Hiking the AT...and Soap
On September 24, 2016 I will turn 60 and I've decided to celebrate in a big way. I'm going to hike the Virginia portion of the Appalachian Train. There are a couple of reasons for sharing this with you, one is if I say it out loud it makes it more difficult to back out and two, I'm excited and who doesn't love a good adventure story, particularly one that I'm sure is going to be full of comic missteps.
The first comic misstep was deciding to tell my husband who quickly responded with, "You can't do that." I gave him my determined, "Just watch me" look and after a few days, my adventure became our adventure. So I guess that means he's going along. Now the thing is he's kind of done this before, when he was a boy scout, 40 years ago. I mentioned that there have been a few upgrades since then, like we don't need to take 50 pound backpacks and there are actually hotels every 40-50 miles along the route and I intend to visit quite a few of them along the 550 mile trek.
At this point I should mention that I have never done anything like this. I'm an herb growing, soap making part time assistant librarian. I do like to walk. I guess that's a plus. I can get my hands on several books that tell me how to do it and I basically know the difference between good plants and ones we should avoid. That's good right?
Jim tells me there are a few things that I will need to learn how to adapt to, like living with the creatures that were there first and peeing without a seat. Let's start with the critters since that's where the soap comes into it. If there is a biting insect within a twenty mile radius it will find me. Guaranteed, you can bet on it. So we are taking my Deepwoods soap, it repels biting insects. It has actually already been trail tested by my friends Joanne and Susan who took it with them on their last hiking expedition. It is made with eucalyptus infused olive oil (see the picture of my eucalyptus plant) and citronella, mint, lavender and many other bug repelling essential oils. We are not taking any chances here. If you want some check the website store. I made a big batch yesterday. I might even make a spray for easy use on the trail.
The soap I will be using tonight is the Wintergreen. You see, in order to prepare for this big adventure I have been taking little everyday hikes. I'm up to about 5 miles a day, my goal in ten before the end of the summer. The problem, which I hadn't mentioned before, is that I have two bad knees and a bad back, on the upside my shoulder was replaced about fifteen years ago so that should be good to go. I don't hurt while hiking but as soon as I sit down I can feel it so as of tonight I'm going to let the healing foam of my Wintergreen soap settle on my sore joints and see how it does. I'll let you know.
That's enough for starters. I'll let you know how it's going. I wonder if I can make a snake repellent soap? This seems to be a banner year for them...naturally.