Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One day of employment left

One day of work left. Feels good. Risky. Unreal.
Got health insurance. Feels responsible. Sensible. Preventative.
Finished my taxes. Feels mature. Pleasing. And owing $50 to the Fed!? (boo)

Now to get my normal sleeping patterns back... g'night wide world of webs!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No rain

Ok, the rain didn't begin until Sunday night... Soooo I didn't get out in it. (again) It will, however, be raining for the next few days. (and then 85 onFriday?! Wtf?!) Must get the poncho wet.

Also must get...
  • health insurance by Thursday
  • taxes done before I forget them
  • a regular sleeping pattern back
Last lacrosse game was today. Sad...
Last weekend in March. A good one...
Last three days of work. Bittersweet and bizarre...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rain predicted again

Rain is predicted for parts of this weekend, and maybe I will actually get OUT IN IT this time with my rain gear and pack?!? Alarms will be set, and motivation will be forced. My dad mentioned that I could just test it all out in the shower (which could actually prove to be even MORE entertaining than a walk around town)... But my shower has become a sacred place now. One that I will not be able to visit too many more times, and one that I will soon miss VERY dearly... I do not want to disgrace it's cleaning powers by lugging in my boots and poncho and walking in place. I love you, shower. I will walk outside in the rain.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh workplace...

Well, looks as though I'll be finishing work a week earlier than expected.

Boo...?? (or a secret surprise "yay"...?)

I have to admit that I feel a little disappointed and unappreciated by this decision, and it kinda puts a sour taste in my mouth on the way out, but what can you do...

Beautiful weather in DC this weekend!

...and so I had to get and be outside for much of it.... with my pack!

First stop was the grocery store. I walked over with about 10 lbs in the backpack and shopped around for powdered milk and cocoa and large trash bags. I also got my week's groceries, so I left with an additional 20 lbs. I managed to fit it all in and wrangle it on my back for the too-short walk home. Felt good! I weighed the bag as soon as I got to my luggage scale, and it came up as 32 lbs! (This is my goal weight for pack weight.) I could definitely handle that for 7 blocks at a time, so it's most likely do-able for 7 hours at a time.... right?

After I loaded a medium sized lunch into my gut, I loaded up the pack again. This time it was with 2 [unopened] bottles of wine, a collection of canned food, and 3 liters of water. Back up to 21 lbs, I took off for a 2 hour hike around the mall. Hiking boots, shorts, and hiking poles - the whole dorky package. I was sorta hoping I wouldn't run into many people (even tho the weather was gorgeous and everyone would surely be out and about), but as soon as I got to the Capitol building, I realized that it was healthcare weekend. So, all the protesters were out and about, and I was plowing through. The mall was filled with people, and it was a beautiful DC sight.

Long story, the shoes and pack were great, and the poles were completely unnecessary. (Doubt I'll bring those out with me again for training - they belong on the trail...) Hike = success. Confidence = high.

Sunday, I headed up to Baltimore for lacrosse (great wins ladies!!) and arrived early to set up my new tarptent (http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html). This thing is great! It's 24.5 ounces and pitches with one of my hiking poles. I need a bit of practice to get the hang of the "quick set-up," but it turned out ok, and can only get better.

Can't wait to see more nice weather now that it looks like Spring has arrived.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A knife on the trail...?

I'll be fine!! I choose to believe in the good of people while I travel, and so far, it has done me just fine. I'm not going to be stupid or appear to be an easy target - I've got street smarts and I trust my gut. Someone told me once that if you don't know how to properly use a knife as a weapon, you're basically giving your assailant a knife. Maybe I should learn how to properly handle a knife, but I prefer to choose to keep weapons off the trail...

