In March of 2010, my son Martin (aka Trail Trash) talked me into hiking the Appalachian Trail end to end. After I fully bought into the experience, I had a wonderful time living the life of a thru-hiker. The only state out of the fourteen the trail passes through that I grew weary of hiking was Virginia. On several occasion I openly expressed my dislike of Virginia and wanted to go home. Even tripping over the rocks in Pennsylvania I still voted Virginia as my least favorite state on the trip. I even got a flight back home to North Carolina by way of Detroit to avoid as much Virginia air space as possible. Okay the real reason for Detroit was it was a cheaper flight.
Since I’ve been home I’ve taken a couple of trips to Virginia and spent a few days hiking on the trail. Last year I took a group of Scouts up for a week hiking 100 miles on the trail south a Catawba. So my heart is starting to soften to that quarter section of the AT. Matter of fact when people ask about my next big hike I answer “Virginia”.
Back in the fall I started planning the trip. I even have recruited another hiker to go with me. I’m not all together sure he is any saner than I am but the plan so far is to start in a couple of months. and hike the entire state in about a month. We are going to check out a few side trails along the way and then to prove beyond a shadow of doubt about my sanity I plan (and hopefully my hiking partner will too) to attempt the Four State Challenge. For some time I’ve been trying to convince myself distance is a matter of belief. If I think I can hike it, it will happen.
So over the next few weeks as I get ready for this adventure, I’ll keep you posted on my preparation including foods and gear that I’ll be taking as well as physical and mental preparation. As one of my captains at the fire department once told me “prior planning prevents poor performance”.