Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Never Been More Thankful for Leap Year!

Every day counts right now. The days have consisted of finding clothing, dehydrating more veggies/fruits/meat, further research, and preparing the home front for our departure. Plus, "another day, another dollar". However, that will be ending soon. March 16 to be exact, will be our final days of work. The solid 2 weeks leading up to our leaving will be packed with some serious last minute figuring out. Mail drops, in particularly, are the most stressful. We are close to having the appropriate amount of supplies(we think), but how much of what items goes into each parcel to each place is a maze I often scatter through in my head(with some assistance of Either way, it's still confusing but we are gonna give it our best shot those last two weeks. I mean, do you know what food YOU want to eat 5 months from now? Or NEED to eat since you are cranking out 16 mile days? Neither do I. So, educated guess work is what its gonna come down to. Worst case scenario we buy food here and there on Trail. I'm sure that's gonna happen some anyway. It'd be crazy if it didn't.

Our buddy, Austin, is opting to resupply at grocery stores along the way as he didn't have time to prepare packages for himself. I know that I've mentioned that before but it makes me wonder if that wouldn't have been the better choice. More expensive, yes, but every little bit of preparation outside of food is so strenuous as it is. And dehydrators take so damn long. Nevertheless, it's what we are doing and we believe it will help and not hinder our making it to the very end. And you know what? You'll be seeing every pleasure and every struggle via the film. These questions will be answered. We'll know every answer by no later than October.

Good news comes from our good friend, Eric Beyer, who relocated to Asheville, NC a few years ago as he agreed to pick up Chaser at Fontana Dam before the Smokeys and drop him off after. There was some slight inner conflict with this blessing. One of the aspects of this film was the true trials and tribulations of having a dog on the Trail. One of those, being boarding and shuttling through segments of the Trail dogs aren't allowed. As of last year it would have cost $250 to board and shuttle through the Smokeys, possibly more this year(damn gas prices). When I realized how close Asheville really was, I hit Eric up. His dog, Quincy, and Chaser spent time to together as young pups. Chaser knows Eric. It may not be a whole lot cheaper getting Eric to and from the Trail twice, but it's far more comforting knowing that he is with a familiar face. So, we are gonna go ahead and write it off as Trail Magic. Well, PreTrail Magic. Here's to you, Eric. Thanks, Bro!! Looking forward to seeing you and hiking some miles with you. We hope you are getting in shape cause we should be tip top by that time.

We have one month. What a count down. We decided December before last. What, 400 or 450 days of talking, learning, teaching, working, gearing, and reading towards this huge event? And now it's the final 31. The books, the films, the dreams of white blazes, shelters, mountains, trees, fellow hikers, fires, rain, small towns, and big stories are closing in to becoming reality. It almost doesn't seem real. So much support from so many people, strangers and friends alike.

Lindsay's friend at work, Lauren, mentioned to her dad that we were off to hike the AT. She said that he had recently watched the NatGeo doc on Netflix, coincidentally, and became serious with excitement for us with some knowledge of what we'll be up against. "Lindsay, you don't understand. My dad doesn't get like that", she said. We don't know him. Might never have the chance. But he supports it. Hell, it may have even planted the "I get out there and see what it's about, like these kids" seed in him. We really hope so.

I finally got all my clothes. I wanted to put up some pictures but my MacBookPro doesn't seem to want to read my iPhone's new pictures via iPhoto. Fine. Have it your way. Good chance upon coming home, the film will require a more up-to-date, more powerful Mac to successfully create a full length film. I'll worry about that when the time comes. Columbia clothing is what matched the budget, availability, and design I've been looking for. Their small shirts are actually small and 30x30 pants are actually 30x30 and all within monetary range which is a huge plus. I racked up on Academy's clearance rack yesterday. Cold weather gear on sale. Perfect. Exactly what we'll need the first month or two for early spring in the mountains and the last month or two for above-treeline hiking. I feel set. I'm comfortable with the weight and, well... the comfortably of the clothing. It's all gonna be put to quite the test.

