Under the bridge coming into Harper’s Ferry, you will find this. Pretty amazing that the graffiti artists have done their work all over this wall and left this signpost alone. This post will have nothing more to do with this photo. I just like starting with some color.
A year ago, I didn’t have a decent backpack. I was still trying to spend next to no money on gear, thinking maybe I would go “off” this whole hiking thing. I can be like that. All fired up and then not interested. I’m hard to entertain. I have done so much in my life. Four sports and the band in high school. Division One college football. Club mens volleyball all over the East Coast. I’ve done the Cape Argus Bicycle tour around the bottom of Africa three times. I’ve surfed at Rincon and Cape St. Francis. I fish, paddleboard, land paddle, play guitar, skateboard, snowboard, ski, and kayak. I’ve coached high school football and boys volleyball. I’ve directed high school theater. I paint. There’s probably more.
I retired in 2007 from teaching high school Health and Physical Education.
I have ADHD. Obviously.
There have been so many “things’ I have done. When I got sober 20 years ago, my sister in law said, “Just another of Doug’s “things.” I set out to prove her wrong. So far so good.
Since retirement, I have been uneasy. I didn’t know why until recently. I have had no goal in front of me. I need structure. I needs a goal so I can plan. Strategize. I loved coaching football. There was always a game to plan for. A “game plan” to work on. All my coaching would put me into “hyper focus.” Then I could concentrate and create, and my mind was occupied.
I knew some time ago that I neede to do something, but I just didn’t want to work or commit to ANYTHING. I like going through the day with no bell schedule. I still do. Love it actually.
I do not feel one bit uneasy now. I am not just marking time and staying busy. I have direction. It’s so great. I’ve decided to Section Hike the Appalation Trail. I’m SURE there are people in my life that think this is just another of Doug’s “things.” It’s not. I feel 10 years, at least, younger. I sleep less. I eat less. I move more. My crazy brain is OCCUPIED. The doctor is “IN!”
I’m hiking Saturday. My pack is ready now. It’s Thursday.
This last year of learning has been, I don’t have a word for it. Magic maybe.
I can go multiple days in the woods now without irrational fear. I’ve read tons on hiking safety and bear behavior. I have maps and apps. I have moisture wicking and 800 rated Goose Down clothes. I have 5 pairs of hiking footwear. 3 packs. 2 sets of trekking poles, and on the list goes. I have friends, a bunch of new friends, and a few really close frinds. My life philosophy and my spirituality has changed. My blood pressure and cholesterol are down.
Uh oh. The THOUGHT is percolating in the primative part of my brain. The THRU-HIKE thought. Uh oh. My pulse just shot up.
I’m just in the question stage. How can I make sure my sobriety and my marriage stay as solid as they are now? That is really all that matters in my life. Sobriety and family. I can’t mess that up. How can I break up the hiking into pieces that will allow my wife and I to stay as close as we are. I have gone away for 4 or 5 days by myself. She went to South Africa for 6 weeks while I stayed home due to my thyroid cancer. We stayed close. We’ve been together for 19 years. More thought. I have to give this more thought.
Now you understand the “Uh oh.”