I have just started reading Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis to help in my mental preparation for this journey. In the last several days I have been priviledge to meet several other women (most in my general age bracket) that are also planning to take on the trail this coming spring. Some are obviously very experienced hikerd. Some have attempted this trail before and for reasons I have not discovered yet did not complete it. Some are first-timers like myself. I am very happy to meet these women who are physically scattered all across this country but who are already beginning to bond into a sisterhood of sorts. We are sharing in the planning, preparing, dreaming and excitement of our future adventure. It will be an exciting day when we meet together on the trail.
This sisterhood of hikers has also enabled me to make a change in my original plans and provided me with the buddy system I needed to become a single-season thru-hiker. Now that my husband knows I'm not hiking alone, he is feeling a little better about the trip. I am planning on taking a little time off in PA while hiking through my hometown areas and visiting with family. That area of PA is also about the physical 1/2 way mark and I hope that my husband will meet me there during my down time.
So, now it all has become very real to me mentally. The gear is arriving, connections are being made between fellow hikers, meals and supply stops and drops are being planned, physical and mental preparation has begun. Somehow it still seems a bit surreal and probably will continue to seem so until several steps have been taken from Springer Mountain, but the excitement that is brewing inside thinking of taking that first step of the 5 million steps that are needed to complete the trail is almost too much to contain. Again, I am very thankful for my new hiking companions who are able to understand and are sharing in this obssession.