Sunday, March 30, 2014

Catching Up

It's been to long since I've posted (over a year), and almost as long since I've done any kind of hiking. I've completely starved myself of the things that seem to give meaning to my life; hiking, writing, and photography. Unacceptable. This is in-part due to living in the flatlands of Ft. Benning, Georgia for most of 2013, but mostly due to life in general. I got wrapped up in completing my Masters Degree, working, and roller derby. After some reflection its clear that portions of my life lended themselves to the opportunity to write (i.e my adventures as a rollergirl; my conservation work along the Chattahoochee Fall Line with The Nature Conservancy), but somehow these opportunities fell by the wayside. Luckily, recent life changes have brought me back to the beautiful town of Boone, NC where hiking means stepping out my front door.

I arrived back in Boone in early December right in time for winter, which means monthly occurrences of  polar vortexes, snow, and winter events that I've fondly termed as snowacanes. In between these winter events there have been a few opportunities to head deeper and higher up into the mountains, revisiting some of my favorite places, and slowly getting back in touch with what matters most to me. Most of these trips have been training hikes for  Cori's (aka Grommet's) upcoming Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) thru-hike that she'll be attempting this year.

The PCT is graded for pack animals, and Cori and I are lucky enough to live within a mile of Moses Cone Manor that has roughly 20-miles of carriage graded trails; a perfect training ground for any PCT hopeful. We even spent the day out here with the dogs on our Springer Anniversary (the day we began our Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2009).

It's been a lot of fun revisiting all the preparation needs for thru-hiking; deciding on gear, planning meals, reading hiker books and forums, watching PCT movies, and anticipating the unknown. Granted I get to participate from the passenger seat this time and I don't have any of the mental stress that sometimes comes with the preparation of a long-journey, but I'm excited to be on the support side of this hike. I'm going to be helping Cori out with her mail drops, as well as assisting her in getting her journals, photos, and videos up online.

As I dedicate my Spring and Summer to being a support crew master, I am also pledging to spend time getting myself ready for my own backpacking adventures. I've been saying for the last 3-years that I would like to finish the the remaining 175 miles of the Long Trail in Vermont. The first 100-miles of the Long Trail follows the Appalachian Trail, which I was fortunate enough to complete in 2009. If all my pieces fall into place this summer (money, dog-sitters, etc.) I hope to be back on trail by mid-September and spend two-weeks finishing up what I started five-years ago. It's nice to have a hiking goal again.

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