After the accident in 2006, recovery from the surgeries, and tumor diagnosis, I convinced my best friend Brian to use his prized vacation time to drive across the country with me, I needed to clear my head.
We flew from Philadelphia to Los Angeles rented a bright blue Chevy Impala (our bags would not fit in the red Mustang convertible) and drove back across the southwest/southeast over 8 days. We hit the Las Vegas Strip, The Hoover Dam, Tucson AZ, Chloride AZ, El Paso Texas, Juarez Mexico, we stayed two nights in Austin Texas because it was awesome, then off to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Graceland in Memphis, Abingdon VA (because that was as far as we could drive) and then back to Philadelphia PA. It was that trip through Tennessee that got me thinking about the Appalachian Trail. I started buying books and researching but I also had to get back to life and you know earn a wage lest my wife kill me before the tumor did.
So I went back to the working world and left the A.T. as a wistful memory. a few years later I helped another friend move from Arizona to North Carolina and again got to drive through the winding, fog filled, rainy, incredibly steep area between Tennessee and NC and I thought to myself, it would be really cool to hike in these mountains without towing a 2000lb trailer swaying in the 50mph winds. But I was starting a new job in a few weeks and it was not to be.
After the seizures and subsequent time frame diagnosis, my perspective on what I could do and the timing of such doings, vastly changed. Now instead of a slow growing alien in my head I have a ticking time bomb with a three to five year fuse. The main thought in my obviously damaged brain was that I need to go be alone for a while to get away from the "Are you okay" and the "How are you feelings" and that was before anyone but my wife knew what was happening. Once everyone I cared about knew about the diagnosis and the reality of my situation set in, it became obvious that I couldn't sit idle and wait for the symptoms to overtake the meds, I had to do something to not only prove to myself that I was still a functioning human full of life, but to also show others that the diagnosis is not the end of the story it is just the beginning.
I needed to Hike the A.T. and I am going to do it in June of 2012 Southbound from the tippy top of Katahdin to Springer Mountain and I am bringing all of you who care to read about it with me.