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Thursday, November 29, 2012

More about the beginning

So, I have been politely informed that the blog is too straightforward and does not have enough about the story behind the hike.  In my defense, I wrote it while I was sick with a kidney infection, so please forgive me for my lack of creativity and wit.  I've since tweaked the original post a little to add more information.   I had hoped to post more since that time, but exactly a week after my visit to the hospital for the kidney infection, I was on my way to work when I was hit head on by an SUV, which was inexplicably on my side of the road.  It has been a very trying, slow recovery, and has certainly reinforced that living NOW is so important.  My biggest fear in recovery was that I might not be able to carry my pack in March.  However, I have been assured that I should be back to normal (my normal, that is) in time for the hike. 

For those who want to know the back story about Keith and me, and the hiking experiences that led us toward this trip, read on.  For those who don't, you'll want to exit now.

So I guess we gave you a little bit about us in the beginning, but here's a little more for those of you interested in knowing a little more about what makes us tick. For as far back as I can remember I've always not only enjoyed, but relished the time spent outdoors. Growing up a military brat meant we moved around a little, (mostly in the Southeast, US) so there were always new areas to explore. A lot of my fondest memories are of playing in the woods near our homes, climbing trees, walking along (well mostly in) the creeks and of course family camping trips to the nearby lakes or parks. I guess that's where or how I caught this hiking bug. But you know even with all that time spent outside and the many camping trips my first real "hike" didn't come until 1998, a year after my divorce. No, I don't think there is anything to read into that, other than I was on my own and had some time. After all, there had been numerous camping trips over those years, just no hikes and certainly no primitive style camping. Pretty much the family style car camping route. Fun, but not the same. Looking back I'm not sure why I chose the A.T. for this first hike. Perhaps it was merely the close proximity to where I was at, at the time, which was Gulf Breeze, FL. Dina has asked me "well why not the Florida Trail?" to which I honestly don't know or remember. I guess I had read about A.T. hikes in both Outside, and Back Packer magazines and of course there was the fabulously funny "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. Maybe that was it. Anyway, whatever it was I purchased equipment, most of which we still have and use, drove to Dahlonega, parked my truck in the Amicalola Falls parking lot, and after a night of camping in the campground there, began my first true hike the following morning. That trip lasted 4 days and covered 28 miles. No I certainly did not set any records, but did confirm what I probably already knew would happen. I was, am, and forever will be hooked on hiking. For those of you like me, you know that just a few minutes walking in the woods, through a field, along a beach, or pretty much anywhere outside can erase all the stress and troubles of the day. For those of you not in the know, I strongly suggest you give it a try. Just writing about all this makes me long for the outside. So with that being said, see ya! More later.
Dina:  I have always been an outdoors, tomboy kinda girl.  Like Keith, I have many memories of playing in whatever woods were near our home and climbing trees.

I had always loved camping and had been on many day hikes, but had never been backpacking until 2007, when I hiked the Appalachian Trail with a group of friends for a week.  The experience was life changing for me. On that very first trip, I resolved to someday do the entire trail.  Two more backpacking trips on the AT followed in 2007 and 2008.   At the time, I was living in Florida and when my house sold in May of 2008, I seriously considered starting a thru hike.  I didn't think I had enough time to plan (and given the many hours/days/weeks we've spent preparing, I was right) and I really didn't want to go alone.  I'm very glad now that I waited, so Keith and I can share the dream together.

Instead of thru hiking, I relocated in June 2008 to Colorado in the foothills, southwest of Denver, and the following year, Keith and I were married (outside, at the top of a rocky peak).

It has been amazing to be close to so many magnificent hiking trails.  Keith and I have been lucky to backpack and hike many times close to our home.  I am always amazed by the change that comes over me within minutes of being on the trail.  It's difficult to describe, but imagine being in the woods, with no sounds other than the wind in the trees, and the birds, and you breathe in deeply and the smell is of green and life and freshness.  The world is just right.  Your entire being is at peace.  You quickly realize that very few things in life deserve the priority we give them.  Backpacking is the perfect way to put your life in perspective.

 I love Colorado and the rocky mountains, but I'm ready for the next chapter.  Today was 99 days until our last day of our present jobs.  When we got home tonight, we poured a couple of shots to celebrate and Keith made a toast, with which I will close:  "To unfettering the ties that bind." 


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