in the early summer of 2001 ... totally uncharted territory ... But I hope and expect the experience to parallel that of Italy ... once I got there, I had a great time ... even if the 'tour guide from hell' did leave me in Florence to fend for myself and leave a group of us in Rome ... I and we all found our way back to the hotels ... and I got to wander Florence on my own ... which was super cool.

I'm not planning to rush through this Half-a-Thru-Hike ... my 'schedule' is mostly in the 8 to 12 mile a day range ... one or two 'nearly 20 mile days' ... with the Caveat that if I don't want to hike that far, I have the Bivy and I can 'cowboy camp' anywhere on the Trail ... except where there are posted signs saying I can't ... and even THEN, if I'm dead tired, I will not repeat what I did in 2009 and push too far and create a situation where I talk myself off the Trail.

When all else fails, Take a Nap when tired. HAD I DONE THAT in 2009, I might have completed that 500 mile hike.

Today I'm resting my knees and legs ... and finding that they're recuperating a lot faster today than they after my last Pre-Hike hike just a couple days ago. I've got a few maps to study and the Maine Guide book to read [I'm leaving it here, putting my notes online and accessible to my iPhone] today.

ONE decision I've made ... I'm buying an external battery charger for my iPhone and leaving my camera at home. That way I can email my photos to myself to 'save' them and download them when I get back to Maryland.

But FIRST, I have to hike.

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