Monday, March 4, 2013

Farewell to Beds

(Notice the new heading up above with information regarding contacting us, mailing us things and meeting up with us!)

Last night I stood next to the bed, the bed I am using while at my parent's house in the White Mountains. I stared at the sheets, the blanket, the pillow. I looked at the size of it. As I snuggled down under the comforters, I tried my hardest to spend some quality time being aware of the soft wonderfulness of being in a bed. The feel of the squishy mattress; the weight of the blankets. My plan failed, as I fell asleep in less than 30 seconds, didn't move a single time, and woke up 12 hours later when a cat began plaintively tapping my cheek for food. I suppose that is a version of enjoying my time in the bed, but I had planned on doing some serious retrospective thought experiments about the nature of humans and why all of our things and possessions have expanded to such a point that the object that I sleep on weighs 5 times as much as I do. Instead, I spent some quality time drooling.

I wonder what I will dream about on the trail. My friend Jessica says that when she's feeling very sleepy and is on her way home, all she can think about is her warm, empty bed, filmed in soft focus, while Barry Manilow croons in his devilishly smooth way. I can't help but feel that my dreams will be similar in content, as my body will be starving for at least a fantasy of a comfortable sleeping situation. This is not to say that my sleeping pad and bag are not wicked comfortable (they are), but rather that my body will have an adjustment period from sleeping on clouds to sleeping on the ground. And sometimes adjustment periods come with dreams of what once was. When I cut my hair very short in high school I would have dreams of just standing in front of the mirror, running my hands though long, thick silky hair. In reality, when my hair was long it was stringy and thin, but my dreams have a tendency to make things a bit better. My dreams are like reality with the saturation turned up. And sometimes there's a gorilla with a sombrero that's 10 feet in diameter, but I do my best not to acknowledge him because he gets shy.

I am currently in my parent's house in Lovell, Maine, where we have been staying over the past couple of days before we head down to start our journey. Our train is scheduled for 8:15am tomorrow morning out of Boston. The move up here with the last of our things was not terribly stressful, as we didn't have many possessions with us anymore because we moved most of it into storage in the early summer. Our fantastic, game, never-complaining friends Cory and Jessica helped us move. Cory borrowed his father's car, a Jimmy with a trailer hitch, and we loaded all of our stuff into a 5x8 UHaul trailer. It was only filled about 2/3 of the way. Then the 4 of us drove out of New York City and up here to Maine, where we put the last of our stuff into storage. We've spent the last few days doing a million other things to get ready. Mike and I took a CPR course, and we're now certified in Adult/Pediatric CPR. We didn't technically need the infant CPR, but it was part of the course. This will be helpful when we come across any infants hiking the trail.

Jessica and Cory left yesterday to head back down to New York. But first we built a Snow-Octopus in the yard and colored it with jello. It was going to be a snowman at first, but it was looking more like a ball balanced on top of a mountain. So then we decided we would make a southern bell woman with a big hoop skirt. Like Mrs. Buttersworth. But that was just looking like lumpy ball balanced on top of a mountain. So we turned it into an octopus, and I feel satisfied with the results. We also spent some time firing the potato cannon that Mike and my brother Nathaniel built. This is what we do in Maine for fun. You just can't fire pressurized vegetables 300 yards into the distance in New York. You get arrested.

Technically speaking, I'm no longer a New Yorker. But I can't help but feel like I always will be, in a way. At least in my involuntarily acquired accent on certain words. As well as the fact that even though I'm a skinny white girl, I sometimes talk like I'm a total badass. It's not my fault! I'm a product of my environment. If this pattern continues, you can assume that by the end of the trail I will speak with the accent of wind through leaves. Also, I am going to turn into Pocahontas. Not the real one, mind you, the Disney version. That way I can be 7 feet tall and have an entire orchestra strike up into perfect unison with me whenever I feel like singing all by myself.

In pack-related news, Mike and I have finalized the contents of our packs. Mine is officially 19.6 pounds before any food or water. According to the trail knowledge we have, that's a pretty good starting weight, because with the addition of food and water, my pack may weigh around 30 pounds. Mike and I spent several hours yesterday taking everything out of our packs, sorting them out, and putting back in what we actually needed. I gave a good, stern look at every item and asked each one,

"Do I really need you?"

I was able to eliminate at least 2 pounds of random stuff by using this method. I have no doubt I will shed even more things as we walk, once I have a better sense of what I actually use on the trail. The other thing to keep in mind is that because it is winter, even though we're starting in Georgia, we need cold weather gear. It's heavier, and we'll have much less bulk to carry in the summer.

Today we are going to go food shopping for our 24-hour train journey, as well as the first week on the trail. Though we'll be in Georgia for a day before starting the trail, we thought that doing food shopping now would be a good idea, because we'll probably spend 6 hours in the grocery store, hemming and hawing, and we'd rather be enjoying our little time in Atlanta before we head off into the wilderness. You can rest assured that sometime today I will be sitting in the aisle of a grocery store, deep in thought, with 10 different peanut butter jars scattered on the floor around me. Selecting peanut butter is a zen process.

Three mornings from this morning I will be putting my feet on the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

More photos of the Snoctopus, firing the potato cannon, and snowball fights after the jump!

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