So, yeah, soon, if all goes to plan, I’ll be setting off to hike the Appalachian Trail. I’ll be starting in mid-March, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, as a matter of fact. I don’t know if that is an omen or what, and what kind of omen it could be, for that matter. Mary did do a lot of research into the storied genealogy of my side of the family, and it appears that we are largely descended from the Irish, so I think I’ll consider the close proximity of St. Paddy’s Day to be a favorable portent.
Let’s start with some background, shall we? I won’t say that I always dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail, because there were periods when I wanted to be a fighter pilot, a firefighter, or a fire juggler, sometimes all at the same time. Because, I mean, who wouldn’t? In any case, that’s why eventually, I went into metallurgy. But that’s a story for another time.
But there, in the back of my mind, for the longest time, has been this dream of someday hiking the AT. But real life, like going to college, getting a job, getting another job, moving across the country, travelling overseas, meeting the love of my life, wooing the love of my life, marrying the love of my life, working, mowing the lawn, learning how to properly program the DVR, always seemed to get in the way.
Now though, I don’t have any of those excuses. I’m retired, Mary, my wife, has sold her company and she’s retired. We’re debt-free, and the house is paid off. My health, and Mary’s health, is pretty damn good considering, well, my age, at least. So there’s nothing standing in my way at this point and no reason for putting it off any longer if I really want to do this thing. And that’s where I was a few months ago.
One morning, I sat down at breakfast with the love of my life and said, “I want to hike the Appalachian Trail.”
Mary, aforementioned love of my life, and the keeper of my heart, said, “OK.”
And that was that.