That Chapter Is Written, Although My Book Is Not Finished

Itinerary – 16 Days

It’s officially 16 days from my AT thru start date (16 Feb 23). Today is a special day for another reason. Today is my last official day as an active duty US Army Soldier. At 0001 or 12:01am this evening, I stopped working. Even in the last 90+ days I haven’t felt so busy since I was last on vacation and getting ready for this next game. My last post was 45 days ago, so let’s catch up.

Preparation, preparation, and more

In addition to exercising by hiking, biking and skiing (Peak 6 Breckenridge Resort cover face) I upgraded my gear and lightened my pack. I sent all my clothes to Insect Shield and had them treated. The treatment lasts up to 70x washes and the whole process took less than 3 weeks. I still need to fix my pack, shoes, poles and tent.

I fly from Colorado back to North Carolina on Friday and will start preparing my boxes for the first 45 days. After that, I’ll probably use city resupply vs boxes for the rest of the route. My starting point is still the approach road to Amicalola Falls, GA. I read the Farmers Almanac and looked at the weather forecast. I’m sure one will leave with the impression that reading is pointless. Thanks for the advice and improve your trip!

Most Common Answers Listening and Reasoning

I have met quite a few people in the past 90 days living in Colorado. When I tell people what I’m going to try to do I get 3 very common responses:

  1. Yooh! Must be evil! I wish I could, but”enter a reason here“.
  2. Um…you go crazy!
  3. Must be go crazy! How long is it? (Though I appreciate calling out the crazy attempts to ask if I’m crazy)

After those answers and a quick back exchange I lead to tell them that I have served in the Army for 20 + yrs and want to take a “gap year”. I wanted time for decompression, the ability to think, and figure out what to do with the next chapters in my life. I already have a job and I quit it. That chapter is written, although my book is not finished.

Never Forget Your Gear is Built by the Lowest Buyer

I mentioned this in a previous post. While in the military most of your equipment (including weapons) is either built or supplied by a very low cost customer. This is the first time I’ve used materials that don’t fall into that category. After a few hikes down, weighing things, and getting over “hiker hoarded syndrome”, my gear confidence is up. Although no project survives the meeting and I know that things will break, get lost, or not work. But as Patrick Swayze said in Road House “Expect the unexpected”.

Unfortunately, the Altra Timps did not make it from training to training. I was hoping to get at least another 250mi out of them on the road. The mesh on the right shoe started to fray and is basically gone at this point (a common issue from what I’ve researched). I decided to go with the new Altra Lone Peak 7’s for the first 400-500mi (depending on the condition). It’s different at first than the Timps, but I’m already loving them and have about 100mi on them now.

Returning While Vo-cationing

I’m proud to announce that I’m raising money on the road for the Greg Hill Foundation! This foundation is based in Boston, MA and has helped provide relief to emergency services workers, the general public, and others in times of need after tragic life events. The foundation did amazing work after the Boston Marathon bombings and continues to provide exceptional assistance to those throughout the New England region. It’s not 100% profitable and I don’t actually earn any money. The link below is to my fundraiser page and has more information about the foundation if anyone is interested.

Every donation goes a long way!

I really wanted to get at least a 14er before I hit the road, however the snow cover has been too much this winter. So here are a few photos from the past two months of hiking and skiing. The first photo (from left to right) is from the Crags Trail hike. Distance of about 8mi and starting altitude of 9900ft up to 11k ft. It was 9 degrees when we started, a little cold. The next picture is after taking the Keystone Resort snow up to the bowls area. I’m all frozen in my beard, but I was surprisingly not too cold. Finally is the view looking back up the bowl of Peak 6 in Breckenridge. I’ve been told many times that I need to buy a Go-Pro, but maybe next year. Thanks for following and checking out my Insta for more hiking/skiing news!

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