Where Am I Going?

Now that you know something about me and my hiking plans, I wanted to explain more about my blogging plans in this post.  Part of that is to give a bit more background on my hiking adventures to date and another part is to lay out my ideas for where this blog will be headed.  That isn’t to say that plans won’t change, but I at least have an initial plan of what I want to do and accomplish.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently 47 years old.  As life progresses, the time available for fun activities dwindles as the day to day responsibilities of family, home, and career weigh you down.  In college, at a Division I school (and probably similar for Division II and III schools), playing a sport is close to the equivalent of a 24-30 hour a week job, and that’s before factoring in classes and homework.  It’s also a 12 month activity.  Playing baseball in college started with fall practices in September as soon as students arrived and continued into December when we stopped to prepare for finals and the holiday break.  We started again as soon as we returned from break and didn’t stop until the season ended in May (or hopefully June).  Once the season was over, we departed school to join a summer league and continue playing for the 2-3 months before we headed back to school and started the cycle again.

Then comes graduation.  For most of us, that means entry into the real world of adult life and responsibility.  The rare few that move on to big signing bonuses and huge paychecks in professional sports may be living in a real world, but it isn’t the same world the rest of us have to live in.  For me, this meant baseball was no longer a 12-month, 6 or 7 day a week activity, for the first time since middle school.

I also got married that summer.  The combination of all these things meant a massive change in my lifestyle and hence my activity level.  For a while this wasn’t bad.  I’ve been blessed with a fairly high metabolism rate, and combined with my activity levels through college, I used to consume more than 3000 calories per meal and only weighed 150 lbs.  Over the years, as most of us who have lived through it know, your metabolism slows down at various ages and mine was no different.

Over this winter I peaked at 242 lbs.  Over the past year there have been massive amounts of turnover at management levels above me, creating a shift in the culture at work which I haven’t been entirely pleased with.  All of this has been the basis for the “midlife crisis” I feel that I’m going through.  “Crisis” is probably too strong a word, but we can use the term for what it represents:  a need to make changes to one’s life to better it and make life happier and more fulfilling.

This crisis is what has driven me to commit to myself that I will start and attempt to accomplish the sequential section hiking of the Appalachian Trail, rather than just toying with the idea of it.  And as part of that commitment to a goal, I wanted to blog about my journey.  Not just the section hiking.  Lots of people blog about their actual hike and many of them are very interesting blogs.  I wanted to start blogging at, basically, the inception of the decision to hike the AT.

I have a desk job.  That’s one reason for my weight.  My work schedule is also typically heavier from December through March, making it difficult to get outdoors to do things.  Weather plays a part in it as well, as I don’t like to drive into the mountains on a snowy or icy day when wrecking the car would be far worse than not getting exercise.  I HATE using the gym.  I hate workout machines, weights, stair masters, and treadmills.  I can’t stand it and have never made it through two months utilizing a membership.  I can’t make myself do it.  This winter, I managed to get out and hike twice between December 1 and today.  It’s been a bad winter.

I plan to share my experiences and adventures getting myself into shape this year, reviewing and selecting gear that I will need to do my section hikes, and map out my itineraries for actually starting out at Springer Mountain sometime in spring of 2020.  I know I won’t be starting out with the early thru-hikers at the end of April, but initially I’m targeting sometime in mid-May, prior to Memorial Day.  That’s just a rough plan and there’s a lot to do before that becomes more concrete. So, I hope the premise of this blog interests you and I hope that my experiences will ultimately help others to make that decision and work on preparing for that great adventure that awaits us on the AT.

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