Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wintertime Hiking Blues

Not technically taken in winter, and not taken while hiking, but still a nice snowy picture.

According to weather.com, it's 15 degrees here in Vermilion County, Illinois. Besides the fact it has been dark for six hours, it is far too cold for me to hike right now. I suppose I could go somewhere south and west, where the weather would be warmer. However, that would take money, something which I don't have.

I got new hiking shoes for Christmas, and I'm curious about how well they'll perform. Because it has been somewhat snowy at times since then, and because I just plain hate dealing with ice, I've yet to try them out. Unless the weather turns unseasonably warm, it looks like I'll have to wait until March before I put them to use on a trail.

I think it goes without saying that I won't be stepping off at Springer (or Katahdin) this year. Even if some generous benefactor were to avail themselves of the donation button on the right side of this page and fund a trip, I'm not at all in shape, or have the logistics figured out to a point where I could do this. On the other hand, if someone has $20,000 burning a hole in their pocket, I could probably find it in me to get started by late March or April. Considering my current situation, I can't imagine getting it together for 2014 either. Of course, 2014 is a year away, so a lot can happen.

Regardless of what happens, or where I may end up a year from now, I will be getting out on those trails this year. Although I'm scrapping January, I'm setting a goal of ten miles for February, and fifteen miles for March. I'd like to think these goals are incredibly conservative, but considering how badly I failed my goal in 4Q 2012 (6 miles or so out of 30), I figure I've got to be realistic. I'll be keeping you abreast of my progress, so stay tuned.

Although the weather may have curtailed my hiking, it hasn't been erased from my mind. Just today, I saw the word "swag", and instead of thinking of crap you get at parties or conventions, I thought of low spot on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia called the Swag of the Blue Ridge. From what I can gather, swag is an old-timey term for a gap between two lofty peaks, and for some reason it has stuck with me. Hopefully, I'll be able to check out this particular swag, sooner rather than later. For now, I have to be content re-reading the books I have on the Appalachian Trail and hiking, following the interactive map at appalachiantrail.org, and marking the time until Spring.

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