Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Goals

This post is in the stream of consciousness tradition (wherein I will just keep writing whatever it is that enters my head, to be refined/defined later).

I need a goal. I just need some 1-2 year event to shoot for. So, what do I do then? I want to hike. I want to get back to that person I used to be before love/marriage/family took me to mommy-town. I want to free climb El Cap and spent a day getting lost in some backwoods Sierra creek. I want to meet people on the trail and learn about them. I want this part of me back so desperately and I have very little direction as to how to make that happen.

I want to hike the AT (Appalachian Trail) in March of 2011. I need to decide how that would be physically possible and what I can do to make it happen. How can a disabled person do it? How can I afford it? What about the kids? All of these questions need answering. But, I do have enough "faith" think they are answerable.

Questions? Queries? Want to call me a whack-job and ask why? Do it here. Thanks.

24 comments:

Hortan said...

Are you planning to go by your lonesome self, what if there are bears?!

Disabled people(I almost wrote cripples) are like gift-wrapped candy to them!

And gravity, nature and mountain lions , oh my..

yanub said...

I understand. And you can do it. You just can't do it the same way you did before. But with imagination, you'll find what you need to make new ways open.

Probably the most important thing will be to build a team that you can rely on, who let you set the pace but give you the confidence to push yourself. Do that, and everything else will begin to fall into place.

lesliepear said...

I think that is a great goal.

But would your sun sensitivty be an issue?

Poodles said...

That sounds like a great idea. How are you doing?

Berlzebub said...

Do you intend to hike the whole thing? That's quite a distance even for someone who's in good health.

Don't forget the bear repellent (someone who can't run as fast as you), and watch where you step (rattlers are fairly common in the mountain areas). You don't have to worry about mountain lions, though. There's a bunch of legends about them in the area, but they're the Appalachian areas version of Bigfoot.

Phoebe Caulfield said...

My cousin is hiking the AT as we speak. It's supposed to take him 6 months, starting in March. He blogs from his blackberry as he goes: http://postholer.com/journal/viewJournal.php?sid=5fe324a76a9d88e3326a8e066c381bfd&entry_id=7431

Joanna said...

I love that you have this kind of goal. I don't even have that goal, and I should! It makes me think that if you are considering it, then why can't I?!! There must be a way around the obstacles. You are the queen of research - I know you could research it in and out, up and down, over and under, and find a way to do it:)

Caitlin said...

Good hiking boots, trekking poles, and a good buddy are what you need. I live in Virginia and could probably walk part of the northern va/wv/md sections of the trail with you. They also have trail angels, who can give you ride into town to check mail or resupply. One of my friends walked the PCT (supposed to be easier than the AT terrain wise), and some of the trail angels would be waiting at a pick up spot if it was severe weather and put you up in their guest room.

The AT in Northern Va is rocky and has some elevation changes. I've hiked some of it in Tennessee, WV, Pennsylvania, and NY. The Northern Va part seemed to be the toughest part terrainwise of the sections I've hiked. You will definitely want to get the bear container stuff for your food.

I buy most of my gear from Rei/rei outlet. They run 20% off of full price coupons 4-5 times a year. If you're a member, you also get a certain percentage of your non sale purchases back as a dividend. You can also return gear with no hassles if you don't like it once you hit the trail. The ultralight stuff is expensive, but doable if you watch the sales.

I'm planning on walking the C&O canal path this fall. For training, I've been trying to walk a certain number of miles a day and upping my total mileage each week. I usually do my lower mileage days during the week, and one long hike during the weekend. I'm shooting for 20-25 miles a day and am currently up to 9ish. I have the Leslie Sansone walking videos for rainy days, since I don't have an indoor track near me.

Sorry this got so long. Good luck with it and hope to see you out here when you're making your hike :).

Flux said...

i hiked bits and pieces of the AT (great smokies) on my honeymoon - so it can be done! and if anyone can find a way, it will be you. :)

Sarah said...

