earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


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Why would anyone hike 2,189 miles?

I did it… I watched WILD!

I’m unsure how to sum up my concept of the movie, so I will do my best.  I’d been trying to set up a time to go with friends.  Things just kept getting pushed out and pushed out and suddenly we were looking at a single show time on the last day in a local theater and it meant I HAD to go and I was going solo.wild-cheryl-strayed-canon_ph

As I sat there in the theater watching Cheryl Strayed, aka Reese Witherspoon, scream into the wilderness, I understood what was going through her mind, and I recognized what is in store for me in the months to come.  As the pain of memories overwhelmed her, pushing her to come to terms with herself, with her life, tears ran freely down my cheeks.  The trail changes you – I haven’t gotten there yet but I know.  It’s true, many of the people who head to the trail have a reason.  I know I do.

I’m so grateful for the people I have met in my life.  Those who ask me to look inward at myself, to really question who I am and what I am about.  It is easy to answer the generic questions about why I’m involved in the work I do.  I work with kids because I want to make a difference and I want to learn from them and appreciate their youthful energy and innocence.  We forget as adults how to take pleasure by letting our emotions run wild.  The youthful exuberance over success, the frustration of being ignored by peers, the joy of discovering something new, these things fuel me and remind me to see things through their young eyes.   These are the easy things to answer.  The tough one.  Why am I hiking?   To escape.  To grow.  To gain respect for myself.  To be self reliant.  To challenge myself.  To trust myself.  To live a dream.

I will be challenging myself on so many different levels, Physically, mentally and emotionally.  When most people ask what inspired me to hike the AT I give the safe answer, I tore my ACL a year and a half ago and I wanted a goal to work towards.  Usually this is greeted with gasps of awe and gentle encouragement to be careful and have fun.  It is an easy answer with a strong effect.  Rarely do I tell the other part of “why”.  That I needed to escape.  I’d lost too many things in a short period of time and I needed an out.
1)  The loss of my dear friend and “little big brother,” Paul, to a brain tumor after a year long battle.
2) The end of a serious relationship, one which helped support me when things with Paul were at their worst.  One where I was firmly reminded that it’s okay to ask for help, especially when there are people who want to give it.
3) Lastly, the icing on the cake, the loss of my mobility, the knee injury was a physical blow but also an emotional one.  I found myself in a state of depression, happiest when closed in my room watching movies and snuggling with my dog.

So this is “why” I am hiking the AT.  I want the time the trail will provide to look inside and understand where I am going.  I want to come back from the trail understanding how to move beyond my history without burying it.  I want to share my knowledge and experiences with the youth, so full of their own pure energy.

Got this sleeve for Paul.  Each type of flower represents something about him.  The purple Clematis is ingenuity  and art.

Got this sleeve for Paul. Each type of flower represents something about him. The purple Clematis is ingenuity and art.

I have exposed myself to the world.  There is no more hiding behind simple answers and half truths.  I have a journey ahead of me and it starts now!

Thank you THE HONEST KITCHEN for your sponsorship!!!  Star was very excited to receive yet another package just for her!  (Skiddy Kitty really wanted in on it but he was denied).

The Honest Kitchen package arrived!!! Skiddy wanted some too!

The Honest Kitchen package arrived!!!
Skiddy wanted some too!

 

So far Star is winning the Sponsorship gig!  She has received two sponsorships and I have only gained one…  Thank you “Good to Go” for your support of my journey!
Again MY WISH LIST can be found at Amazon.com under Erin AT Tuveson or follow the link below (P.S. you cannot do these from a mobile device).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/?ie=UTF8&cid=AVGLIVOVHZ5BA

Dehydrated meals made local to me!

Dehydrated meals made local to me!


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Time to settle in for the long haul

Welcome to a NEW YEAR!  There are so many great things to look back on from this past year and so many wonderful things to look forward to in the coming year!

