This is really going to happen

Well I’ve been practicing since last September. I’m now up to 90 miles per week, 24 lbs in my weighted vest, and 22 mile weekly long hike on Saturday. On WW (was Weight Watchers) I’ve lost a little over 30 lbs which balances out against my weighted vest that simulates my backpack.

Early morning gorgeous sunrise on Parmer Lane almost at the MoPac overpass

Last week I finally made the decision to do this thing. I bought my airline ticket to Atlanta GA for Saturday April 13th, and my REI shuttle to the trailhead on Sunday April 14th. I told my manager and friends at work. So it looks like I’m now really committed to start.

Am I nervous? You betcha!

Here we go again and again!

Well I’m thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2019. I’ve started daily training. Getting up early at 5 AM and walking various distances around the neighborhood and city. I started at the beginning of September.  I am also doing hills on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Because the AT is more up and down I’m just walking the hills on those days. In other words, in the past I would do a hill and then walk around the block to where I started and repeat. Now I’m getting to the top and just turning around and walking back down. I do this for both Mount Bonnell on Tuesday and Ladera Norte on Thursday. Also these hills aren’t very big, just a few hundred feet up, but that’s all I’ve got in town.

Right now my longest has been just over 10 miles. 

Early morning on the Austin Butler Trail with the foggy Austin skyline in the distance

CDT before the AT

It looks like I’m going to be attempting the CDT before attempting the AT. I’ve bought my AMTRAK train ticket from Austin TX to Lordsburg NM leaving April 29 and arriving May 1. I’ve made a reservation at the Lordsburg NM Econo Lodge for the evening of May 1st, and reserved a seat on the CDT shuttle for the morning of May 2nd. So it looks like I’ll be doing this long hike first. Wish me luck!

Doing my research and making choices

I bought Dave “AWOL” Miller’s The A.T. Guide and Jackie “Yogi” McDonnell’s Yogi’s Continental Divide Trail Handbook. I also bought Lawton “Disco” Grinter’s Walkumentary, Southbound on the CDT DVD. I’m trying to decide if I’m doing the AT or the CDT. The AT is more social (more people), more tree-covered, and physically challenging. The CDT is less people, better scenery, but requires more hiking and orienteering smarts. What to do? What to do? Originally I wanted to do the CDT next, but I’ve been considering the AT because it’s closer to our friends on the East Coast, Kathy might visit more [doubtful], and it’s shorter – 2100 miles. However I’m getting older and I’m worried that I only have a few years to do this hiking and I’d better do the longer (3000 miles) harder CDT first.

First practice long hike

Although I slept in until I woke naturally at about 7 AM, I filled up my pack with some weight, drove down to Lady Bird Lake, and hiked 10 miles as practice. It wasn’t easy, but I completed it drenched in sweat at about 11:30 AM. Now tomorrow may be a different experience both trying to find a trail and handling the stiffness that I’m sure I’ll have tomorrow.