Great Expectations

Tomorrow I head to the kickoff. I’ll be camping out with trail angels, thru-hikers, my Eric, and other great hiking enthusiasts. It’s going to be good for me to get a nice energy boost. Should help instill some bravery and excitement into me, which isn’t exaclty in short supply, but I have to say, sometimes when I really think about it, it seems a little….I don’t know….tremendous…I suppose.

I’ve had great company in the last couple of days. Meeting Eric’s uncle Jeff was extremely encouraging. He told me about some of the great area’s I’ll be walking through and hooked me up with some really nice sleeping pads for the trail. He was so supportive and enthusiastic for my trip that I felt like he was my own family! His energy really spread to me, and made me feel pretty excited. Then meeting up with my good friend Jeff in San Diego has only furthered that notion. He and his girlfriend Brittney have been so hospitable and so encouraging! It’s starting to feel real.

I chopped off 15 inches of hair today. I wanted to donate hair for a long time now, and really there’s no better time then right before 700 miles of desert hiking. I like it too. I thought it would be a sad experience, but I couldn’t stop grinning.

So…..this being my last night as a non-hiker (“townie” by hiker slang) I like to lay out my expectations. Just so we can all look back and laugh at how stupid I was, for the most part.

1. Short hair was a good choice.

2. I will see rattlesnakes, but have my fingers crossed that I will never wake up to one cuddling under my tent.

3. The trail is going to be physically easier than the A.T. was, but mentally more challenging.

4. The snow is going to be sketchy in the high Sierra’s, and my stubborn Paradeis genes might get me into a bit of trouble. But don’t worry, Mom:)

5. I will have to go more than my record 8 days without a shower.

6. I will hit that physical low, where you’re body sort of enters it’s starvation mode, somewhere in the Sierra’s.

7. I will be super happy to reach Kennedy Meadows, the end of the desert section, but happiest to get to the Oregon border! 3 months in one state is a long time.

8. I might go full days without seeing a single person.

9. I think my favorite section is a toss up between the High Sierra’s in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Northern Cascades at the very end.

10. There is going to be so much great beer and food!

11. I will barely be able to tolerate how much I miss Eric.

12. This will change me for the better, and be so breathtakingly beautiful, that I will just feel lucky all the time! And I already do, so it’s going to be pretty amazing!

I have to say, it’starting to get real. The backpack is loaded, the hair is gone, the final phonecalls are going out to my loved ones, and it’s time.

Here goes nothing!

9 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. I can’t believe you cut your hair! And didn’t tell me! It is most def a good decision.
    I’m so excited for you and wish with all my heart I could be hiking too. I will think of you everyday and know that you are so happy doing what you love. I’ve gotta say, I’m insanely jealous but since you’re experiencing it first you can tell me what and what not to do when it’s my turn. 🙂
    I’ll always be available for chats if you are in an area of cell service!
    Happy Hiking Kiddo! The rest of Dumbledore’s Army is with you in spirit!

  2. It’s hardly “nothing,” but here it goes just the same, I think. Good Luck and happy hiking. xxoo

  3. Sometimes I feel like I’m Bill McNeal.

    I keep stories and thoughts in my head like a collection of canes hidden around the office. I use them while I’m walking to guide me on my path, or to point a stranger in the right direction. Our stories, after all, are as easy to collect as they are to share, especially for a nomad with mad people-skrills, like yourself. Everyone we meet along the way can share their cane, wether it be a memory, a song, an inspiring tale or a sorrowful cadence. Life comes in abundance when we keep the lamberfeeties moving!

    It doesn’t take long, however, before the office gets cluttered, and the boss begins to become annoyed.

    So at the end of the day, when I march into Dave’s office and put all of the canes on the desk, you should know what I’m gonna be saying about yours:

    “This one I like,
    I keep.”


    You’re better than NPR
    Peace be the Journey.

    PROUD to be,
    -Your Brother

    1. Mitchy, as far as brothers go….I struck the gold mine! Thanks for being so amazing. You know just what to say to make me laugh and feel encouraged at the same time. “Does anyone have anything else to say?”
      “Dave stole my cane and my ass hurts!” -the one and only Bill McNeal.

  4. Good Luck Kiddo! Just read the Wild book & it made me think of you. What an experience! As Jimmy Buffet would say life doesn’t happen without an adventure! Keep your boots tight & close!

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