They know

There are some serious thanks that need to said. We completed our goal on thanks to a very bad ass uncle who wanted no thanks. But he's getting some anyway. Thank you, Uncle Uncle. We really appreciate every one of those dollars and hope you can make it for some miles. Also, good friend, Spencer Rimes, who set aside some cash and slipped it to us the other day. It's already come in handy. Not a penny of any donation has been spent frivolously. It's all for the Trail. Most all of it still untouched. To everyone, again, WE THANK YOU. Mind you, people are still able to donate even though the "goal" has been met via We won't turn away money. Keep in mind you are also purchasing the film and water painting(s). We have a serious list going on and would be happy to add your name.

Ponchatrain Sunset

More pictures next week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time Moving Too Quickly/Slowly

I sell boots at The Boot Store. Where "Boot" is our middle name. I've been there for a couple years now. I can often tell what boot you are gonna buy before you even look at our pretty enormous selection. I know how it is suppose to fit your foot. I find myself saying things like, "snug is good, tight is bad" and "if you get it a little too loose at first it will be way too loose later on" wayyy too much. I've been saying it for years. There's not a whole lot more to it. It's a nice little comfortable store. Yet I am so uncomfortable there. The feeling of needing a change is overwhelming. I've never carried less about selling boots than I do now. I'm ready to be in the mountains. I'm ready to see if all the preparations, studying, and saving pays off. I'm ready to see things I keep seeing in pictures and films. I'm ready to make my own. I'm ready to get this show on the road.

I love my home. Between Baton Rouge, Baker, St. Francisville, and Liberty I'm happily content; like I have been virtually my whole life. It's time for some uprooting. I want to see what else America has to offer. I want more options. I wanna meet more people from all over, not just the ones that ended up Baton Rouge. In addition, I want to spread the news about how great the South is too.

The Trail is for everyone. It's for those reading this right now and those who aren't. Adventurers from America and travelers from anywhere else in the world. It's there for anyone who needs something different from what they have right now. It's there in the summer, spring, fall, and winter. You can decide to adventure on the AT today, tomorrow, next week, or next year. It'll be there. But this is all because of the tremendously hard working efforts of many people. Notably the original visions of Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery, to the first thruhiker, Earl Shaffer, to every single member, volunteer, and supporter of groups dedicated to keeping and maintaining the condition of trail as intended(ATC, other mountain clubs).

If there's a tree down in the trail, you can't just throw a chainsaw on a four-wheeler and go remove it like I can at the camp. You gotta hike there. And generally NOT with a chainsaw. You bring handsaws, picks, and muscles. And what do you get paid when you finally make it back to comfortable safety and a hot shower afterward? Satisfaction in knowing that you helped clear the path making it significantly easier on future hikers. Not money. To those awesome people, we thank you.

We are very determined to give back during and after the Trail. It's not all about us. It's about everyone who wants to be apart of it. "Leave a place nicer and cleaner than when you found it" my dad always told me. It's instilled deep inside my soul. And I appreciate that.

We have 46 days until the first steps on the AT. Until we see what we adjusted our lives to experiencing. Until we find in ourselves what we've been waiting to get out. Until we can say we are really doing it. And do it we will.

Again, we want to give everyone who donated a special thanks even though they deserve so much more(and will get it post trip). Just since last week, Aunt Valerie, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Gayle/Uncle Howard, Lindsay's old manager: David Powell, Lindsay's Aunt Debbie, Lindsay's sister, Lauren Fasic, coming all the way from China with without a doubt the largest donation yet, and Brad and Laura Griffin. You guys are awesome and the fact that your support accumulated in the form a donation is overwhelmingly kind. We are going to finish for more than just ourselves. This is for everyone and we thank you again and again and again.
(don't know if I've ever started and ended a paragraph with the word, "again")

One more thing, it's looking like my awesome mother will be the one transporting us to Springer Mountain. Lindsay, Chaser, Austin aka Caveman, and myself will be piling in in just over a month to begin the journey. 9 hour drive there. 9 hours back. Thank you, mom! I love you!

