[at-l] longevity advice

EHamilton imagainst_the_wind at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 4 08:55:58 CST 2009

>From: Felix J <AThiker at smithville.net>
>So...is there something you wish you'd done differently? Or, could have done differently? 

Yeah. I didn't know these things at the time, but I do now. "Could have done differently" is a better way to put it, since overall I'm happy with the way things went; I'm very, very happy with my triathlon finish. It's not the longest triathlon I've ever done (I've done 2 full Ironman's, this was a half) but it's by far the most difficult; in fact, as I mentioned, the most difficult in the world at present because of the bike course, so of course I had to do it In fact, once I got my head around the decision, I started feeling that I'd be more disappointed to miss the triathlon than to postpone the rest of my hike, since sometimes races die out over time and I'd be heartbroken never to get another chance. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do that race. It was right in the backyard where my husband was staying in the camper. The entry fee was less than one month's Trail budget. I'd wanted to do that race for years. 

Of course, not as many years (3) as I'd wanted to thru-hike the AT (42), so if I could have taken steps to ensure overcoming obstacles to staying on the Trail, I probably would have just aimed for the tri another year, instead of the other way around. Such as:

1. Do my finances differently.
	*  Don't stay in motel rooms or hostels that are more than about $5 a night.
	*  Don't eat in "real" restaurants. Eat from the McDonald's dollar menu and at AYCE places.
	*  Don't shoot my whole month's budget in one town (split a motel room, eat at sit-down Mexican, buy new boots, buy "new" second-hand sleeping pad, long story.)
	* Get my month's budget out of an ATM at the beginning of the month and make it last, rather than taking out smaller amounts in towns and/or paying for supplies w/ debit card. If my husband had spent something unusual back home, there wasn't enough left for me by the end of the month. 
	* Save up and have an emergency fund for unforeseen expenses.
2. Don't change boots just because they don't have the same ones in the town I'm passing through. I could have sewn the boot seams with dental floss and made them last till the end of the month, when I'd have had more money AND could have pre-ordered the same kind to be ready for me at Harper's Ferry. Now that I know which boots work for me, get 3 pairs (start, like, a year ahead) and mail-drop replacements. On this trip, I didn't yet know which ones would or wouldn't work.

3. Eat more from the beginning. Peanut butter at every rest stop. Then I wouldn't need to get a cushier sleeping pad.

4. Suck it up more. 

5. Don't go visit my husband for a weekend. Did that in Pearisburg, realized hard how much we missed each other, dragged myself back to the Trail, never really got it back after that. In my other post I didn't mention emotional factors but that was one.

6. Don't feel I need my husband to rock-hop along the Trail to be nearby. We live in our RV, (or did, up until October), and he spent my first 2 months in a campground in GA, the next 2 in MD, and was planning to stay in NH the final 2. He worked at the campgrounds for his site but wasn't paid. The NH gig would have paid $ as well as the comp site, but as we know I only made it to MD. Actually, by the time I got to HF, we had money for the coming month again if we were very careful, but I'd had enough of the uncertainty of coming into town with only a few bucks having to stretch every cent or mooch off other people (I paid them back but it was still humiliating.)  Anyway, another time.... I know what I'm doing now, don't need my husband to be a day's drive away, he could do the New Hampshire gig the whole 6 months and I'd be fine and we'd have enough money.

Except I don't think we can leave my mom for 6 months now. And our son, who's divorced and going to university in pre-med, needs help w/ his two daughters, another reason we're staying put in the area where our family lives. On the timeline with the "You Are Here" arrow, last year was my only shot at a thru-hike for who knows how many years. 

But I still had a hell of a season, hiking a thousand miles (how many make it to HF? 25%?) and then doing a hoop-de-doo triathlon. In a way it was better, because I did TWO major things. 

I think if/when I try another thru-hike, I may start at Katahdin and go SOBO. I wouldn't want to re-start at Springer and maybe only get to HF again and still not have seen the northern part of the Trail. With a SOBO start, if I make it to HF and have to bail, at least I've done the whole Trail over time. OTOH, that might make it easier to bail. 
We'll see. And thanks for asking :-)




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