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Published: March 9th 2007
The best way to open our Travel Blog I think is with a bit of "Robert Service " poetry.
"The Land Beyond"
Have ever you heard of the Land Beyond,
That dreams at the gates of day?
Alluring it lies at the skirts of the skies,
And ever so far away;
Alluring it calls: O ye the yoke that galls,
And ye of the trail overfond,
With saddle and pack, by paddle and track,
Let's go to the Land of Beyond!
Have ever you stood where the silences brood,
And vast the horizons begin,
At the dawn of the day to behold far away,
The goal you would strive for and win?
Yet ah! in the night when you gain to the height,
With the vast pool of heaven star-spawned,
Afar and agleam, like a valley of dream,
Still mocks you a Land of Beyond.
Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond
For us who are true to the trail;
A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,
A fairness that never will fail;
A pride in our soul that mocks at a goal,
A manhood that irks at a bond,
And try how we will, unattainable still,
Behold it, our Land of Beyond!
We are just two normal folks who have the urge to roam. I retired from the Army in 95 as a First Sergeant who was in the Infantry the whole time with almost 10 years in the RANGERS and Deborah is a retired housewife (she had the harder job). All the children have grown and gone and now the grandchildren have started to come along. We have been married for just over 30 years. We have lived from Panama to Alaska and have been talking about the Appalachian Trail (AT) for the past 20 years and thinking hard about it for the past 10. Last year, while contemplating the 30 years Deborah had let me roam the world at will and supported me in any endeavor I chose, I thought it would be quite nice if I would let her do something she really wanted to do. I have spent the past few years driving tractor-trailer across America at the rate of some 130,000 miles per year. It has allowed us to arrive at a place where we can enjoy our retirements.
Most people who do a "Thru Hike" of the AT start in Georgia and walk north to Maine. We have never been known as a normal couple, so to do a normal walk would not be like us :-) We are starting just south of the midway point at Harpers Ferry , WV. then walk south to GA. After that we will take a train back north and start south from Mt Katahdin back to WV and the finish. This is due to some serious terrain analysis and consideration of our age, physical condition, and weather throughout the year. By starting in the middle and heading south, we will have somewhat less challenging terrain to "break us into trail condition". The weather should be a bit more mild and thus reducing the weight of necessary items we need to carry. We need to be in FL in the first part of June to attend one of our son's collage graduation. By doing our route we will also be walking the most challenging portions of the AT in the middle of the trip where we are in the best condition and also keep us from having to race against the winter and snow in Maine.
We will be sending updates to Matt via a device called "PocketMail". It will allow us to do a sort of daily journal and then send it out whenever we can find a payphone to send on. We will also send him a CD of our photos when we get somewhere where we can download our camera.
We hope everyone enjoys our postings. To those people who have always wanted to attempt such a trip, maybe they will be encouraged to try a trek of their own, even if only through the words of others.
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