A few trials, trips, & a trail

Well, I’ve been kind of busy, and definitely a bit down on the idea that I don’t get to do my hike just yet. But I have no reason to mope, and so I won’t! I’ve recently taken on a second job, to help us get things going back on track. The best part is that I LOVE it! I get to help people pick out clothes and gear for their outdoor activities! So much fun! In March, our family took a trip to North Carolina to see our girl and her new husband, for Easter. It was fun! I love my daughter, and it was wonderful to see her in her own home, and doing her best with her life. She lives about 5 hours from the AT. I’d be there every weekend, if I did. But that’s me..

.Road Trip to NCHot Dog StopTanner missing the Mississippi

Our Family!My girl and her man

We’d never been to Raleigh, or Goldsboro, so got to add those to our list of 25 new places. We also stopped at a BBQ joint in Tennessee, so we could add that place too! We loved taking the boys. It’s been a while since our whole family went on a trip together. Memories were made. And that’s pretty important!

A couple of weekends ago, I had both days off, so B and I went to a lake. We took a little hike/walk and saw some beauty right here in Missouri!Harry Truman State Park

 

Heading out on the Bluff Trail Morels and Trailhead excitement!

Truman Lake

Bluff trail overlooking the lake

So, now I’m in a boot, and working lots of hours. And reading about others’ adventures. Life can’t be all trips and trails, right? Today, might be more trials, but life’s not just that either, and the triumphs will come, soon!

plans

Weighing in

Okay, so with my planned attempted thru-hike tabled for now, and my feet really torn up lately, so nothing better for me to do, than….weigh my gear?? Sure! I’m guessing anyone who has a job, house to clean, bills to pay, spends their free time weighing backpacking items that they may or may not use in oh, 6 weeks for a weekend or two! Yes, yes, I might be losing it!

Regardless, the standard rule of backpackers is to maintain 10 pounds or less for your big 3… The big 3 being, 1)Backpack, 2) Tent, and 3) Sleeping system..Now, when I started backpacking, I borrowed some gear, and I’m sure these things were much higher numbers. The backpack, an Osprey Aura, was 3 or 4 pounds, and the other stuff was significantly higher, I’m sure. Well, maybe not the tent, but I was so claustrophobic. As it is now, I’m excited about what I have, and my weight!

  1. My backpack is a Gossamer Gear Mariposa. It comes in at a very light 2 pounds 2.2 ounces. It’s comfy and has several great pockets, but still holds every thing well. When I went out last fall, in it, it was just fine! Here’s a link. http://gossamergear.com/mariposa-ultralight-backpack-all-bundle.html
  2. My tent is probably where I could shave some weight. I just don’t know right now, what makes good sense. I love it. I started with a Mountainsmith Morrison, and it was a great little 2 person thing, but weighed over 5 pounds. I decided to change up to a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, which I found at a great discount. When I got it, I realized that they had sent a UL3. This is roughly 1/2 a pound heavier than the UL2, and so I had thought to send it back. However, the service folks kind of acted a bit weird, and also were happy for me just to keep the bigger tent. My husband is a big guy. The UL3 will fit the two of us great. However, he currently is not at all interested in Backpacking with me. This tent is 4 pounds 9 ounces. I do love all the space, though, so for now, it’s mine. (I also seriously got it for like $150 cheaper than you can purchase them currently.) Here’s a link for what I have.    http://www.rei.com/product/865390/big-agnes-copper-spur-ul-3-tent
  3. My sleep system consists of 3 pieces of gear. The Sleeping bag is a Nemo Nocturne 30 degree. I also have a sleeping pad, which is a Thermarest Neoair, women’s. Finally, I got a Coolmax silk liner, which adds considerable warmth, and that plus it’s “Bug repellent” properties, I’m hoping it’ll be great on it’s own in the summer. Well, together, the system is 3 pounds 11.2 ounces.  Here’s a link to my sleeping bag.  http://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/product_Nemo-Nocturne-30-Sleeping-Bag_10209126_10208_10000001_-1_?cm_mmc=PPC-_-BingPLA-_-na-_-Nemo-Nocturne-30-Sleeping-Bag&ad_id=BingPLA

This entire set up puts me at not quite 10 1/2 pounds. I think very doable! If I can talk myself into downsizing my tent, I could truly get a great weight!

I’ll play with my weights another day to determine if I can get all the rest of my gear under 6 pounds, so that I can hit a 16 pound base weight! That or less, is my goal! I’d like my overall weight including food and water to come in at or under 25 pounds. Carrying much more really causes lots of pain..

