I made it to Atlanta. My Cousin’s Bob and Marylin picked me up at the airport and got me to my hotel in Roswell Georgia. Of course we stopped at an Irish pub for dinner and beers. Bob and Marylin, It was great seeing both of you! Thank you very much for dinner and the ride to the hotel. I hope to see you guys as well as Jennifer, Doug, Jeff and their families sooner rather than later.
Holy shit… In a week I will be officially homeless and living out of a tent! Due to some logistics I am starting the hike on the afternoon of 3/31. My nerves are starting to kick in as this dream trip is getting close to beginning. I am pretty sure I have everything I need. I have a few items that I am leaving behind so that I can keep my pack weight down. I pulled out my solar charger, wood beer mug, swapped out some clothes, and removed some miscellaneous stuff dropping about 2.5 – 3 lbs. This makes my base weight right at about 25 lbs. Once I add 2 lbs of food per day and ~1 lb per liter of water I will be right around 35 lbs total.
Two weeks from today I will be in Georgia getting ready to start the long walk. I am pretty stoked but nervous at the same time. I am contemplating starting a day early on March 31st vs April 1st just due to some logistics. I will figure this out in the next day or two. Once I pin this down I should be ready to go minus the to do list of miscellaneous odds and ends that will ensure I didn’t leave any loose ends behind. I keep thinking about all of the gear I have and feel like I am missing something but I can’t figure out what it is. Of course the first day on the trail I am sure it will be more than obvious what I forgot to pack.
I appreciate everyone’s encouraging words and support! My friend and old neighbor Rod gave me a Leatherman “Wingman” that I will carry as well as some additional first aide items that I had over looked. When I visited my friends Ken and Karen in Globe this last weekend Karen gave me some Melaleuca oil that will help heal blisters. I am sure this stuff will be a life saver!
I have been coordinating with Kevin Brantley and Mark Quintin on when we will meet up to hike through the Smokey Mountains as a group. It looks like we are going to meet up on the 18th of April and then start making our way through the Smokeys on the 19th. It should take us about a week to complete that ~70 mile section. I have worked with and learned a lot from these two guys for many years and now I get to spend some time on the journey of a lifetime backpacking with them in the middle of no where. I am so looking forward to this and hope to have some other friends join me along the way at some point.
I finally laid out my gear, weighed it all (Mark Q. thanks for the tip on the hand scale!), and took photos. In total the entire pack weighs 27.2 lbs. Yikes!!! I still have water and food to add. Food is usually about 2 lbs per day and water weighs 2 lbs for every qt. My back hurts thinking about it. 27 Days until my journey begins.