My final training hike. Can you believe it?

Last Sunday, my friend April and I went out to Bull Run at exit 40 off of I-66. I didn’t carry a weighted pack since my new Deva 60 from Gregory had not yet arrived. So, really, I’m not sure if I should technically call this a training hike, but I’ve decided to take liberties.

This is it, folks. No more training hikes.

Next weekend I’m moving all of my furniture and boxes down to Virginia Beach, and the following weekend – after four more days of work – I’ll move myself down. I’ll have a handful of days to tie up the last loose ends and spend time with friends/family, and then I’ll be on my way to Georgia, if everything goes according to plan. I’ll definitely have the chance to exercise in the interim, but – if the name didn’t clue you in – Virginia Beach isn’t particularly hilly.

Don't be deceived. Virginia Beach isn't hilly, but it does have trees. But not these trees.

Don’t be deceived. Virginia Beach isn’t hilly, but it does have trees…but not these trees.

So that’s it. Sunday was my last hike before…the next one, the big one.

Generally, although I really enjoyed myself, it was nothing special. Bull Run’s an area April and I have both hiked many times. In fact, I’d hiked it as recently as three weeks prior. Funny, though, because the experience was completely different. The snow had melted, the streams flowed more heavily, the sky was brighter and warmer. Even so, I could easily forget the details or merge memories with my various other weekend hikes at Bull Run.

Oh, what, you thought I was just going to wax poetic? No, no, photos come standard. No extra charge.

Oh, what, you thought I was just going to wax poetic? No, no, photos come standard. No extra charge.

However, what made this hike special is that it highlighted the five a half months of effort that I’ve put into preparing for my A.T. thru-hike.

I looked back into my blog archives and counted 19 training hikes (including last weekend) since the beginning of September. 19 hikes in 25 weekends. That averages to about 3.5 hikes per month. I have to be honest: I’m kind of proud of myself.

I mean waxing poetic is definitely part of the equation too. Don't get me wrong.

I mean waxing poetic is definitely part of the equation too. Don’t get me wrong.

As the months have worn on, I’ve gotten progressively out of shape and fluffy (ya know, to have reserves for my trek and all), but I’ve kept up the weekend hikes. I think this is less an indication of my fitness level and more an indication of my focus and persistence, and reflecting on that, I’m pretty impressed with myself. I guess I didn’t know I had it in me, nor did I truly realize it before digging back into my old posts.

There was an exposed beam here a few weeks ago. Now it's filled in with rocks. It must be trail magic.

There was an exposed beam here a few weeks ago. Now it’s filled in with rocks. It must be trail magic.

I can’t claim that I was excited about every single one of those hikes. Some weekends I just felt like watching movies and being lazy. Or maybe I was knee deep in A.T. research and didn’t want to be “distracted” with a hike. And sometimes my excuses and other plans won out. But over the long haul – with the support of family, friends and those of you who read my blog (thank you!) – I proved to myself that I could stick with it.

And stick with it I will…all the way to Mount Katahdin.

Meandering on,



16 thoughts on “My final training hike. Can you believe it?

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your blog! Can’t wait to read it once you start.

    I’m planning a short 2 week hike on the AT in Sept. As a gluten-free gal myself, I would love to see what/how much food you are packing. I know you’ve mentioned eating oatmeal, bars, almond butter, and such, but I would love to see it all packed.

    I know you are busy packing, but if you get a chance, please post the food.

    Thanks and good luck!

    • Absolutely! I’m planning to put together mail drop boxes once I move out of my apartment and get down to Virginia Beach the first week in March. Keep an eye out.

  2. Winter does seem to bring the laziness out in all of us. I haven’t been out hiking very much myself. Once daylight savings time hits, I’ll start bringing my bike to work again. BTW, depending on when you arrive, the wife and I still want to treat you to breakfast before you start out.

    • Nice! I used to bike to work. Commute + exercise = two birds with one stone.

      I really do appreciate your offer. It’s so generous. However, I’m aiming for a midweek departure to miss the heavy weekend crowds. I figure I’ll be overwhelmed enough and starting with 100 other people wouldn’t help. Of course, I’ll continue to accept words of encouragement and such. 🙂

  3. I hope the Georgia weather is perfect for your start. I have enjoyed reading your progress. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures on the trail.

  4. I feel so excited about your trip, and I’m not even going! You are one brave woman to do this. You won’t be alone, because your loyal fans will be coming along with you 😉

    • Haha I’m pretty excited about my trip too! It’s getting so close to departure, but I still have plenty to do. It’s awesome to think people supporting me will be there every step of the way.

  5. Post when you get near Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania and perhaps I can drop off a Clif Bar for you. I just posted picture from there in December, but it was an unusually foggy day. Safe travels and I look forward to stories and pictures.

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