12 More Days

Twelve more days until we pack up and head South. Usually heading south means warm weather and a release from Maine’s harsh winter grip. But with the current weather conditions in Dawsonville, GA, Mother nature has not been to kind. Lots of snow and frigid temps have been hampering many AT hikers. I am just so thankful I changed my start date from February 9th to March 7th. Lots of exciting things have taken place in the last two weeks. I found a wonderful hiking partner. Two actually, one 2-legged and one 4-legged. They will be nameless at this time until I know if he wants that info shared. We met at LLBean’s Bangor store where I work. He came in looking for a rain jacket. It was an instant bond. We have both found that people who have a desire to hike the AT have a different mind set than the average Joe. We both bring different strengths to the adventure and with the help and support of our spouses I feel this hike will be a grand experience full of wonder surprises, challenging and rewarding. Yesterday we had a send-off party at my house. It was so nice to have a house filled with family and friends who were extending well wishes and blessings. It gave me a chance to show-off my new hiking partners and answer questions. And thinking of questions, The number 1 question that most everyone has asked is, “Are you taking a weapon?” The second question is, “aren’t you afraid?” The only thing I am afraid of are ticks and bears. Oh, and heights, so that should be interesting on some sections of the trail. Today I visited my dad for a few minutes like I try to do daily and with all seriousness he told me, “I want you to know that with my current health and age if something should happen to me I don’t want you to quit hiking. I want you to finish. I am so proud of you and I know you can do it.” How wonder is that. Thanks Dad. Well, that’s it for tonight. Until next time…

Happy Hiking.

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.