ANOTHER STEPPING STONE

Yesterday marked my last day of work. I’ve come and gone from the independently-owned Patagonia retailer twice now. Travel and hiking always dictates my life, and when not pursuing the trail, Patagonia@Bend has been a good place to fall back onto, for more reasons than I’ll list now, but two that stand out most: Patagonia is a brand that I have sincere value in, one rooted to the outdoors and to the environment. Secondly, the staff that makes up this unique store is kind and knowledgeable, some of whom that I’ll remain friends with for life.

The first time I left that store was after two years of work, when that customary craving to hike a long-trail returned, my thoughts distracted by the allure of the miles that would sit ahead. This time around, it’s been eighteen months. And this time, I will give myself an entire month off, which is not really off, because there is planning and research involved, in addition to book signings and promotion for my book, Married to the Trail. It will be nice to have ample time to focus on these things, as these things fuel my passion in life. They are the pulse that keeps my body in motion.

So, this has been another stepping stone in route to to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and the year-long feat to conquer the Calendar Triple Crown. This is no small task that sits ahead, and I remind myself, confidently, “YOU GOT THIS.”

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This is only half of the gear needed for the Appalachian Trail winter hike.

The house is littered with piles of gear. Jackets and base-layers and piles of socks and shoes destined for the Appalachian Trail…the Continental Divide Trail…The Pacific Crest Trail. I am so thankful that my friends have offered me the warmth and space of their homes while they are away for the holiday. For those who didn’t know, I spent the last several months living out of my truck to save for this year-long adventure. Many sacrifices were made while car-camping in the national forest, all the while juggling a full-time job, publishing a book and preparing for the Calendar Triple Crown. Busy girl, I know. Trust me, I know…

As I write out the list of TO-DO’s, I realize that I’m more prepared than I give myself credit for. Sponsors have been secured, and those who haven’t responded, well, they have the entirety of next year to jump on board. I’m hiking with or without them. And although I still haven’t purchased any of the plane tickets for the initial phase of the trip (solely because I don’t want to be tied down to any specific date in the case there’s opportunity to promote my book, Married to the Trail), all the pieces will fall into place. “Go with the flow,” my dear friend Candi always tells me.

In the next few days, I will:

-Refine my gear list.
-Determine my resupply destinations for all three trails (approximately 7-8 per trail).
-Stuff my resupply packages to the brim with Salazon chocolate, Bounce energy balls, dried fruit, nuts, instant mashed potatoes, dried milk, granola, bouillon cubes, salami, peanut butter, vitamins and anything else my thru-hiker heart desires. Like a good paperback book and word scrambles!
-Visit REI and additional online retailers so as to make my credit card balance reach an all-time high.
-Purchase flights using the points earned from the aforementioned all-time high credit card balance. It’s surprisingly not that high of a balance as I am so fortunate to be sponsored by several incredible brands which is helping to offset this year-long adventure.
-Visit with friends and enjoy this festive season that always goes by WAY TOO FAST.
-Drink many a craft beer with friends, compliments from Hop Valley Brewing Company. Have I mentioned that I’m sponsored by a brewery?!?! Too cool, I know. I’m still in awe, years later.
Cross my fingers that the next batch of books arrives in time to share with all my friends in Portland and Mount Shasta. I’ve already sold through the first three boxes while in Bend. That’s 100 books! 
-Call my parents in New York because it’s been too many days since I’ve called, but I loathe talking on the phone and therefore always put it off for days. I can’t wait till they move out west…
-Order pizza! Part of training for an 8,000-mile hike is to eat more pizza!

Okay, I admit, this list was more for me than you. I need to remind myself that I GOT THIS. Otherwise, it becomes too daunting and then I let the anxiety wreak havoc on my mind.

 

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