I quit my job on the first. To be honest, I’m still unpacking that conversation. I’m not sure if I’ll write about it here, but I will write about it, one way or another. In the end, my boss was more supportive than I could have imagined. He wants to sponsor a piece of gear for my hike, and keep track of my progress during the morning meetings. This could be a lot of fun, and I really like the idea.
I’m hoping to discuss it again with him tomorrow, after I drop off my uniforms and my truck key, which I somehow forgot to turn in. I will not allow that sponsorship or its related media to extend to this site however. I feel a need for that disconnect. Maintaining the integrity of my writing demands complete disregard for my readers, which is difficult enough. The idea of sponsors entering into this space, and somehow influencing it, is unacceptable.
One beautiful thing about no longer being employed though, is the plethora of time on my hands. Sunday was my birthday, and I spent it with John. I arrived at is home, and went upstairs to his office. He showed me his elevation profile spreadsheets, and meal by meal calorie plans. There were a few open resupply boxes, and a dozen more staged in another room. He’s been doing a tremendous amount of work in trying to make his plan a reality, thru-hiking the AT and PCT in one year.
There is a high probability that we will start the AT together, but he’s planning a four-month finish. That is certainly not my hike, and his legs are longer than mine anyway. I’d like to pace him to the Roan Mountain Highlands, mainly to get past the crowds. Then I’ll dial it back, take in the views and hopefully get some solo time.
We ended Sunday with a five mile hike in mid-fifty degree rain. Then we went for pizza. A great way to spend my birthday!
I spent the whole of today with Some Shine. She’s days from leaving on a six-month van trip, so the fact that she made that kind of time for me is pretty special. She’s a Class of ’16 AT Thru-hiker, who finished a crazy awesome flip-flop hike over seven months. She’s a total badass, and has been helping me navigate the emotional ups and downs of my hiking prep.
There have been days when I’ve questioned even doing this again, and she’s been there to listen. I’ve felt her “Sunshine” pour out to me a few times, and I witnessed her put smiles on the faces of many others today. She has a magnetic kindness about her.
I arrived at her home during a power outage, freezing rain slowly receding. Seeking refuge in the cold house, we had no choice but to spend hours cuddling on her couch. We talked about anything and everything, and it was the perfect way to spend the morning. She’s so lovely, and I’m every bit as excited for her trip as I am bummed not to see her for six months.
We grabbed lunch, and went for a walk. Eventually it was time for goodbyes. It was the best day.
I plan to get on trail no later than March 15th. Between now and then I have a lot of tasks to cross off my to-do list. I’m hoping to get everything done by the end of this Friday the 8th. Then my plan is to spend the last week making YouTube content, meditating for several hours each day, and putting on as much weight as I can. I was nearly forty pounds heavier during my last hike, and loosing too much body fat is a legitimate concern this time.
I’ve gained about six pounds in two weeks by upping my carbs alone. I still have a massive hiker stomach, and eating 20oz of food in a sitting is pretty normal for me. That intake is typically 90% vegetables and salad though. 20oz equates to an atrocious amount of pizza and potatoes! Adding another five or six pounds by Springer will take a frightening amount of ease.
Stay tuned. I’m hoping to have some gear videos up next week. My YouTube is linked in the banner at the top of the page.