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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The beginning of the story...

For those of you who do not know us, an introduction is in order.  I work as a paralegal at a law firm in Evergreen, Colorado and until recently cooked at a casino, and Keith works for a natural grocery chain opening their new stores across the west and midwest.  Before we ever met, each of us had a desire to thru hike the Appalachian Trail.  We have section-hiked Georgia and part of North Carolina, and the dream of doing the entire trail has consistently popped up in our discussions over the last several years.  As often happens, life gets busy and gets in the way of the best laid plans.  I was working about 70 to 75 hours a week and Keith travels about three quarters of the year.  Spending so much time apart was motivating us to look at options to work for ourselves. We decided that if we were going to work so hard, we should work for ourselves.  Back in the spring of 2012, we had been working seriously on restaurant planning and looking for a location to open a small restuarant/cafe.   Plans were well underway, but we were questioning whether we were jumping from the frying pan into the fire.  Strangely, we were heading home after my graduation ceremony from culinary school when I asked the questions that changed our course:  "What are we doing?  We're talking about opening a restaurant, which we know will take over our lives.  What do YOU want to do?"  Keith's answer was simple, "I want to hike."  I wholeheartedly agreed and realized that and this was not like the times we had previously discussed a thru hike.  This was not just a fantasy discussion about what we wanted to do - it was real.  We went for lunch and number crunched on napkins.    Realizing we could make it work financially solidified our decision to thru hike the AT in 2013.  Since that time, we have spent many hours reading, planning, budgeting, and cooking (more on that process later).

We decided to take our retirement hike years before retirement.  We will have six months of hiking to decide what we really want to do and where.  For those who have not spent time backpacking, and perhaps think we are a little crazy (I'm not really denying that), there is a complete adjustment in the way you think about life when you spend days on the trail, carrying all your necessities on your back.  Your priorities change.  You suddenly realize that things to which you have given great importance are not important at all. We look forward to that shift in perspective.  We'll spend our anniversary (March 20) at Amicalola Falls and then begin our hike March 21, 2013 at the approach trail (which is a grueling 8 mile hike prior to reaching the southern terminus of the trail) in Georgia.  

We will journey about 2,184 miles, through 14 states over approximately six months, ending at Mount Katahdin in Maine.   Over the next several months, we'll post more about the planning process, the food, gear and itinerary.  We hope that you'll follow us on our journey.

Dina and Keith