We have around 55 days left. That’s it. Of course we will delay if the weather looks to be particularly brutal, but the plan is to begin hiking north in 55 days.
The relatives are worried.
I spoke to my sister today and she asked the usual questions. The ones about safety, and then comfort. What about shoes? You buy them as you wear a pair out, of course. In some instances you can send the worn out shoes, and even socks (Darn Tough Brand), to the manufacturer and they will replace them for free! That is the epitome of being chintzy. Just buy the new socks and shoes at a store. Okay?
The father-in-law has shifted gears. We are no longer bothered with attempts to convince me to carry a pistol. It has shifted to knives. I have a knife. It’s a Leatherman Micra. I’ve had it for years. I like it. It has scissors and a bottle opener. Both of which will be used more than the blade. Bailey has one as well. He scoffed at us.
“So, if a bear attacks you that is what you will use?”
He attempted to give me a sheath knife. I have several already, and I use them for hunting. I have my old, issued, K-Bar, which has not seen the light of day in years. I declined the knife, noting I do not intend to get into a knife fight with a bear. Hit it with a rock maybe. It’s not “Westside Story”.
My Mom worries about how we will access money. Cards and cash.
So where does this leave my wife?
1. She will not have to put up with, or take care of, two males of the species. Let’s face it, we are high maintenance. Towels on the floor, the toilet seat is always up, and we fart.
2. With the two of us wandering up a trail we are a known budget item. Unlike when we are at home. Trips to the grocery are not fun when Bailey and I go. They are not cheap either. Knorr Pasta Sides and instant mashed potatoes are cheap. Dollar General is inexpensive, Publix and Kroger (with their international aisles and on-site sushi chefs) are a nightmare if we accompany her.
3. She doesn’t rent movies on U-Verse. Guess who does? I have toned it down, and keep it to three a month, but Bailey? Any new release is a cause to push a button. If only Netflix would cut a deal and get those movies so those of us with ADD and slim patience could satisfy our curiosities (BTW: The Interview sucked).
4. Gas. Not that kind. The kind that you put in a vehicle. We are walking, and we have somewhere to go, but it is self propelled. She will be the only consumer of fuel. So the energy consumption around here will drop, not just in the vehicles, but heating/air conditioning, water, etc.
5. Dirty dishes. None of those for months.
6. I tend to do some of my best work at night. That disturbs her.
It’s not that she won’t miss us. I’m sure she will. She also gets to live vicariously through us, which is fine. There is no way to travel the AT without getting wet, cold, hot, or assaulted by bugs, and she is not willing to forego room service just to have a great view from a tent vestibule. If anything this thru-hike is a testament of Michelle’s confidence in my abilities to not only handle myself, but her precious baby boy. It should be noted the precious baby boy wears a size ten or eleven, and has been the primary problem when we go to the grocery store.
It rained. It has now stopped. We will set up the tent, show some of our gear in the cliche fashion, and discuss some plans, this week. So our family and friends can get a feel for how not worried they should be. I leave you with Bear Hands, Agora (for all those who are afraid of those things).