Did you do that when you were a kid? Measure the time to an exciting event by how many sleeps were left? I did. I still do.
On Friday morning I will shower at 5AM. By 5:20 I will be on the road to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Why, you say? To leave my car and hitch a lift with Rhonda (AT Shuttler) to the Mason-Dixon Line. Why there you say? Because I’m going to hike the 40 or so miles through the entire section of Maryland’s Applachian Trail. 4 days and 3 nights. My first Solo SOBO (Southbound) Section Hike.
Maryland will be finished. Then NJ. Then the rest of them. I’m not sure I will finish the entire 2200 miles, but I am going to try. I think. I will know after this trip. Already I’m attached to the White Blazes. The 2×6 inch marks that guide you from Georgia to Maine. Funny how they say “Maine to Georgia” when describe the trail when almost everyone starts in Georgia!
I have been retired for 10 years. I have done all sorts of stuff. Traveled through Europe and lived in South Africa. Kissed the Blarney Stone and surfed at J-Bay. Tremendous life experiences. I live my dream pretty much. It has all been great but this is different somehow. It’s bigger. It’s my first long term goal ever.
I have set goals, believe me. I coached high school football and volleyball. I directed high school theater. I taught in a public high school for 33 1/2 years. I set goals. Goals to win championships. Goals create beautiful theater productions. Short term goals.
The only long term goal I have for myself, is to stay sober for my time upright on the planet. This is different. I will probably not finish. I will try. I don’t care if I finish. I don’t want an award or anything really. I just want to be a part of the AT Community. I want to be a Section Hiker. I will decide in 2 more sleeps.
So, my memorial service will start with The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” You can decide yourself how to interpret the irony. Then I hope someone will say, “He was a good husband. He was a good dad. He was a good brother. He was a good friend and he tried to finish his Section Hike of The Appalachian Trail.”
Then my ashes will be mixed with concrete and fashoned into a piece of an artificial reef. Eternity working to improve the quality of the Sea.
And good grief. No grief! What a life I have lived! I could die now and it has exceded my expectations! How great is that?
How great is that?!
2 more sleeps.