Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit…
This is my online journal. Though I will talk about gear and stuff, this is the blow by blow of my thoughts and feelings, plus all of the technical aspects of the hike-pre, during and maybe post. (We’ll see. I hear the aftermath of the hike and integrating back into society is a killer. So that might be kind of interesting to jot down. I might need the therapy.)
I’m 50 years old. Most of the time, I don’t even think about ‘age’. It doesn’t usually bother me, but lately…it’s been on my mind a lot. I certainly don’t FEEL like I’m 50…but 50 is almost 55 and 55 is almost 60 (and so forth and so on.) I have gray hair, yes. It is my choice and I don’t regret growing out the color, and I like it. That’s really not the deal.
I’ve read that there are ‘retirees’ on the trail, and quite frankly, I have seen a LOT of trail journals for them. The other majority are the young’ns in their 20’s. Not many in between. I guess I just feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone for ‘age’.
What kind of hiking clothes am I supposed to buy? The athletic clothing is a mystery to me, anyway. I’ve never had to wear them. Base Layers. Middle Layers. Medium weight. Light weight. WOOL! I’ve never worn wool in my life, that I remember! I just don’t think I’m going to look very cute strutting around in my gray hair and woolen long undies. Apparently, that’s what people wear in camp after a day of hiking when it’s cold.
I’m really young at heart! Still… I’ve been thinking a lot about the time a couple of years ago that my Dad told me that I was no Spring Chicken anymore. My DAD! Think about that. (Selah.) I felt like I had been socked in the gut! That was really a reality check for me, and the point at which I began to think that maybe I was getting kind of ‘old’.
I recently joined a hiking forum. I have really been feeling the part, lately, and excited about my upcoming hike. I even donated $10 so I could edit my posts and have a custom Avatar picture. (The hiker cartoons they had on there to choose from were kind of lame.) I posted a picture of Eula (one of my favorite chickens) for my Avatar. So I posted on the 2016 Thru Hiker’s thread…basically you answer some questions about your hike (When you are hiking, which direction, trail name, etc.) There was also a place to put anything else you want people to know. I posted all about myself and why I wanted to do the hike. Later, I decided it was dumb and deleted that part. It sounded like I was trying to hard or something.
I bought a hiking skirt on Amazon. Believe it or not, hiking skirts are actually popular these days. I was excited about that, because not only are they cool, but there is one other VERY important thing to know about hiking skirts. YOU CAN PEE KIND OF DISCRETELY WHEN YOU HAVE TO GO IN THE WOODS. Normally, we women have to squat with our naked fanny hanging out in all it’s glory. (I hear it’s not all that uncommon to think you’ve found a hidden place off the trail to ‘go’, and then find that there is a switchback right in front of the place you thought was deep in the woods! Along comes a hiker and you are exposed! Gotcha! And so I thought that even though someone might catch me peeing in the woods, at least my fanny would be covered when I did it.
So…I ordered a hiking skirt. I thought it was a cute one. It was a longer one (to the knees)…because even though I’m in pretty good shape, I don’t think I can really pull off a shorter one at my age. Someone had started a thread about hiking skirts on the forum, so I posted a link to the hiking skirt that I had ordered. That went over like a lead balloon. No responses. I have found, though, that I pretty much tend to be a ‘thread killer’ on forums. Why I keep trying, I’ll never know. I guess it could have had something to do with the fact that I had a chicken for my avatar.
Well, my skirt arrived and Bud happened to walk through when I was trying it on. I was feeling kind of cute, and pleased with how it fit (though it was a little longer on me since I’m short). Anyway, Bud called me a Mennonite! I’m sure he was just teasing me, but still… I let it slide and explained how hiking skirts were popular these days. I tried it on again today before I took my walk and looked in the mirror. Mennonite. Definitely Mennonite…not that there is anything WRONG with the Mennonites. Of the ones I know, they are very nice! I admire them, actually…but I am not a Mennonite…nor do I want to look like a Mennonite-Wanna-Be (even though there might be a bit of truth to that.)
I really wanted to wear that skirt today for my walk, but I was too self-conscious…especially since our ‘hood is densely populated with Mennonites. I just felt awkward. On a positive note, I walked 8 miles today…in my blue jean cut-offs rolled up just above the knee. It took me 2 hours. Unfortunately, on one downhill slope, my ankle sort of wobbled and cratered underneath me. Everything felt like it was in slow-motion. I landed on my knees. The momentum of being on a decline carried me down further onto my hands…and then…*BOOP*…you guessed it. Down on the ol’ noggin. The first thing I did when I realized I had fallen and actually fallen so badly that I bumped my head, was to look around. I was flooded with relief when I realized that there was no one around. I felt a little shaken, but I was okay. I could still walk. It scared me a little. Things like that can END a thru-hike if you are on the trail…especially for us old people. Thankfully, I only had little scratches on my knees and one on the left side of my forehead. I washed it off in the creek on the way home. I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t wearing the Mennonite skirt, even though it was just me and the birds and squirrels. It WAS on the gravel road, though. Anyone could have come down that road at that time, you know.
I have aches and pains now. I try not to go on and on about them, because well…you know…nobody wants to hear about it when you get to a ‘certain age’. I haven’t been able to determine whether the aches and pains are age related or otherwise.
In spite of all of this, I’m still determined to do this. For those of you who doubt me, I will not be deterred! I WILL hike the Appalachian trail, all the way to Katahdin. I come from hard-headed, strong-willed, tough stock. Who cares what I look like while I’m doing it? Really?! I’m going to HMOH (Hike My Own Hike) no matter what I look like or what people may think. Devil May Care!