Furniture against the walls of the apartment continues to vanish as the piles of gear, from winter jackets and gloves to bottles of Dr. Bronner’s Soap, loose stuff sacks, and technical t-shirts, grow. A stack of maps – reviewed, folded, and set aside after the realization that almost no two of the maps are alike, and they weigh too much – sits atop a plastic container serving as a coffee table.
We’re in the end game of planning this grand adventure, a lifelong dream for both John and I: a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. Two test trips – at Seminole State Forest and on the Ocean-to-Lake Trail – helped us shake out our gear together and decide what works for us and what doesn’t. John had the additional opportunity to decide on what to take after backpacking with his Boy Scout troop. He discovered my old Ridgerest mattress is a lot more comfortable than his Z-Rest. I’m going with the Thermarest after trying all of them and deciding I do need that extra bit of cushion for a good night’s sleep.
I have one project to finish and some care and feeding of this website before I leave. But it’s hard not to get distracted by planning, especially filling in gaps in gear. We snagged some excellent bargains on winter gear on the clearance racks at Travel Country Outdoors, and picked up a few items at Gander Mountain. We spent a few more hours refining our rough schedule so we can share the handful of maildrop locations we plan to use with friends and family.
As we prep, the excitement grows. The countdown to Springer shortens. So much to do!