It takes a village

Since I made up my mind to attempt this mind-boggling hike, I’ve been speaking to a couple of networking groups, of which I have been a member for several years.  I used to be the Property and Casualty insurance guy, trying to network and grow my own business, along with sharing referrals to help others grow their businesses.  Now, however, I’m the oddity in both groups, with nothing to sell other than my overwhelming, schoolboyish, excitement and gleeful enthusiasm about my adventure.

Enthusiasm from others is often difficult to gauge, particularly when you are trying to extol the virtues of a wind mitigation inspection, or telling people of the important nuances of flood coverage, yet there has been no equivocation about the hike.  People have been uniformly enthusiastic about this and I think it is because I am coming at the subject from both a place of pure joy at the prospect and one of naïveté due to my complete lack of experience in the environment.

I added props this morning to my featured speaker role by taking along my backpack, fairly well stuffed with goodies and it took the subject to a whole new level.  My friends marveled at the lightness of my sleeping bag, along with the minuscule stuff sack into which it will magically fit.  They were enthralled by my cooking system, with its ability to all fit into a cup, and they were impressed by the solar charger that will keep me in contact with the world and, most importantly, my wife.  I also passed round my iPhone to show a review of my latest gadget, a Stickpic, which allows the hiker to take the world’s best selfies.  Check it out.

Any comments about the hat are unnecessary; I know what I look like.

It struck me, as I was talking to the group, that, if certain circumstances were aligned, the vast majority would love to be doing what I have the privilege of starting in two weeks time.

I was also struck by how much I’ve learned in recent weeks, with facts and figures, along with modern, lightweight methods of camping, being a new and easy part of my lexicon.  And, perhaps most bizarrely of all, this is happening before I’ve taken a single step in the woods.

I’m a little worried that my enthusiasm has built up an expectation that I may not be able to fulfill.  I know I’m fit, I know I’m well prepared and I know I’m determined to go out and hike my own hike.

The only thing I don’t know is how I’m actually going to react when I’m in my tent and the rain is pouring relentlessly around me while lightning is striking through the mountains.  I don’t know how I’ll react when I wake at 3am to complete silence, suddenly broken by sniffing about two feet from my head just outside my tent.

These are disturbing thoughts, even writing them in the comfort of my own home, yet they are all part of the experience I’m looking forward to.

Sharing my preparations with my friends this morning, as well as doing the same thing a few weeks ago with another group, has strengthened my determination to face these challenges with a new weapon on my side.  I’ll have the best wishes of friends and acquaintances as a further back up to the support of my lovely wife, photoDiane, who hiked with me yesterday, and the rest of my family.  That is quite a back up squad to bring along and I’ll be relying upon that support to carry me through my time in the woods and mountains.

Go Team Mighty Blue!


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