Metapost: A Year in the Woods

Posted By on December 31, 2012

Metapost: A Year in the Woods

so, it’s been a full year since i started keeping track of my walking/hiking. as i say up above, it started out as my 2012 new year’s resolution to just go out and move and it turned into an addiction, with almost 600 miles walked on 146 days.

i’ve never been an “exerciser.” never played a sport, never got people who did. but i remember as a kid loving the woods. my brother and i knew the woods behind our house intimately. we named all the trails and the cool places that they went (kettlety trail—2-tire pond—girl scout pond). when we went on long car trips i would spend my time studying the woods we passed through looking for trails and imagining all the special places hidden in the trees. not sure what happened between the ages of, say, 20 and 56, but somewhere i lost interest, only to have it reawakened this year.

i’ve seen some beautiful places this past year, and fallen for some of them hard (ha! in more ways than one!). i love arcadia in rhode island, and barn island in connecticut. i absolutely love nipmuck state forest up in union, ct., and i was awed and amazed by my trip to the white mountains in new hampshire. i think the thing that blew my mind the most was the simple fact that i was actually able to climb the trails. a year ago, the idea that i would be hiking mountain trails in the presidential range of new hampshire, with snow on the ground, no less, would have sounded as outlandish to me as the idea that i might be heading for the moon, or for a deep sea dive into the marianas trench. hell, i used to think a simple 6-mile hike through the woods sounded insane. now it sounds… well, too short.

in the snow, no less!

in the snow, no less!

lately i’ve been reading a LOT of books* about backpacking and through-hiking long trails. they have reminded me of another dream i had when i was a kid: to hike the appalachian trail. i believe there was a guy who was doing exactly that who was sending updates to my local newspaper back when i was in high school, and i remember following them avidly.

new goal

new goal

which brings me to my goal(s) for the coming year. i’ve decided i want to through-hike the appalachian trail in 2014. (i’m still trying to fathom why. it’s partly a journey of self-discovery, and partly the joy of self-reliance. and of course it’s an opportunity to see and really be a part of nature.)

[and please notice i never once used the word “try” in the above paragraph. i think that once you start qualifying a massive commitment like through-hiking the AT, you’re already building in an escape. you’re either going to do it or not. thousands (quite literally) of people try to hike the AT. not too many actually make it to maine.]

at north

at north

it’s also a major undertaking, and i will need money and gear and training, which together make a good set of goals for 2013.

first i’m going to need a job of some sort, preferably part time. i’ve seen estimates that it costs about $2.00-$2.50 per mile to hike the AT, which is approximately 2,172 miles long. do the math. ouch! i’ve also seen estimates of around $1,000 for the necessary gear, which includes pack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking gear, food, boots, clothing… you get the idea.

as for training, i’d say i already have a decent start on that. i intend to continue hiking, only this year i will seek out more challenging trails—ones with lots of ups and downs. and i’ll also start an exercise program to strengthen my ankles and legs, and improve my balance. these are easy and quick to do, and i’m sure i will be able to find 10 minutes a day to get them in.

oh, and i’m gonna need a trail name! how does “auntie beak” sound?

see that white blaze on the right? ACTUAL AT BLAZE!

ab on the at: see that white blaze on the right? ACTUAL AT BLAZE!

*here are the books i’ve read: wild: from lost to found on the pacific crest trail by cheryl strayed; my own hike: a woman’s journey on the appalachian trail by nancy shepherd; hiking through: one man’s journey to peace and freedom on the appalachian trail by paul stutzman; and i’m currently reading awol on the appalachian trail by david miller. oh, and just put “hiking the appalachian trail” into the amazon search box. there are SO MANY MORE! i may do book reviews in future posts.

photo credit, new goal: asafantman via photopin cc

photo credit, at north: ems18 via photopin cc

photo credit, ab on the at: dirtynailz

Comments

6 Responses to “Metapost: A Year in the Woods”

  1. Dan says:

    I’ve never through hiked a long trail but would love to some day. I better get at it though, I’m not getting any younger! I’ve done a lot of reading about AT though hikes and hikers and it seems the biggest mistake most first-timers make is taking too much gear which results in a heavy pack weight. You want to keep your pack weight as light as possible without compromising safety. It will make the journey much more enjoyable. Good Luck!

    • Dan says:

      Oh, Skywalker’s and The Barefoot Sisters books on the AT are both good reads. I’ve read AWOL’s and so many others. Most have been very good.

      • auntie says:

        yeah, there sure are a lot of books. i am reading one now that, well, i hate. but mostly because it’s all about the hiker, and how he “yellow blazes” some of the hike, and can’t do the entire thru hike in one shot, and how he is such a loser with women. not what i have in mind when i start a book on the at. but they can’t all be awol, i guess!

    • auntie says:

      practice makes perfect or huge orthopedic surgeon bills, one or the other…

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