Friday, March 30, 2012

Rollllll out

Welp, here we are. My last day before rolling out of town.

I have been successful at keeping a low profile at church and most people had no idea it was my last sunday. In fact, I imagine Beau and my parents will get a lot of questions as to why I've suddenly become inactive. It's not that I don't like telling people - I just feel kind of awkward getting unneccesary attention.  Beau has probably talked to more people about it than I have.

Work is work. Hopefully they will find a spot for me when I get back. I'm not too worried about it.  I generally do a good job and people like me, so I'm sure everything will work out fine. If not, I'm up for looking for a new job!

Anyway, now that I've gotten my one maildrop together, visited the dentist, and made my final gear adjustments, I (think) I'm ready.  As ready as I will be, anway.  I don't think one could ever be completely ready before leaving on a thru hike.  There are plenty of towns with stores and outfitters to make changes in your gear or apparel.  I don't pretend that I will stick with all the decisions I've made about gear. Getting a system to keep my stuff dry will be an ongoing battle. Chafing will be an ongoing battle. A million other things I don't know about will be ongoing battles.

Obligatory pack photo:

Is this really everything? It doesn't seem like very much stuff.
It looks like it's about to give birth.
I found myself majorly procrastinating packing up everything in my backpack.  I had everything in a pile and had no idea how it would all fit.  Last night, I cajoled my dad into helping me pack.  Surprisingly, once EVERYTHING is in, my total pack weight is 29 lbs.  I don't have water in yet, but I did have a full 5 days worth of food. And food weighs a lot- I got my 5 days worth of food to get us to Unicoi Gap and put it in my food bag. Hello 10 pounds! 10 pounds, for food? I'm probably bringing too much. Oh well.

Oh goodness, I'm getting rambly.

I look forward to posting random updates and photos when I'm in town.  Beau, my official thru hike coordinator, has full license to blog as he wishes.  He is currently under the weather- check out what an awesome wife I am: I'm leaving for the AT on his birthday when he's sick. The key to this scenario is that Beau is the most supportive and patient person you will ever meet. I'm lucky.

Off to bed. Happy General Conference weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012

anecdote from Denny Emerson

Highly unrelated to my life right now, as the last time I was on a horse was in November, but this excerpt from Denny Emerson's blog made me lolz:

" “Herding cats” is a pretty good description of the job of Cross Country Warm Up Steward, my official title for today. Luckily, Susan and Van Firth will be there to keep me from messing up too badly, as we coax, coerce, badger and nudge riders from the safety of the warm up area down to the Jaws of the Starting Box. Some of them go cheerily to their fate, like lemmings off the cliff into the North Sea, or where ever it is they drop from, but others wiggle and squirm, and need more Gestapo like measures. “Number Eight, we are deeply and sincerely sorry that you are only twenty years old, and your coach is not here to hold your little hand and watch you jump the warm-up X thirty three more times, while Dauntless Dobbin gets covered with more lather than if he`d run around Badminton, but you actually do have only 24 seconds left before your scheduled start time, and we are already fifty three minutes behind because fence 12 got knocked into the Head Of The Lake, and the chainsaw artist had to carve another life size Armadillo before we could resume, and the Technical Delegate`s golf cart ran out of gas before he could approve it, and you know he`s too unfit to walk there to inspect it, since the last time he actually rode a horse was 1979, so we had to find a cart replacement, SO GET OVER THERE!” "

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

by the numbers

105 pills in my ziploc baggie allotted for the first three weeks of hiking (ibuprofen and multivitamins)
78 degrees is the high temperature for Suches, GA. Uh, if it's high 70s in March, am I going to get high 90s in June??
~35 lbs = my fully loaded pack weight (too disorganized and too scared to know the actual)
13 days until we arrive at Springer Mountain
11 hours driving to Springer Mountain from home (thankfully broken up by stopping for a day in Winston-Salem, NC)
8 days left of work
3 times per day my dad says, "I think we should go to Georgia."
3 times per day my mom asks my dad, "Whose hike is this again?"
1 planned mail drop. It better be at Fontana Dam when I get there.

weekend practice hike on the AT

ALSO! check out this great video, documenting hair growth on the Appalachian Trail:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

you know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York

Last weekend (I feel like all of my blog posts start with that phrase) Beau and I joined in on my parent's trip to NYC.  Ashley and Tim came down from Boston and we stayed in Ashley's friend's apartment in Brooklyn while she was out of town.

