Our departure is now within the ten-day forecast, the far end of which we have been watching fluctuate like a lively stock market.
We took our last “shakedown” overnighter before the Trail a few nights ago. We went deep into the Cohutta Wilderness, which is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia and southeastern Tennessee. We were blessed with perfect weather, a decently well-marked loop, and the discovery that our new, 13″ Rocky Gore-Tex socks can keep feet dry and warm through several dozen water crossings in a row. A beautiful campsite appeared just at dusk. The full moon rose between the longleaf pines while we pitched the tent. It was like a friendly “Bon Voyage” card from the hiking gods, although I should know better than to take any of it personally.
Since then, I’ve been eating whatever I want, and not worrying much about exercise. A little padding might not be a bad idea. Also, no more shaving, or putting together cute, matching outfits. Basically I am letting myself go to seed. It’s enjoyable, as well as alarming how quickly I can revert to Hippie after having dipped my toes in the brisk waters of Yuppie.
We’ve been packing food boxes to send ourselves later, divvying up my last Good Food Store haul of Pro Bars and delicious dried foods. It’s unusual, here in the USA, to scan nutrition labels in search of maximum fat, calories and protein. Let’s just say that there are baggies containing hunks of pure coconut oil in those boxes, among other things.
One morning soon, J.’s wonderful, generous parents will be driving us as close as we can get to Springer Mountain, and dropping us off on the trail. Next time you hear from me, this will probably be the journal of a bona fide Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. Bon voyage!