Goals come and go or they change with the passing years. When I was a kid, I wanted hair as long as this woman. Now I’m quite happy with short hair. At one time it was my goal to parachute from an airplane and try hang gliding. My husband convinced me it was unfair to risk leaving my children without a mother if something went wrong. I never regretted rearranging my goals over the years because life was so full of wondrous things.
I first considered walking the Appalachian Trail about 25 years ago, but it wasn’t a fire-breathing dragon goal, just a simmer at the back of the brain. The length of the trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia, is about 2,150 miles. Pretty daunting when you realize you have to carry everything with you, cooking utensils, tent, emergency medical kit, food, water. Adventurists who have done it term it a life changing experience.
That goal re-emerged when I met a friend of Jim’s who is walking the Appalachian Trail in pieces. Hilda is in her late 70’s, a former marine and in good health. She walks with two other women bit, by bit, mile by mile, each year. There are others who tackle the entire length, which takes around 5 months. Jim and I have entered small areas of the trail while traveling the East Coast. Once in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, and again at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and several places on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The urge began to stir anew. Good health is key to a 2,000 mile hike no matter how you do it.
Last night, we went to a seminar on hip, knee and shoulder replacements. I’m a candidate for hip replacement. I know I can’t walk the trail without doing something about an arthritic hip. I was amazed at what I learned about hip replacement, including an opinion from one participating surgeon that surgically replacing hips will be a thing of the past in possibly 20 years. I can’t wait that long for new technology. Now, is the time.
Pain is a motivator. For me, a greater motivator to consider hip replacement surgery, is the current book I’m reading, Bill Bryson’s, A Walk In The Woods. Bryson walked the Appalachian Trail in a five month stretch. I’m hoping that someone out there has walked the trail and will message me about their experience. And, I will post some of Bryson’s observations as I read. I’m also looking for a walking companion because this is not on Jim’s agenda.