The blog name says it all!

I’ve been thinking about this blog, and my plans. I’ve not given them up. Just as I’m not giving up on myself in other areas. But I chose this blog name for a reason. In life, as in so many things, there are ups and downs. Trials and Triumphs. And we have just gone through some. So, here we are! It’s 2016, and we have trips ahead, and trails to conquer! I love to spend January planning things for the rest of the year. Since my husband has been out of a job, and only recently started working outside our home, again, I’ve had to be hesitant about my January planning. However! We have made some plans! And we’ve already been on a trip, and found some trails!

Hopefully, the jobless part (definitely a trial!) is over at least for the foreseeable future. Next up was a great triumph, in getting him back to work! Since we had checked those two off by mid January, it was time to take a quick trip! Our anniversary comes at the end of the year, and this past December, we celebrated 25 together! So, we agreed that this year, we will plan to go to 25 places we’ve not been to.

#1: New Mexico! Or more specifically, Tucumcari! Apparently, hubby knows a cartoon with Buster Bunny, who ends up wishing he’d have taken a left turn at Tucumcari. So, we stopped. Took pictures on Route 66, and headed further west.Tucumcari Route 66

#2: Albuquerque, New Mexico was our weekend destination. We spent a morning checking out the Petroglyphs in the area and enjoying the beautiful weather. Later, we took a ride on the Sandia Peak Sky Ride. 
another petroglyphtrail

 

I am starting to make plans for more adventures later in the spring, with a 2017 AT thruhiker hopeful. We’re planning to meet up in Arkansas for a couple days. And sometime, I am planning to do a solo hike. This is especially scary for me, but I need to do it.

I’m adding a link to an article I read today. I found it to be very helpful in thinking about different types of backpacking food.

Backpacker Food For 3 Extremes

The cable car hanging me and sandia peak

Thanks for joining me! Maybe this year will be a good opportunity for me to figure out the blogging scene!

“When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.” Psalm 142:3a

Some of my favorite blog postings

I just thought I’d share a few of my absolute favorite blog posts of late. So much to think about when planning. I want to get it all right the first time! I don’t suppose that is possible, but I want that anyway!

http://mytrailco.com/blogs/updates/39246787-the-5-please-don-ts-of-lightweight-backpacking-for-beginners-mistakes-to-avoid

Lady on a Rock, aka Rockin’ never disappoints in her posts! She is someone I admire very much! This year, she fell on a hike, and made it out to not only hike again, but went back to the spot where she fell, and concurred her fears! She is amazing! But the following are two posts about issues that I found very helpful, to my personal plans. Check out her blog, if you haven’t!

http://ladyonarock.com/2015/10/26/hiking-with-plantar-fasciitis/

http://ladyonarock.com/2015/03/04/hiking-with-essential-oils/

Appalachian trials is another very good blog! I am always amazed at the great information shared there, for anyone who is searching! Maybe you’ll find some good information on this post, and maybe you’ll find some other posts there, to benefit you!

http://appalachiantrials.com/15-essential-thru-hiker-or-any-hiker-items-for-25-or-less/

Make plans, and God laughs

It’s been a while since my last post. I am that sorry for not keeping you all up to date. I’ve been struggling with a few things, not the least of which is definitely a change of my spring hiking plans.

I DID take a trip to the AT last month, and found it to be as wonderful as I’ve heard! It was beautifully loaded with lots of color and views!

AT and mountains AT colors and blaze AT more path

I did, also get to meet some thruhikers who were coming through the trail headed South. So exciting for me! However, I chose a partner, who wasn’t as ready for a 4 day hike as she had originally thought. We ended up cutting our trip short. But not before a few pictures to help me think about my future and the trail!

 

AT and me so happy

I’ll be back!!

AT sign

Well, as fate would have it, or as my title displays, upon my return from the trail, I got the news that my husband had lost his job. Unfortunately, my “sugar daddy” you might call him, won’t be able to help me fund this 6 month endeavor just yet. We’ll survive, and work on learning the lesson God is trying to teach us. I’m not giving up on the trail, but I know that what’s best for my family, is for me to continue working, and encourage my husband to find his new path.