PossumMomma, I don't often comment on blogs, but I feel compelled to say. You can do anything you set your mind to. Disability or no disability. I used to use my disability as an excuse not to do things and found my life getting smaller and smaller. Now I use it as an excuse to force myself to do things and I'm finally living my life.

My suggestion for hiking a big trail would be to hire a guide who could help you if you can't go on (or maybe bring a horse if possible). As for the kids, maybe the older ones would like to go with you.

Good luck, I hope to read of you climbing the appalachian trail in the future.

Gilraen said...

Are you maybe biting off more than you can chew?

I understand wanting to get back to your pre-Mama self. I want that, too.

But you're going through a lot, and you have massive responsibilities.

Maybe you should pick something a little less overwhelming, a little more do-able. Then, when you are successful at it, do something a little bit more difficult.

And if you're going into woods or other natural areas, please carry bear spray, or a gun, or something else to protect yourself. Not all animals are four-legged.

Best of luck to you on whatever path you choose to walk.

possum_momma said...

Are you planning to go by your lonesome self, what if there are bears?!I don't know, yet. Right now, it's just a far off goal that I want to think about and see where that thought takes me. I would think I'd have to do it in a group of very supportive people, but from all I've read and heard from those who've done it: groups don't work so well because people get off pace.

The bears don't worry me. I've hiked in the back country of the Sierras and other places where bears are the apex predator and, though I've seen them and come close to them, they've acted more scared of me than I was of them.

yanub said...
I understand. And you can do it. You just can't do it the same way you did before. But with imagination, you'll find what you need to make new ways open.
Thanks for understanding the craziness! :)

lesliepear said...
I think that is a great goal.

But would your sun sensitivty be an issue?
Yes, it would/will likely be a huge problem. I haven't figured out how that could be solved, yet. They do make hiking gear that's rated fairly high on the SPF scale. That would be a start. To manage the kids, right now, and get the daily life stuff done, I'm using a prescription sunblock - it seems to do a fairly decent job (in that I'm not blistering as often as I used to).
Poodles said...
That sounds like a great idea. How are you doing?
It depends on the day. I miss the kids when they're with their dad and that's partially why I need some far off goal to think about. I miss being part of a relationship, but I don't know if I'll ever trust enough to be part of another one, kwim? In some ways, I'm really enjoying the autonomy, but in other ways it's a struggle because the reality is that this is difficult in many ways.

Berlzebub said...
Do you intend to hike the whole thing? That's quite a distance even for someone who's in good health.
That would be the ultimate goal. Reality would probably derail that. :) Still, there's part of me that thinks..."It's two years off and I'll start slow." I've been gradually building up my endurance just by taking over the full and complete day-to-day, single mom stuff. It's taxing me to the edge, but if I can do that with no notice, then what could I do with planning and notice? :) Of course, this could all be a pipe dream. By the way, congrats! I am planning to give you a ring this weekend.


Phoebe, he's my new hero! That's awesome. Thanks for sharing.


Joanna said...
I love that you have this kind of goal. I don't even have that goal, and I should! It makes me think that if you are considering it, then why can't I?!! There must be a way around the obstacles. You are the queen of research - I know you could research it in and out, up and down, over and under, and find a way to do it:)
:)

lynn's daughter said...

Sweetie, you can SO do this. Google "Athena Diaries," the blog of a woman who went from couch potato to Ironman triathlon finisher in just a few short years.

Traceytreasure said...

Sounds like you're reaching for the stars! I wish you much success in reaching your goals!

Hope you have a Happy Mother's day!

Hugs!!

Seven Crows said...

Nice to see a post from you. I saw a documentary on a group of disabled persons going on a rafting trip down the Colorado River and in looking for that for you I found this interesting site about Disabled Sports that might give you some ideas:
http://www.dsusa.org/

I also found a website all about that film:
http://www.righttorisk.org/righttorisk/
If you can find a way to watch, it is really inspiring and the site looks interesting too.

Amy said...

Honey, you've ALWAYS been so much more than just "Mommy-town". It's one of the many things I've always found inspiring about you. Congrats on the goal. You can do it! :)

Dawn said...

