I have spent the last couple of days saying an unofficial goodbye to all the closest people in my life. As of 6am tomorrow morning, I am unofficially no longer a full time resident of Gerogia. I will be heading up North for a few weeks to visit with some of the people I see least and love most. I will be returning a week or so before my official departure date for the Trail, but it may still be almost a month before I return.
The plan, which is only a mere guide line, has me arriving in New Brunswick tomorrow night at my brother and sister-in-law's house. Throughout this week I may do a bit of bouncing back and forth between New Brunswick and Trenton, where Jeremy (Stranger Jeremy #1 who did indeed become my AT Prep sensei) and the rest of the Disney on Ice crew are stationed for the week. From there I will follow Jeremy to Portland, Maine, making sure I get in as much time as I can with him and, presumably, discovering what the word "cold" is truly meant to describe. (I have traded in my holey TOMS made of canvas for some snow appropriate learher boots from the thrift store.) My last week or more in the great white north, I will return to New Brunswick to hang out with Evan and Katelyn as much as I can until it comes time to search for a way to get home.
I am driving my car up, with a trunk full of crap to transfer from my mother's garage to my brother's garage. But I will be leaving it there for my brother to use while I am hiking. My hopes are that by having a second car, my brother may be able to drive out to hike for a few days here and there and not leave Katelyn with no transportation. (Or better yet, convince her to join!) Still, that means I have to find a way home when the time comes. Greyhound, AmTrak, maybe fly? Time will tell.
As for my official beginning for the Appalachian Trail, I am shooting for as early in March as I can. (Yeah, I know "shooting" isn't very solid but I guess that's as strict as it gets for someone who is ok with being without a watch for six months.) If the weather looks good those first days of the month, I will be on my way. That leaves me with about a week to work in my very last visits with friends and family around home.
I will be without a car, but I am sure I will not be without a large amount of love to give and receive from the people around me.