It’s the Final Countdown

Well folks, April has arrived – one month until the start of my Appalachian Adventure!

Actually, 25 days until my flight, and 27 days until I step. Woof.

Preparations are ramping up, and my vision is beginning solidify. Twenty five Priority Mail boxes, each filled with the caloric and nutritional requirements to feed a walking James for a week in the woods. Inside each of those 25 Priority Mail boxes, 7 bags of breakfast grains in snack size ZipLocks, 10 granola bars, one bag of Haribo gummy creations – right now, that is; I’ve got go buy another 4kg of gummies and break them down to 25 portions to bring my boxes to symmetry today… and double my daily gummy ration from 2 giants to 4 giants. Emboldened by the presence of shops along the Trail, I am at east with this allocation.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the oven is ever occupied with the task of drying beans. Trivia fact the first: once hydrated beans subsequently cooked then dried retain their nutritional value and cook twice as fast in consequent cookings. Trivia fact the second: salt that soaking water – it keeps the skins from bursting. I’ve been working through a 5 pound bag of garbanzo beans this past week, and have just moved on to black turtle beans. I also have lentils and split peas on hand, which will not undergo this hydration/dehydration transformation – I don’t want to consider the sight of twice cooked split peas. The end game for the beans and legumes is to portion them into quart sized ZipLock bags of dinner grains – rice, millet, quinoa, polenta, couscous, pasta – for easy one pot meals. It’s a work in motion.

On the gear front, um… I had 13 yellow slips waiting for me at my post office when I returned to work this past Monday – poor infantryman/postal worker boy. At least none of it was as heavy as that 30 pound box of peanuts… or that 40 pound bag of Bob’s Red Mill grains… put simply, acquisition by post has been a most entertaining affair, but it is done; I’ve officially got everything I need to do everything I need to do.

Task remaining: build a pot stand for my alcohol stove. Shout out to Hobby Express – they ship to service members abroad fo’ free! And now I have a 3 feet of 3/16″ brass tubing to sheath my bicycle spoke apparatus. That’s this weekend’s craft project. Oh, and learn how to pitch the tarp that will serve in lieu of a tent; I’d rather allocate the 2 pound differential to food and water. Oh, and figure out where I want to send those 25 Priority Mail boxes. I’m kind of planning to bend my hike to my preparation, and where things don’t quite align, to pull out my credit card. If it’s not life, limb, or eyesight, it’s no worry.

And, of course, the obligatory training plan. My Withings watch tells me that I’ve been increasing my footsteps by as much as 33% each week over the past 4 weeks. I aim to walk an average of 18 miles a day, so I’ve been increasing my mileage towards that end. This lovely little town of mine has hills , and I’ve explored a good many of them. There’s a 77km stretch of trail that leads from the Mariahilfberg atop my town all the way to the Czech border. I figure I could do it in a day, carrying only food and water. Loc isn’t so keen on the idea. We’ll find compromise… or I’ll just do it, then call him for a ride.

Sounds like a plan.



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