Today was a day of ups and downs, quite literally. Harper’s Ferry is a town of many many hills, and I have come to know the biggest one quite well. Good practice!
Well, all the planning, all the panicking, all the purchasing and testing of gear and patience… It all culminates tomorrow, in the end of the prelude. Now comes the real beginning. And I will not be alone – because of the festival this weekend, I’m in what’s called a hiker ‘bubble’, a group of hikers on the trail at the same place at the same time. It will not last, as we each hike at our own pace, but for the first few, crucial days, yes.
Tonight I am very tired, and will turn in early, but I have some prep to do first. One of the things they offered at the festival was to have an experienced hiker go through your pack with an eye to cutting down on weight by winnowing out things that are not necessary. I took advantage of this shakedown – overall, I packed well, but there are things I am going to mail ahead of me all the same, on recommendation. The booklover in me shuddered, but I cut the pages with maps and town info for the next two weeks from my AT guide, and will mail the rest of the guide ahead of me. Cold weather gear I will hang on to until May, then mail ahead to New Hampshire in case I need it in the White Mountains.
One final checkthrough, reassembly of the pack as a stack, with the less crucial items on the bottom, and I’m done. The ceremonial sendoff / group photo is tomorrow at 8, but I think I will fill myself up on pancakes before actually hitting the trail.
Something tells me I will need the energy – the first three miles or so are supposed to very nice, but then a very hard climb for the next 3 or 4. Like a Harper’s Ferry hill on steroids. My throat is still sore, not completely recovered from all the coughing of the past week, but that too shall pass. At least the coughing has stopped!
Well, a long one tonight. Don’t forget to follow, so you know when the next one drops. I’ll post something really quick in the AM.