Preparation

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!

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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

Hello world!

Well, here I am. I’m starting a blog to track my progress towards my goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail. As with all big goals, I expect to find trials that I will need to work through, and triumphs as I learn new skills and gain new abilities. There will be many trips along the way. I love to travel, as does my husband, and I may share the trips we take, here. Finally, I will endeavor to hit the trails regularly, and report on my shakedown and test hikes as well!

I’ve been thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail for a few years. Just the idea of walking roughly 2200 miles in a mere 6 months is crazy to me. But I know many have done it. I will have plenty of things to prepare for, including figuring out the best gear to take, how I’ll manage my food, (mail drops, or in town resupplies) what kind of breaks I’ll have, and getting my body in shape. SO much to do!! I’m so glad you are joining me on this journey! Here we go!