Friday, March 30, 2012

Just about time to go

Well, the clock is almost finished counting me down.  In a few minutes there will be 48 hours to go.  Tomorrow we drive south and Sunday morning I hike.  To say I am excited is a huge understatement.  But with all the packing and storing and cleaning of the house, there's hardly time to think about it.  I am probably going to need a rest day just to recover from moving - as my feet, knees, and back are sore from lifting boxes and furniture.  Well, it's got to get done.

As a matter of fact, after I post this, I am shutting the computer down and the tv too and packing them up too.  I will probably get more done that way too. 

All the normal emotions are running through me - ranging from absolute excitement and joy, to trepidation and anxiety - happy to be going, sad to say goodbye.  Wow - what a mess my head and heart are.  Well, at least you know I am letting you get the inside scoop here on the blog.

So, off we go, see you soon, it's finally time to go.

Oh, and the beard is starting to come in, thankfully.

Happy trails,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clock is spinning faster not slower

Just a note to post some thoughts.  Feeling kind of strange today.  I disassembled my bed yesterday and put it in storage.  So I set up my hammock in the house to get used to it again before the trail.  I've been meeting for lunch and such with old friends and colleagues one last time before I leave.  It's good to get together, but all that is tempered with the fact that I won't see family and friends for about 6 months.  There are quite a few little ones that are growing fast.  Six months is a long time to miss watching them grow.  Well, that's part of it all, isn't it.  There are pluses and minuses to being away for so long.  But then again, six months isn't that long after all.  Today is a day to get the last of the household goods to storage and decide what's trash and what isn't.  Then two days to clean inside and out one last time......and then Saturday is travel day!  It seems like that clock is spinning faster and faster and not slower as you might expect 

Well, things to do, so must keep this post short.

Happy trails!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fearfull Critters on the AT

One of the most frequent questions I get is in regards to the bears.  No, I am not really concerned about the bears.  The black bears on the eastern seaboard are mostly after food - and hikers and campers are not really food to a black bear.  What they want are the cookies and snickers and such that they smell in a backpack or food sack.  The regular advice is to hang your food bag (or your entire pack) from a tree limb away from your campsite.  There is now one section of the trail in Georgia that the forestry department has declared as an area where overnight campers must use a bear canister.  From what I have heard, the bears have learned where food is kept and are smart enough and persistent enough to get it.  Since this is only a 5 mile section where the regulation is in play, most hikers are simply hiking through it and camping well on the other side.  I plan on doing that myself.  For everywhere else, I am taking 50 feet of paracord to use to hang my food bag up in the air away from any scavenging bears.

Mice are another source of food theft.  Apparently mice frequent shelters on the trail because of the natural hiker food source as well as a place to hide and thrive under the shelter floor.  Stories abound about mice chewing through backpacks to get to crumbs.  The standard advice is to leave all backpack pockets open and empty so the mice will inspect and not chew.  Food bags are also hung inside the shelters from futile attempts to foil the little bastards.  A string hung from the ceiling to get your food bag off the ground.  To keep the mice from climbing down the string, an empty tuna can is tied in the middle.  Unless it's done particularly well,  the mice simply jump from the wall or the neighboring string directly onto your food bag and dine to their heart's content.  My choice is to avoid the shelters except in the worst weather.

Bears and mice are merely annoyances compared to the real scary critter:  This little, itty-bitty, thing called Ixodes Scapularus - otherwise known as the Deer Tick.   I have developed a healthy respect for this little critter and the potential for the results of their love bite - Lyme Disease.  If a Deer Tick carrying Lyme Disease bites and stays with you for 36 hours, chances are very good that you're going to get very sick.  If you can get it off quickly, or at least within the 36 hours, then the transmission can be avoided or the resulting illness less severe.  It can be a hike-stopper for sure.