The path of life does have it’s challenges, doesn’t it? I’m so thankful that I can remember I am not in charge, but I can follow the One who is! And He has placed this trail on my heart, so I won’t forget it! Meanwhile, I’ll continue to prepare, and condition myself, and maybe get to take some smaller trails as we await his plans and his timing!

god-sharp39-s-plans-for-your-life-far-exceed-the-circumstances-of-your-day.-isaiah-46-4

Training Hike Prep 1

In all things, preparation is best. Of course, sometimes, you don’t get to prepare. Things are thrust upon you, and you must be ready, but in hiking, proper preparation will go a long way, and even help YOU go a long way! This past weekend, I took a look at my meal plan, and what I already have, and then purchased some more things, to round out what I still needed. (crackers, bars, etc.) Then, I set to work, lining up the days and the meals, and gave each day a bag of food of it’s own. THEN, I got out the vacuum sealer, and sucked and sealed all 4 days, I will be on the trail, for my training hike.

My son will be participating in a TeenPact leadership event called, “Venture” (For those who know about TeenPact, this is an alumni event for boys only.) He needs to be there from Sunday until Friday, and I’ll drive him to Tennessee for it. Just 2 short hours from his event, is the Appalachian Trail! I have found a new friend, who will meet me in Hot Springs, and together, we plan to do a small 3 night/4 day section! I’ve never been on the Appalachian Trail, so I am VERY excited! We’ll stay at a Hostel, where, if timing is good, I may even meet some real life thru hikers doing their thing! I hope so! I’m budgeting to do some trail magic for them! Anyway, today, I wore my pack for about 20 minutes, to get a feel for it. I plan to wear it in intervals all week, as I slowly add all the items needed. I’m just not walking. The pumpkin patch is tiring, but I wish I could walk more. I guess it’ll be good that we aren’t planning for big mileage on our hike.

I dehydrated some salsa, black beans, and a can of chicken, to make burritos for lunch, on the trail.

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Salsa, dehydrates on a plastic “leather making” insert. On the trail, I will add a bit of water into the small baggy, and wait a few minutes.

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Black beans were from a can, I rinsed them, added a spoon of lard, and some taco seasoning mix, then gave them a minute or two in the microwave, before, blending them with a handheld blender, and spreading them out on parchment paper lined trays. I will also just add water to the bag, and wait. They rehydrate wonderfully!

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The chicken is admittedly, an experiment. We shall see if it works! I used a mesh liner on the tray, as the pieces were small. I added half to a baggy with dehydrated bell peppers, and minced onions, and also added some mexican seasoning. I’m hoping to make fajitas with it! The other half, I plan to add to a bag of prepared Broccoli Cheddar soup! Here’s to trying something new!

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Round 1 of planning. Laying everything out, and checking for where my gaps were.

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This is final stage. I didn’t think about pictures along the way, sorry! Each day, breakfast is sweet potato porridge, with apples, raisins and maple pecans. Lunch is burritos, or salmon pouch with cracker crumbs (the food saver crushed my crackers! Lesson learned!) Dinner is various. Monday/Chicken Fajitas, Tuesday/Broccoli Chicken Cheddar Soup, Wednesday/Spaghetti (I forget if it is real pasta, or spaghetti squash. I dehydrated leftovers a while back! lol) and I threw an extra meal of Potato Chowder in, in case we need more. I’ve also packed oil packets to add, as that’s important, and cappuccinos, plus protein bars for afternoon snacks, as well as a nutty trail mix, chocolate bars, freeze dried fruits, and dehydrated zucchini chips. Each day weighs roughly 1 1/2 pounds. Some are lighter, some are a bit heavier. I think other bloggers plan for about that weight too. Hopefully, I’m carrying enough food, but not too much.

I haven’t posted in a while, but plan to do another one later this week, so that I can share the last few things I’ve got to do this week. Then, I’ll post a POST TRIP report! So excited to get pictures on here! lol

“The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God…”     Romans 12:6a 

New and Improved?

I’ve been working at a second job the past couple weeks, and am finding myself getting stronger, I think, and gaining stamina. Meanwhile, my husband has working to get this website/blog a little easier for me to utilize. So, hopefully, now, I can start making some good headway with my technology, as I am on my physical, and planning for my hike. You know? I thought about this job, and decided it might be a work out, as well as a bit of income. I’m getting the best of both! And I am not paying for it! Hurray!

2 Birds…1 Stone!

So, to undertake a big hike, you need to make sure your bank can handle it. And you also need to make sure your body can handle it. To get closer to this goal, I have found a job at a friend’s Pumpkin Patch/Farm. They sell lovely flowers as well as the pumpkin party they are gearing up for. So, I’ll work for a couple months selling mums. The mums are in 10″ buckets, and weigh LOTS, especially when the plants themselves are full, as they are. It is my job to pick up the mum, and set it on a cart, and push the cart to the front for the customer. I try, when I can to pick up two at a time, and use my thighs. Today, I am noticing the great work out, those thighs are getting! Not to mention, the pay check! Every little bit helps!

