[From my Journal] April 7, 2019 10:00 PM
I woke to the sounds of geese calling out … 7:30 AM. My first thought was “it’s so warm inside this sleeping bag, maybe I can just lay here for another half-hour”?
Ten minutes later, I was standing in my trail runners and Smartwool bottoms, next to a very large and secluded Pine tree, peeing in the wind and establishing what I guess is to become my morning routine on trail.
I slept well and although not a back-sleeper, I did manage to begin my sleep while laying on my back. Even though the temperature was forecast to drop down into the low 40’s, I decided to sleep with the front fly door open – allowing the breeze to blow into the tent, and the opportunity to experience cooler weather while in my shelter.
My hands and fingers got a bit chilled, but I quickly figured out the perfect way to lay on my side and wrap my sleeping bag up, around me, and allow my hands and fingers to be covered. I’m certain that I’ll need to have a light pair of gloves in cases where the temperatures are under 40 degrees F.
Once up and moving about, I quickly gathered my stove kit and retrieved my bear/food bag hanging from the tree – the only goal being a hot cup of coffee! The MSR Pocket Rocket II fired right up, and water for coffee was boiling in a couple of minutes. I opened a packet of Starbucks VIA Instant and poured it into my mug, added the hot water, and …. AHHHhhhh, so tasty!
As I enjoyed my morning coffee, I decided that I will carry a stove & mug on any/every hike if for no other reason than moments like this one.
I finished my coffee along with a Kind Bar for breakfast, cleaned my mug and set off to break down camp and start my day.
With everything packed away in “it’s place” in my pack, I was off. Beginning with a short road walk back to Marker 1, then Marker 2 and onward to continue my hike from where I left off the day before.
It was another beautiful day, with the sun peaking in and out of the clouds, and temperatures absolutely perfect for hiking – so much so, I was able to shed my hiking shirt and just hike in my Nike Pro running shirt. And even with my last trail mile before this hike taken place in late November last year, my legs were a little stiff, but seemed to quickly remember they were built for this. A quick right turn at Marker 2, and I was on my way in search of Marker 15.
Just as I had mentally broken this hike down into a number of smaller hikes or goals, I like to refer to them as challenges, Marker 15 would become Marker 14, …
Marker 14 would become Marker 13, …
then 12 to 11 and, …
and I found myself thinking of hiking the 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, not as a single ominous 2200 mile hike, but rather as 22 smaller hikes or goals of 100 miles. In turn, breaking down each 100 mile segment into five 20-mile days, with a Zero on day 6 or 7 as needed.
In Zach Davis’s “Appalachian Trials” he points out how important it is to be mentally prepared for a Thru-Hike, with mental preparedness being more important than being physically fit or prepared.
I’ve always taken things apart, broken them down, mapped the path from point a to point z, and even in the short time I’ve been dreaming of Thru-Hiking, I have done the same with my plans to date.
But at some point, all the planning, all the research, all the details have to give way, break into existence becoming ‘reality’, and I honestly feel as if my time to ramble afoot is approaching.
- Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail
- Start: Marker 1
- End: Marker 8
- Garmin InReach: Avg 2.7 mph, 8.33 Miles
- FitBit: 26426 Steps, 19 Floors, 11.66 Miles