Everyone, I've decided since my thru-hike is so far off, I'm going to update you on snippets of my own life on board ships before I delve into my AT musing for the week. I'm trying to post at least once a week, primarily on Sundays as that's when we arrive into port every day. I'll recap my week in a few sentences, here we go. We've had two hurricanes in our path thus far. This cruise is a result of Hurricane Danny, which we had to reroute for. We were looking at detouring again this cruise due to Hurricane Ericka, but she weakened and all systems are go. You'll see the picture in this post of Grand Cayman, just the middle of Danny and Beginning of Ericka. I was having a few light board issues with my programming for our wonderful guest performer, but those all got sorted before show times. Nothing exciting this cruise. Check back next week!
As I finalize my planning, I need what's most obvious of all, a start date. For nothing other than something to put in my calendar and some guidance from Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), April 11th seems as good of a choice as any day. Why am I starting so late? The ATC of course! ATC has guidelines on everything Appalachian trail; from where to sleep or where to poop, ATC has your back, which is why I chose to take their advice.
This year they've compiled a new set of guidelines, more like informational suggestions to help keep the AT a better place. ATC has used it's hiker data to compile the most common start dates and have warned against undergoing start dates on more popular days such as March 1st, the first day of spring, or March 15th. Weekends and holidays are also ill advised. This all a result of the ongoing popularity of the trail and most of all, I think, due to Bill Bryson's new movie adaptation of his book, "A Walk in the Woods". They're preparing us and the trail for an onslaught of new and old hikers. Those maybe who wouldn't have hiked the trail had they not watched Bill's movie.
I'm not sure how I personally feel about the movie. I wasn't too fond of the book. I was hoping for another, "AWOL on the Appalachian Trail" , with more information and trail storytelling, rather than just a comedy, although a well written and funny comedy. I think I feel the same way about Bryson's book as I do ,"Into the Wild", which I'll have to cover in another blog as my gripes with that book and movie are too numerous to explain in one paragraph…. Anyway ,maybe I'll have to give it another read with a more open mind? I'm going to see the movie no doubt, if nothing else but to gauge how Hollywood may have misinterpreted the book or the trail. I hope the new found surge of AT awareness brings positivity and trail magic to us thru hikers. I also hope those inspired by the film prepare themselves fully and know what they're getting into before they start.
With this influx of new hikers, wouldn't I be little concerned about the bubble? I'm still technically in it, I'm on the tail end of it. What in blue blazes is the bubble you may ask? The bubble, is a numerical expression of thru-hikers on the trail. This term describes the point on the trail that carries the most hikers in one area. Pros of being in the bubble are unspoiled, trails by other hikers, more opportunities for trail magic, and town folk that have yet to grow tired of thru-hikers. Cons are obviously the opposite, trampled trails, less family around to hand out trail magic and towns that have grown tired of hikers. There are differing opinions of where one might want to end up in regards to the bubble. Behind, in front, or inside of the bubble are the only three choices we have. I'm not really going to sweat it. I'm just going to hike my own hike and do my thing. Part of the AT I feel is making the best of your situation even if it sucks sometimes. That's the only way you can approach the trail while staying of sound mind and body.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic end of Summer. Tune in next week for some other goodies!