(pause for reflection)

Though it may be a bit morbid to say, I have had a great life. A fantastic life! If something were to happen to me, let it be known that aside from birthing a child, I am very satisfied with this life of mine, and I want to continue to live as though every day is a good day to die. I had a wonderful childhood and still have an incredible family... I've pushed myself mentally and physically farther than I ever thought I could through educational and athletic challenges... I've fallen in love and had my heart broken... I've traveled [literally] around the world and have met amazing people on every continent (aside from Antarctica... Josi - fancy a trip soon?)... And I probably have the best friends anyone could ask for.

Life is good. The earth is beautiful. Go ahead and smile and say hello...

Happy Sappy Monday!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Schedule (rough estimate)

A very rough estimate of my AT schedule:

Day DateMileageLocation
14/15/20100Springer Mountain, GA
104/25/2010 135 Bryson City, NC
195/4/2010 271 Hot Springs, NC
285/13/2010 406 Moreland Gap Shelter, TN
375/22/2010552 Knot Maul Branch Shelter, TN
465/31/2010676 Niday Shelter, VA
556/9/2010818 The Priest Shelter, VA
65 6/19/2010 959Front Royal, VA
756/29/20101088 Midpoint - PA
857/9/20101230 Allentown Hiking Club Shelter, PA
957/19/20101362 Greenwood Lake, NY
1047/28/20101494 Brassie Brook Lean-to, CN
1138/6/20101635 William B Douglass Shelter, VT
1228/15/20101770 Wentworth, NH
1318/24/20101902 Full Goose Shelter, ME
1409/2/20102028 Caratuk, ME
1509/12/20102180 Mount Katahdin, ME

Also: I read a few days ago that the AT includes 91 miles of elevation gain and loss. That's a lot of up and down!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's supposed to rain

It's supposed to rain for the next few days. I should probably get out in it and test all the rain gear. I'll only need to do this once, right? Cause after I know that everything works well, then I shouldn't use it unless I need to, and I won't need to until I'm out on the trail. Ok, I can probably get out in it this weekend. I just wish I had a mud room.

On a different note... I'm struggling with trying to estimate my schedule. Part of the appeal of this hike is the "just go" mentality of it. Freedom from my calendar... Forgetting which day of the week it is... Stopping when I need to... Going fast when I'm feeling great... Staying in a shelter for a few more hours while the thunderstorm passes. Long days, short days - how am I supposed to know where I'm going to be and when?! So maybe I should just chop the whole thing in half, then half again, then half again and put dates on those eight points? It'll be a rough estimate no matter what, I guess. I'll try to just do my best for now, and I'll make edits as I need to along the way.

Oh the stress!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mail drop list, coming soon...

I'm hoping to soon have links to information pages for mail drop addresses. Many of you are asking about sending letters and/or packages along the way. I LOVE YOU FOR THIS!

I will make a list of all the mail drop places (sometimes they are post offices, sometimes hostels, sometimes churches). I've got the list of ALL of them, but I will weed out the ones I will actually try to swing by, and make a smaller "Carrie-specific" list.

PS - Snickers will be greatly enjoyed and appreciated.

Told the boss!

He took it very well and is quite excited for me, but made me feel pretty horrible for not telling him sooner! Geez, Karim! Yes, we are friends, and yes, it's not for another job but for a life-changing experience, but I didn't want to tell you till I knew it was gonna happen... Well, it's happening, and I hope you can make it out for a weekend (smiley).

Got back a day ago from a two-week vacation. Lots of beautiful weather was following me around as I traveled from Seattle to Vancouver to Portland to Boulder to Denver, and I got LOTS of outdoor time. Walked and hiked around when I could, and my confidence for this thru-hike has intensified. I also stopped by the Boulder REI and the Denver REI, where my blood gets hot and my legs twitch with anticipation. And the mountains! There were beautiful mountains everywhere! and I loved being away from work (who doesn't!?).

So, now that I'm back in DC and at work, I've got to figure out when to make it official to HR and the boss' boss (who was in a gloriously horrid mood yesterday), and then start changing my address on bills and stop my renters insurance, etc. Much left to do all round! At least I feel like I'm pretty set with all my gear.

Spring is here today!! And DST begins on Sunday - yay!!