Thursday, December 26, 2013

50 Days Out

Time really is just speeding by. I took the day off today to nurse a baby hangover and to refocus a little. Christmas was a blast this year which was a nice change.

Santa brought us a few things for the hike, including a couple of titanium mugs to match our new Evernew Ultralight Titanium Pot and Traildesigns Sidewinder Ti-Tri stove! We're very excited about this new cook-kit, as it has allowed us to shave about 1.5lb off of our carry weight, not to mention this new set packs down much smaller. Santa is a little late bringing our Zpacks twin quilt, but we're excited to see how all these items fit into our smaller and lighter Osprey Exos 46 packs. With all of these changes, we've managed to get our base pack weight down to around 14.5lbs!

Now, we added onto that weight a little last night. Santa brought me an iPad mini and a Pencil so that I could document my thoughts and such while on the trail easily. I haven't fully decided if I want to bring these items, especially given their cost and delicate disposition, but I appreciated the gesture nonetheless.

We've been testing out potential cameras the past few days to try and decide which one we would like to bring on the trail. My favorite so far has been the Olympus TG-2 Tough camera. It's only fault in my book has been the sad, sad panorama mode that "stitches" together several images. I much prefer the smooth panorama that I've grown used to on the iPhone, so I could probably get away with just using it to capture 180 degree views.

Thinking about it now, it seems like we are planning on bringing quite a few electronics... Not too sure how I feel about that.

Chase has been able to cut back on work now that it is after the holiday and he actually has Sunday off this week. We are hoping to make some great progress on packing and planning. Maybe I'll even get the gear spreadsheet finished!

Merry Merry y'all!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Every moment speeding by...

I have been so overwhelmed with responsibilities these past two weeks that it has been difficult to find any time for blogging.

I'm still working on putting together our gear list, but this has proved difficult do to last minute changes in some key pieces. I promise it will be up soon! We are narrowing down cameras, back-up batteries, and trail runners at this point, but we just changed cook kits and sleeping bags, so things are still very much in flux.

Chase and I haven't been home together enough for us to sort out our proposed schedule to let our friends and family know where we will be and when. I'm hoping things will slow down after Christmas and we can figure all of this out.

The house is a mess. Most of my stuff has been packed in boxes, but Chase has a long way to go. I got the Christmas tree out of the garage today and had a mini panic attack about the amount of stuff in there. Good thing we are taking the week before hitting the trail off to tackle it!

I'm giving my boss notice that I am leaving on Monday. That should be a fun day. /joy

Sheila doesn't seem stressed out at all...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What's in a name?

That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Or would it?

I've been wrestling with the idea of trail names since we returned from our second shakedown hike. Really I've been thinking about it since the moment we met our first thru-hiker on the trail and sort of awkwardly looked at one another and shrugged as we introduced ourselves. I'm Kelley, and this is Chase. That sounds way more lame than Two-bit and Mini-Moose (I just made those up, so they aren't that cool). I found I was embarrassed of my own name on the trail, and I'm curious if this happens to others...

I feel like not having a trail name makes you an outsider. To me, a trail name is an instant invite into the cool kids club; and without it, you're just another nobody. I want to make it clear, we weren't treated any differently by hikers, I just felt like I didn't quite belong. I might be a little lot sensitive to this sort of thing, as my self-confidence isn't really the best (one of the many reasons I decided to hike).

From the beginning I've viewed a trail name as something that is bestowed upon you as you struggle through the first few weeks of the AT, something that really speaks about your character or your odd habits or something silly that happened to you. I was really willing to embrace this, to be nameless until the universe decided I should have a name. But now I'm having second thoughts.

We won't be staying in shelters and having the dog complicates some things, so I'm just worried about being nameless for a month and a half. According to the whiteblaze 2014 registry, there is a little bubble of people heading out in February, so my thoughts that we will go nameless seem a little unfounded, but my worry remains.

I thought it might be a lot of fun to let our closest friends and family name us at our going away party, so we could carry a little bit of who we were starting out. A reminder of where we came from. I like this idea a lot, though Chase isn't warming up to it very well. He wants to be named on the trail. And I have to admit, choosing a name before hand may take away from our trail experience.

We could always name each other, but again I think it takes away from the experience. Maybe I should just stop worrying about it.

All good things take time.

Kelley and Sheila on Blood Mountain