I'll root for you in any way! It won't be easy but I'm sure you can do it. For fun reading, if you haven't read it already, read Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Wood" about hiking the AT. It has some good suggestions mixed in with the story.

Glad to see a new post from you, and that the clothing and a rx sunblock allow you to function a bit more. Good luck!

Jim said...

The AT is something that I've thought about too, but I'm not sure if I am prepared for that degree of privation. I like my creature comforts.

If you're thinking about the AT, I hope that you've read Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods." It's a great book, and one that really piqued my interest in the trail. At the same time, it made me realize just how daunting hiking the whole trail would be.

There's one passage in which Bryson grasps, for the first time, the sheer size of the trail.

Bryson and Katz (his hiking companion) have been walking for almost 6 weeks when they stop for resupply in Gatlinburg, TN...
Katz needed bootlaces, so we went to an outfitter's, and while he was off in the footwear section I had an idle shuffle around. Pinned to a wall was a map showing the whole of the Appalachian Trail on its long march through fourteen states, but with the eastern seaboard rotated to give the AT the appearance of having a due north--south orientation, allowing the mapmaker to fit the trail into an orderly rectangle, about six inches wide and four feet high. I looked at it with a polite, almost proprietorial interest--it was the first time since leaving New Hampshire that I had considered the trail in its entirety--and then inclined closer, with bigger eyes and slightly parted lips. Of the four feet of trail map before me, reaching approximately from my knees to the top of my head, we had done the bottom two inches. I went and got Katz and brought him back with me, pulling on a pinch of shirtsleeve. "What?" he said. "What?" I showed him the map. "Yeah, what?" Katz didn't like mysteries. "Look at the map, and then look at the part we've walked." He looked, then looked again. I watched closely as the expression drained from his face. "Jesus," he breathed at last. He turned to me, full of astonishment. "We've done nothing." All we had done-- all the effort and toil, the aches, the damp, the mountains, the horrible stodgy noodles, the blizzards, the dreary evenings with Mary Ellen, the endless, wearying, doggedly accumulated miles-- all that came to two inches. My hair had grown more than that.
Plenty of people thru-hike the AT each year, but section hiking (doing smaller sections of a course of years until you've done it all) is also popular. It might offer a more convenient schedule for you too.

Either way, good luck, and keep us posted.

Firebird said...

I have personal experiences with disability. My wife has MS (multiple sclerosis).

If you, through your thorough planning, should find some parts of your goal to be non-reachable, then just move the goalposts for that part.

Contrary to the saying, nobody can do everything. Noone can climb to the moon by bare hands. That's no shame. But most goals can be reached by choosing the right way to do it. That might mean getting help or perhaps driving, where others walk.

And if we discover a goal we just can't reach, there are plenty of goals in the world.

Good to hear from you!

Karen H. (kthaman) said...

I will be back in Virginia (with the mountains in my backyard) in 2011. If you come east - you better let me know so we can meet!! :)

kourou said...

GREAT to see you back again, PMomma! Good for you!
I agree about Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. It's a very good book.

paul [silentsanta] said...

Good for you, pMomma. I say good on you for setting a goal- it might not be easy but there are ways of doing things. I think I hear the artist in me saying that restrictions inspire creativity.

ps. one of my favourite tramps I've ever done was the summit of Mt. Ngaruahoe, (used as Mt. Doom in the recent Lord of the Rings). I bring it up because I did it at night and I thought you might like to consider a similar strategy.

In terms of the trail itself, I've just discovered that it's more than twice the length of my entire homeland! I hope you have a specific segment in mind..?

Betsy said...

I'd say it's normal to want to do something drastic and empowering after a huge life change. I've felt that recently myself. If anyone can do it, you can!! Best of luck!!

tfrancov said...

I live in New York State in the area of the AT. Bears are very rare, and the trail is not as rough as other places. The Bear Mountain Bridge takes you over the Hudson river - it's a stunning view. If you need a support person for this stretch of the trip, I'm volunteering.