VDay. She don't like roses.

If you haven't been to Tunica Hills yet. You need to.

PS. The vacuum sealer is working beautifully. Pictures soon!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trying to Make Blogging More Weekly with Only a Few Weeks Left

If I counted correctly, 52 days till departure. That's a little over a month. It's crunch time. We plan on actually leaving March 30th or possibly the 31st so that we can take our first steps on the Trail April 1st.

We got a little more tenting practice with our tent this last weekend. Once again, it was in the rain and it held up superbly. Easy set up and easy break down. We went to Tchefuncte State Park for a friend's birthday to do some camping. Some really pretty woods there.
That's ours on the left.

We are headed back to Tunica Hills Sunday for some more training. Nothing will really prepare us for true mountains locally, but Tunica is so beautiful and a good semi challenge. It'll probably be a stroll by the time we return.

Our dehydrating journey has still been nonstop. Fruit after fruit after jerky after jerky. My dad and Lindsay's parents have awesomely been picking up bags of nuts, granola, fruits and other crucial trail food when they go to the store. That sort of thing helps so much. We've been advised, in order to complete the Trail on a budget, to eat the free food that you send yourself as much as you possibly can. It's so hard to determine what's gonna be enough. We have SO much right now. We just did another run at the grocery store for Trail dinners and breakfasts last night. But it still doesn't seem like enough for 6 months. Next we need a substantial amount of flat rate mail boxes to pack out with vacuum sealed meals we'll be preparing.

 Good donation foods.

That's one of the toughest parts, really. Planning out our stops. The itinerary still isn't as finely tuned as I'd like. However, I've been making an Excel list for anyone who would like to send us necessaries along the way. It'll be posted here when it's complete. Dog food is another concern. So many things we won't really know until we are out there. After the first couple weeks we should have it down.

We are pleased to be joined by fellow skater and buddy of mine, Austin aka Caveman. He tinkered with the idea of the Appalachian Trail a bit, spent a couple days hiking it in the Smokey's section last year, and decided three months ago to attempt the through hike. He's headed up there with us and we are gonna try and hike the first couple weeks together. He has a little more experience than us and he is good company.

I can't imagine having only 3 months to prepare for something like this but people do it in less. I recall on an AT video, some dude was just gonna hike a section but decided to keep going and completed the whole thru hike. That is kinda encouraging, really. If he can do it on a whim, we can do it with our year and half preparation.

We haven't really updated Twitter as often as we like even though we've been gaining followers. This is mainly due to every time I've attempted to update the last couple weeks(and it hasn't been many times), an error would come up or it would pretend like it's posting and not post. I got a little frustrated with it and distanced myself from it until we have some real stuff to Tweet about. I'd rather talk to you guys with a couple more characters than they allow.

YouTube, too. There is a slight lack of updating. I'm working on a pretty sweet dehydrating montage but dehydrating is a slow process. Also, the hike this weekend. I plan on making it a little more informative than the last one.

Thanks again to everyone. There were a lot of donors in the last two weeks and we couldn't be more appreciative. Aaron Crafasi, Jessica Pounce, and Chris Cafferal(again). You guys are awesome and every dollar is crucial.

One last thing. We are gonna have a little gathering at Greenwood Park in Baker near our house two weekends before departure for a "Goodbye for a Couple of Months" "party". We will miss everyone and will do our best to keep everyone as updated as possible. Note: if anyone would like to bring some cheap Trail foods for donation, we wouldn't mind. :)

Greenwood Park Sunset (2/7/12)

Psst. Mardi Gras is coming up. Louisiana rules.