Friday, March 25, 2011

the firsts and the foremosts

Here we are. Lindsay, Chaser, and I have begun watching, researching, and reading as much we can about our new adventure. What adventure you ask? The Appalachian Trail. Yeah, it's official. Since the decision to go, we've slowly been slipping the news to friends and family. It usually goes something like this:

Them - "What's been going on lately?"
 Me - "Well, Lindsay is about to graduate and I still haven't found the job I've been looking for. So, we are trying to save some money and go do something before real life really catches up."

Them - "Oh yeah? Like what?"
Me - "You know we love the woods, so we're setting our goal on going on the Appalachian Trail. Wait, I always say 'going on the Appalachian Trail'. What I mean is, we are going to go hike this massively long trail called the Appalachian Trail."

Them - "Really? That sounds cool. Where's that?"
Me - "Georgia... and North Carolina, and Virginia, and Tennessee... And Vermont, New York, Maine. Fourteen states total. I can't always remember them all."

Them - "What? How long is that gonna take?"
Me - "Well, generally about 6 months. Starts in Georgia and ends over 2100 miles later in Maine."

Them - "Whoa. That's ridiculous. Where are y'all gonna stay? You're gonna camp or something?"
Me - "Yep. We are gonna be doing a lot of that. In tents, shelters, sometimes motels and hostels in small towns that the trail passes through. But we'll mainly be in the woods."

Them - "What about food?"
Me - "How'd I know that was the next question? Well, when you stop in towns you resupply. Plus, Linds and I are gonna make and send a substantial amount of provisions to drop boxes in towns along the way so it might save us some money. You know, jerky, mac n cheese, ramen, lots of dehydrated stuff."

Them - "You think you can do that for, how many did you say? 6 months?"
Me - "Yes. You know I'm in the woods every weekend of my life. There's no place that's better. But here's the thing, bout 2000 people start it every year and only about 200 succeed. That's like 10 percent. But I got this feeling and I have to at least try."

Them - "So you know what you are getting into? You've been researching a bit?"
Me - "I'm about to start my third book, and I rarely read... until now. Not to mention all the films we've been watching on it. We're getting into the mindset more and more everyday. I really wish we were leaving this March but we need more prep time and time to raise funds."

Them - "What about Chaser? Whose gonna take care of him?"
Me - "That was quite an issue! I've read blog after blog, and each book taps on the subject about this ultimate decision of a dogs' place on the trail. Basically, he's coming with us. He's built for the outdoors and I have no question in my mind that he won't have the time of his life. He's well behaved enough and to be honest, we know people often don't complete the trail because of something pulling them back at home. It'd be impossible for me to leave him that long. It'd be tugging on our hearts constantly. Yeah, there's mixed opinions about dogs on the trail in addition to having some places he's simply not allowed to go, like The Great Smoky Mountains. 75 miles of national forest he isn't allowed in. No dogs are. It's not gonna be easy or cheap but the best options I've read is to kennel him and get him shuttled to us after the 75 miles of hiking. Probably gonna have to do that a a time or two. He can't finish with us at Baxter State Park in Maine either. Not allowed at that park. But if there's any dog that can handle an adventure like this, it's Chase Face."

Them - "Sounds like you might know what you are doing. How much are you estimating it will cost you?"
Me - "Another solid question that has a scary answer. With everything I've researched, the general advice is about $2500-3000 per person. But I think we are gonna shoot for $5000. We are good at pinching pennies as it is and I think we can make it with that. However, at least $1500 for supplies and possibly another $1000 just for Chaser's sake. I mean, we are gonna have fly him back from Maine. Plus... A camera and it's supplies."

Them - "Sweet Jesus. So 8000ish dollars? How are you gonna save that?"
Me - "We are moving in with my dad for a couple months and we are have some saved up. We do have a year to save more and I believe we can meet our mark."

Them - "What about the camera? What's that about?"
Me - "Well, here's the plan there. This is the adventure of a life time. I don't know when or if we are ever gonna get to do something like this again unless it's after I'm retired in 50 years. You know that I make movies already. I shoot and edit. Why not make a documentary out of sorts out of this? Cause here's the thing- again, we've read and watched a substantial amount on AT. That's what they call it for short and they call what we are doing, hiking from start to end, a thru hike. Pretty self-explanatory. Anyway, no one has documented, at least in video format, all the ups and downs of a thru hike on the AT with a girlfriend and a dog. I can only imagine the challenges each will present. Pretty much 24 hours a day for 6 months. I've read enough to know it can make or break friendships and relationships. I don't believe it will us. Our love is strong. But again, with all the extra stuff I gotta do for Chaser to join and enjoy, it would be helpful to others with the same idea of hiking with man's best friend. I wish I had sort of a guide for the in particular journey we're going to embark upon but I don't. So, I'm gonna make the guide. I've contacted many people who have been working on filming thru hike projects for advice and they have had some good stuff and are really supportive. Am I gonna make it to churn out a profit or just do YouTube stuff? I don't know yet. I have a year to work out all those kinks. But I know Lindsay is on board and supports it which is the next most important thing about it."

Them - "Man, I wish I could go hike with y'all."
Me - "You should come hike a section. And to start some research, Instant Stream 'National Geographic: Appalachian Trail' on Netflix. It's what introduced us. Our future hasn't been the same since we've watched it."

Did that answer a couple questions? Perhaps maybe?

We have a lot of planning ahead of us and we have hit the ground running. We are setting up this blog and soon a Facebook page for people like us who want to share the dream and see some of the trials, tribulations, costs, and good times that can be had when preparing to hike the back bone of the Appalachian trail for over 2100 miles. We didn't know it existed until about 2 month ago but felt an immediate connection when we found out

Future posts are going to consist of gear preparation and advice, book reviews, and other overall updates. Whoever you are, we look forward to sharing it with you and can't wait to see you on the trail.

Join us on our Climb to Katahdin. See what I did there?:)

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