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I’m back in NH and the reality of my next journey is hanging over my head.  With the change of the year I will no longer be able to say “I am going next year,” a simple way of keeping this adventure at arms length.  Don’t get me wrong I am VERY, VERY excited for this journey but I’m also terrified.  I will be walking onto a trail in Georgia with a pack on my back and a dog by my side, with every intention of getting off the trail 2,189 miles later when we reach the summit of Mt. Katadin in Maine.  But as every hiker who has attempted or completed the AT will tell you it is all about “Hike your own hike!”   This journey is yours and your alone.  No one can tell you what to expect from it or what your greatest challenge will be, we are all individuals and the trail will test us as such.

Star met her match during her first hike of the season - took a power nap to make it through

Star met her match during her first hike of the season – took a power nap to make it through

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We each have our own challenges — Hike your own hike and take naps when needed!!!

 

Now for anyone who knows me they will agree that I can be a wee bit difficult with a side of annoyance thrown in.  I like to know what to expect.  When I don’t know, I can be stubborn, cranky and down right miserable to be around.  So how am I going to survive on a trail where I have no control over the weather, my health or the people surrounding me?  I guess I’ll have to adapt, and quickly at that!  Truthfully, there is something about being in nature which removes all the pressure.  There are things I cannot change and therefore there is no reason to allow them to control my reactions – and yes I know this translates into day to day situations as well but somehow society makes it all muddled in my mind.  BUT there are things I can have a sense of control over, maybe more of an influence,  my meals are high up on my list.  I want to eat good food, I don’t mean five star restaurant quality, although that would be nice, I want variation.   When you talk to people who have hiked the AT they list items they’d be happy to never see again: peanut butter, Nutella, oatmeal, tortillas, Ramon, and tuna.  It is hard to find GOOD easy to prepare food, something you can rehydrate in a single pan.  So I am doing the only sensible thing – I’m dehydrating my own meals.

Purple Radishes

Purple Radishes

Dehydrating food is a learning curve, time consuming and when you are finished you have less than what you started with…

I have discovered that if you precook your food the time it takes to rehydrate it is greatly reduced.  For example the black beans I cooked and dehydrated only took 3 minutes in boiling water, with 10 minutes to rest after to rehydrate.  If I can have meals packaged up so all I need to do is put water on to boil, toss a food pack in and be good to go, life would be awesome!!!   I have managed to dehydrate a large number of items, now I need to take them and create a meal or two and try them out.
I have dehydrated:
~ Beans
~ Garlic (made the entire apartment reek)
~ Carrots
~ Kale (powder it for nutritional qualities)
~ Portabella Mushrooms
~ Zucchini
~ Sweet potatoes
~ Tomatoes
~ Cabbage
~ Rice
~ Quinoa (cooked in veggie broth)
~ Beets
~ Radishes
~ Blueberries
~ Banana
~ Apples
~ Honeydew Melon
~ Beef Jerky

a half gallon of garlic being prepared

a half gallon of garlic being prepared

chopped and ready to dry

chopped and ready to dry

Reduced to a Quart of chopped garlic -- the air is so heavy with the garlic it's all I can taste

Reduced to a Quart of chopped garlic — the air is so heavy with the garlic it’s all I can taste

There are some things which are not worth dehydrating yourself. I would never opt to dehydrate blueberries again!!! It is suggested to poke each berry a couple times so the skin will shrink with the rest of the berry and it allows the moisture to escape.  I sat with a toothpick and poked EVERY berry 2-3 times. They came out looking beautiful!!! And I’ll be happy to go buy them at the store all shrunken.  Pineapple and Mango are also worth buying already dried.  The cost of buying them fresh and dehydrating them will most likely be more than what you pay for them already dried.

So here the journey begins, the preparation and hard work before our feet ever hit the trail!!!

feet on the trail

**As I put together recipes I will be sure to post them for any other person who wants to take on the adventure of making their own dehydrated meals.**