Friday we did the obligatory Times Square tour, 5th Ave, yadda yadda.  That night I confirmed my love of Thai takeout and red headed little girls at another one of Ashley's friend's place.

Saturday was really fun because we spent most of our time away from all the hubbub.  When I've visited in the past (high school), we mostly stuck to the Times Square area because that's where all the crazy stuff is and TKTS and Broadway shows and the like.  With Ashley and Tim as tour guides, we went to (slightly) less touristy areas and Beau and I liked that much more.  We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, hit up Wall Street, went to the 9/11 memorial, and had lunch at the Eataly. 

I had my first Shake Shack experience, and let me tell you, that was the best shake concrete I've ever had in my life. Beau and I got one to split... then got another because half was just not enough. And the fun isn't stopping here because there are two locations in DC.

50% of the time I miss my spiky hair and 50% of the time I want it to be long again. I figured that thru hiking would be a good opportunity to grow it out. I was at an appointment last week and the girl checking me in complimented me on my hair. I said thanks, and that this is actually longer than usual because I'm growing it out.  She joked about how it can get to be in such an awkward phase and it makes you want to "go hide in the woods while it grows out".  Actually, friend, that's exactly what I'm doing.

Oh! On our way to lunch, we saw Pete Hornburger (30 Rock) on the Subway! I talked to him (briefly, don't worry I wasn't annoying) and he was nice.

We went over to the Highline- what a cool park. I'd never even heard of it.  The only picures we took here was this neat birdhouse and a view from the park.  I'd love to come again in the spring when everything is in full bloom.

Next was a quick walk through Chinatown, because the vendors there crack me up.  I have always wanted to make a deal with the shady purse sellers, but I have no use for designer bags.

Sunday, before heading back to VA, we went to church in building that also houses the temple.

The End!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

practice hike and skiing report

Last Tuesday, my mom, Beau, and I went to a presentation by Jennifer Pharr Davis

She is a 3 time thru hiker, author of "Becoming Odyssa", and currently holds the record for the fastest thru hike (not that the ATC even recognizes "records" for hiking...). Her drive and pain tolerance is AMAZING. She finished in 47 days, averaging 47 miles per day. Hearing about how she continued on despite terrible shin splints and hypothermia makes me resolve that I will finish my thru hike within the measly 5-6 month time frame no matter what the challenge is.

My parents and I set out for a short overnighter last weekend, starting at Bears Den and heading south.  It was a good opportunity to use some of my new equipment.  I love my new stove- the Soto OD1R from REI.  It's nice to have the auto starter instead of lighting a match with cold fingers.  I do wish it had a hard plastic case like the MSR Pocket Rocket, but I can deal with it.  Even with such a short trip (3 miles in to the shelter on Friday, 5 miles on Saturday) I had some good take aways:

- I need to organize my pack better. My pack has lots of pockets, which is only awesome when you know which pocket you put everything in.
- Friday morning, I decided to hike in running tights instead of hiking pants (partly due to my misplaced hiking pants, mostly for comfort) and decided tights are far superior. a) they're comfortable b) they dry quicker c) they don't pick up mud and wetness like regular pants do and d) they are way more flattering than my hiking pants.  Because the trees really care what I look like.
- Being by myself will be kind of scary. I'm glad I'm starting on a "normal" start date where there will be lots of other people around. At the beginning, anyway.
my cute mom at the Sam Moore shelter

I take back what I said about my change of apparel being more flattering
Why wasn't Beau with us, you ask? Beau is to hiking as Mackenzie is to skiing.  Skiing is okay for me, but I am happiest with easy terrain, lots of breaks, and maybe actually just spending most of my time in the lodge people watching.

Beau and his dad and two brothers had a great weekend in Park City.

How awesome is this picture??
Oh, and Beau shaved his beard into a "monkey's tail" on a dare from Quin. Love it.