Yeah, you read that right. As some of you may recall, back in October I mentioned something about not having Gout anymore and no longer needing to take the meds. It’s been a significant change in my life as I can eat a lot of foods that were off limits for the past ten years (like pizza, mmmm). Having to adhere to a very restricted diet, take meds, and abstain from all alcohol related culture, has made my life quite isolated. Not very good company if you don’t drink and can’t eat at most restaurants. So this means things in my life are changing. However, I have been stuck in this hole for so long that I don’t have a clue how to get out of it or what to do next really. I started my career as a smith when I was probably a bit too young and am getting burned out. Haven’t had a proper vacation in more than a decade at least. Hell the longest I have been away from the studio is three days and that was a few years ago. My anger and depression have been getting worse with each passing year. I desperately need a break. Last year I started hiking a lot more because I was sick of closed mtb trails do to rain and needed to be in the woods. Often finding myself getting caught in thunderstorms on a mountain side. While not quite the same as riding, hiking does keep the depression at bay. My hiking buddy had been planning to thru hike the Appalachian Trail and I was familiar with it via my father who’d hiked it in sections in the late 80s and early 90s. I never thought about doing it myself as I can remember how impossibly heavy my Dad’s gear had been and didn’t’t think my back could handle it. Also having a restricted diet was another huge deterrent. But after listening to my friend talk about all the light weight new gear and the challenge of a thru hike, I started looking into a bit on Youtube. After watching a couple documentaries in November it just clicked. I remembered the life changing experience I had in ’95 when I went to Penland School on scholarship with all it’s intense, concentrated experience. Being fully immersed in that environment was something that I will never forget. And now I need another positive, life changing experience. Since deciding to thru hike the A.T. back in November I have a growing sense of urgency that I don’t think I have ever felt before. I have been obsessed with this and locked on like a pitbull. Every waking moment has been in preparation for this massive undertaking. The latest I can leave would be around the second week in May. It takes anywhere from 4-7 months to complete. My Dad and my buddy think I can complete it in 5 months. Baxter State Park in Maine, the Northern terminus at Katahdin, usually closes around October 15. I had planned on funding this with a good Christmas season. Unfortunately my Mom fell and broke her arm in mid December. And I have been tied up with her until just a couple weeks ago. Not being able to work much threw a big wrench in my plans, slowing me down a bit. I have been buying and testing gear. Should have the bulk of it in the next week or so. The on trail expenses are what I don’t have yet. It’s a long shot, but a good wedding season could do it for me. Regardless, I am going to keep pushing forward with training and gear testing. If I miss my window to leave, then I’ll have to come up with plan B to get out of town for a while. Just want to share this with you assholes cuz yer my virtual peeps. tldnr; The reason I want to thru hike the A.T. is to get away from this place long enough to gain some perspective on how to climb out of the hole I’ve been stuck in for far too long.