A Week on the Appalachian Trail
Saturday, June 9th, 2007
Today I’m in a pretty nice hotel suite in Pinehurst, NC anticipating the wedding of my best friend, Amanda Evans (yep, she’s Amanda, too). Tomorrow she’ll be heading to Hawaii, and Scott and I will drive to Hampton, TN. Jack Hardman decided not to go on the hike, though he really wanted to go. He had family obligations. We will certainly miss his company on the trail. There is never a dull moment with Jack.
|Amanda and Robert|
I feel like I’m prepared for the hike, but I still have the nagging feeling I forgot to pack something I’ll really need. Luckily we’re going to meet our friend, Chal, tomorrow. He leads groups on hiking trips in the Grand Canyon, so he’ll make sure we have everything we need.
Besides gathering all the stuff we need, I did a little physical training to prepare. For Christmas, Scott got me the Nike plus kit with some new shoes. I decided to train for a 5K to get in better shape for the hike. Of course Southwest Florida has no hills other than bridges, so I’m hoping that running on flat ground will help a little. I did read another hiker’s blog and it said the only way to train without hills is to run steps until you puke. Well no thank you! I did work my way up to running an entire 5K, and I was excited! I’ve never been a distance runner even though I tried to run cross country my freshman year in high school.
A couple of weeks ago, I hiked eight miles on the southernmost section of the Florida Trail with our outdoor writer, Byron Stout. I thought it would be a nice test to see if I was prepared. It was a great hike through the Big Cypress National Preserve — better than I thought it would be. The only animals we saw were birds — no panthers, no gators, no bears.
Within about five minutes of starting the hike, my shoulders hurt under the weight of my day pack. I figure I’ll be carrying much more weight on the Appalachian trail, so I’m a little worried about ending the week with an aching back. Since we don’t have our packs yet I have no idea how much mine will weigh, but the average weight for a hiker’s pack is 30-40 pounds.
After finishing the hike on the Florida Trail, I was glad to be sitting in the air conditioned car on my way back to Fort Myers for a hot dinner at home. On Monday evening we won’t have the luxury of air conditioning, but we will have a hot meal. We’ll be rehydrating some dehydrated potato soup over our tiny little stove and hoping a bear doesn’t come to investigate.
When we get to the Laurel Fork Lodge tomorrow evening, I’ll post some photos of us at the lodge and with the trout we catch in the nearby stream….if we can catch them.