A few other exciting moments from the week, were the big pick up of the apples at the farmers’ market. My favorite backpacking breakfast is sweet potato porridge with dehydrated apples. I bought sweet potatoes too, so I’ll be dehydrating both this week. Yum!! When I figure it out, I’ll add a link to the recipe. http://www.backpackingchef.com/sweet-potato-bark.html

Let’s see. I am still trying to figure out the blog technicalities. My husband is great at computery things, so I’m hoping he will help me get this thing a bit more user friendly.

Thanks for joining me!

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

 

 

And so the sharing begins

This weekend, we got together with some really great long time friends of ours. As always, we spent time catching up, and talking about our new plans, adventures, etc. Since, mostly, the last 15 or more years have been raising kids, and the three ladies have been stay at home moms, we are now, all taking on new identities. One wife is headed back to working part time,  one wife is headed back to school, and I am planning a thru hike. This garnered LOTS of questions. It’s interesting. I’ve been reading, and planning and working out details for a while, so I find myself answering questions that are second nature to me, at this point. This means that I really do need to inform my followers of the things that might be coming to your mind, as well…

1) The Appalachian Trail is roughly 2200 miles. Well, this year, it was 2189 miles. Every year it’s a bit different because of maintenance and sections rerouted for various reasons. This means thru hikers need to be keeping up to date, and there are some great websites who keep us up to date on things, such as whiteblaze.net and http://www.appalachiantrail.org/.

2) I will start in Georgia, and finish in Maine. The trail travels through 14 states, near the east coast. It will take me roughly 6 months. My plan is to begin just after Easter, the last week in March, and finish by October. Of course, anything could happen, that might take me off the trail, and bump this. I will have to plan for flexibility.

3) I will plan to take short breaks every week. This means I will spend roughly 4-5 days on the trail, and then come into town for a night, or maybe 2 and then head back out, with food and supplies to get me another 4-5 days’ worth of food.

4) Brooks will be in charge of sending the bulk of my provisions via mail drops which I will pick up in towns along the trail. These places are very “trail friendly” and will be happy to hold my boxes until I get there. At a later point, I will try to post a list of items that would be good “care package” things, if you’d like to drop me something. Likely, my favorite will be notes and cards of encouragement.

5) I will post pictures, and journal entries when I come to town to keep everyone interested as I go.

6) Brooks also will plan to visit me regularly. I am happy to have folks join me for a few days, anywhere along the trail, and if you are interested. We can make plans later. There’s still plenty of time for all that.

Anyway, maybe there’s more questions. As I see them, I’ll try to address them. Thanks for coming along! It’s sure to be exciting!

isaiah 4216

Off we go!

So, here I am, at the precipice of the next chapter of my life. Children are grown and doing things on their own, husband is working hard, and happy to do it, and me? Well, it’s time I take on a real challenge in my life. The trail calls to me. The trail, with it’s  long and winding path, the trail with snowy peaks, rainy days, green tunnels, big rocks, and narrow ledges, keeps whispering my name, “Come. Come. Come! See what I have for you! See what challenges, what lessons, what people are waiting. Embrace me, and give yourself over to me! Let me work in you and through you, and remake you, to be the person you were meant to be!” And so, with my family’s blessing, I will answer the call.

I have little more than 6 months to prepare. Today, is the first day of the journey. I will begin with my ever important lists. I’ve already committed to exercise and healthier eating. Next up, I will seek my mission. Not just for the trail, but for my life. God has given me this life, and it’s to His Glory, I must live it. How does that look today? How does it look every day? How will it look on the trail?

Meanwhile, I will be doing some smaller training hikes, this fall. I’m excited to meet the Appalachian Trail for the first time, in October. After reading so much, and gazing longingly at so many pictures, I will get to put ME in those pictures! And, then, in November, I will get to meet another thru hiker, and hike with her for a weekend! So, my fall is shaping up to be very full!

Money is a concern as well. So, I will also be taking on a second job, starting tomorrow! Eek! I’m excited to join a local garden/pumpkin patch, and sell mums for the next few weeks! Of course, the extra money will go directly to the funds for my trail trip. And, I have some extra items in my house, that need to be sold, so I will be doing my best to get them out of my house, and clean it up, as well as hopefully, bringing in a bit of extra cash.

-The Sovereign Lord is my strength,
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19