Thus beginneth the blog.
I have some arthritis in my right big toe. Sometimes it hurts. It worries me. I have some in my right thumb too. It hurts pretty bad sometimes, but it doesn’t worry me particularly. I don’t walk on my hands.
My feet will have to carry me. My feet and my legs and I guess my back. Right now all systems are go. My attitude is good. My determination is there.
In my life, I’ve painted close to 1000 houses, inside, outside, whatever. I never gave up on any. Except one lady, I was papering her bathroom. It was just topo hard for me I guess. I wasn’t real good at papering so I told her I’d quit but I wouldn’t charge her for the couple of days of painting I had done or for some repairs. She was OK with that. That was the only time. I don’t think I papered again.
About a year or two ago I decided to cut loose of most of my life and try something different. It’s taken me those one or two years to get to the point where its going to happen.
I’m sitting in a house in Alabama, waiting. No one’s here, just me and my dog, a Siberian Husky named Xena. She and I are going to set out, from the Georgia coast I hope, for the Pacific Ocean. I’m going to soak my toe and my thumb in that saltwater.
The house I’m in is sort of empty. My nieces husband owns it (they live in D.C.) and he’s trying to sell it. By the way it’s beautiful – a secluded, modern rural home. He said I can stay here – good idea not to leave it empty I guess.
But I will – leave it that is – after a couple more weeks of practice hikes in the early morning or late evening, waiting for ut to cool down some. It was 96 today. Too hot to hike, especially with some eskimo dog! Come Sept. 1, come hell or high water as they say, we will be walking. West.
I figure I’ve got enough left in me to walk another 3000 miles in my life. I might as well try to do it – but do it all in one direction. Most of life is walked or driven in little circles, always returning to the same spot, or moving, then returning to a new same spot. Maybe it’ll be different when there’s no going back.+
I, of course, am not sure I can do this. I know I won’t give up easy. The practice hikes have been reassuring and freaking me out at the same time. The 2 1/2 mile route goes with no problem and the 6ile has been fine too, with a pack about 25 pounds. But then I realize I’ll have to do 6 of those 2 1/2 milers or more than 2 of those 6 milers or whatever to do 15 miles a day if possible. I’ll be satisfied, at least at first, if I can do 10 a day.
I’ve noticed on practice hikes, that walking really puts you in touch with the contours of the land. In cars we just go up or down and hardly notice except on extreme slopes. When walking, every rise is noticeably harder than walking down hill.
Anyway, there’s ups and downs. My theory is to enjoy the downhills and just DO the uphills. It’s really just a giant roller coaster out there.
My fears are basically two. The more obvious one is traffic. A two-lane, paved, high-speed (70+) rural highway can feel like the Autobahn in Germany, especially if there’s not even a mowed area on each side to get off the road. So, traffic on a day-to-day basis is going to be an issue.
My second real worry is finding a place each night. Many nights will be between state parks, state forests, national forests, etc. Many places are going to be in the midst of all privately owned property. I’m not sure how I’ll navigate that each night. Play it by ear I guess.
So much for fear, worry and concern. One bright spot is that my backpack seems manageable. At 25 pounds, including food, I’m not doing too bad. After 6 or 7 miles, my shoulders are a little sore and I’m hot, but it’s not like I’m freaked out from it, not at all.
I’ve got a sign on the back of the pack that says “Coast to Coast for Audubon”. I’ve got business-type cards, made up to give to people to link them to Audubon if they want to help. Xena has a pack now. I just decided tonight that I’ll carry her dog food but I’m going to fill her little “saddlebag” packs, one on each side, with some of my heavy little camping objects and soap and toothpaste and so on. I promise I’ll be kind to her and not put too much in, but we all have to do our part.
P.S. Lucy’s boyfriend looked at my pack and said it belonged in a museum. Ha!
I’ll be renting a car, I guess to get to Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast. I have to wait for Hurricane Irene to pass, but then it’ll be time to start. Mixtures of excitement and caution. By the weekend I should be at the shore with one foot in the gentle Georgia surf.