Monday, March 31, 2014

Look, there's no time for a thru-hike when you've got a job, a wife, kids, and no money left over in the bank account after getting groceries because your 14-year old son eats more than a bear after hibernation.  So what's an old, family-man hiker to do?  You can't just sit around and let your tent turn to nylon dust.  What you do is you find a few hours of free time a week, locate a few nice local trails where you can get a hike of  3 - 15 miles in at a stretch, and you do a lot of day hiking.  OK, so the tent may turn to dust anyway, but you can still put a solid 5lbs. of essentials and a snack in your pack and hit the trail.  Where I live, there are at least 3 or 4 parks and trail systems within 20 minutes of my house that will let me get in a 5 miler.  I can stretch a couple of the parks for about 12 to 14 miles on a weekend.  If you log your miles in a spreadsheet, at the end of the month it starts to look like something.  Then, if you get really lucky and find a free weekend, you might be able to drive into the Appalachian foot hills about 2 hours south and take on a 25 mile backpack trail - if you hike it slow, maybe 8 miles a day, and set up camp early, you might even get to put that ol' tent up twice on the trip.  You know, now that I'm thinking about it, this might be tougher than pat yourself on the back if you're in your 40's and still log over 60 hiking miles a month while holding down a job, keeping your wife (moderately) happy, making it to the kids' games, cooking dinner, building the shelves for the laundry room, etc, etc...

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