Final Week Countdown

EPSON MFP imageMuch has happened over the past three weeks as I continue to prepare for my upcoming thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. With only one week remaining before I depart from Springer, I find myself constantly going over a mental list of what still needs to be done on the home front. My gear is ready, I think I’m prepared physically, and I’ve begun to say goodbye to those who I’ll miss while away. Now I just have to wait for seven more days.

Two weeks ago, my son Sam was home for the weekend, and we were able to get in 9 holes of golf on a very cold Saturday morning. In fact, we even had a brief snow flurry during the round. My good running buddy, Kevin, joined us on the Oxbow Creek course. As usual I finished third in the threesome. It’s always good to spend time with my son and a great friend.

Last weekend my wife Linda and I visited our daughter Rachel in NYC. Even though it was a brief trip this time, we did manage to get in some fine dining and a broadway show. I thought often of the similar trip we had taken with Don and Lisa two years ago just before Don’s diagnosis. Those memories brought smiles to all of us.

Earlier this week I was given the opportunity to speak at a luncheon at my church regarding my hike. The “Prime Timers” mainly consists of the older members of our congregation, many of whom are in a Sunday School class I teach on a rotating basis once a month. I’ll miss those folks while I’m away; however, I will be blessed many times by their prayers. The luncheon also gave me the opportunity to provide a birthday cake for my mom. She will be 88 next Thursday, two days before I begin walking northward. Despite her concern for the health and safety of her lone surviving child, I think deep down she is very proud of what I am trying to accomplish.

Today we celebrated a second time at lunch with Lisa, Brent, and Lori, (Don’s wife, son, and daughter-in-law). Lisa’s sister Val and her husband Freddy also joined us. Much of the talk around the table centered around my hike. Brent and Lori plan to meet me somewhere along the way, and Lisa promises a celebration in Maine if I make it. Certainly provides me with more incentive.

So, it’s been a great last three weeks as I get ready for that final seven day countdown. I’m still reading daily others’ trail journals and can’t wait to be out there hiking with them. I greatly appreciate all who have found and read my journal, and I thank sincerely those who have signed my guest book or sent me an email. Over the next few months I hope I’ll be able to provide all with an insightful as well as entertaining portrayal of trail life while I pursue an adventure on the Appalachian Trail. And each day that I walk I’ll often remember that Don loved the woods.

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