Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Contact Lenses On the Trail

For all the folks out there with non-perfect vision and not enough money or care to go and get lasik or other various forms of vision correction surgery (and all of you that really don't like wearing glasses)...  There's hope to see the trail clearly without dealing with contact hassle. 

I have worn contacts for a while, most of my life.  I am in fact wearing them right now, just like I always am.
I came to a conclusion a few months ago that I don't have to wear the same type of contacts any more, especially for the trail.  I was wearing the standard 2 week disposable contacts.  The type you put in every morning and take out every night.  It was taboo to sleep in them and it was actually briefed and ingrained into us at Basic Military Training that leaving them in for long periods of time could have DEVASTATING EFFECTS.  This can be true, with certain contacts that I don't feel like researching.

I saw an ad while watching the Olympics this year.  Maybe you saw it, too.  Air Optix Night and Day.  Contacts you can wear for 30 days and nights.  30 days!! Even while sleeping!!  I don't have to attempt to clean my hands of imbedded dirt and grime, then put in icy contacts while confined to my sleeping bag.  Just pop 'em in once a month when I'm in town or somewhere I can get legitimately cleaned up.  Sounds like a fantasy.

So, I went in made an appointment with an optometrist, got an exam/fitting ,and put them in.  I've been wearing these contacts for 2 months (2 different pairs), and I must say; they're pretty awesome.  My vision was corrected to 20/10 (I can see those bears from VERY far away).
Note:  When I first started wearing them, I would get some lovely eye buggies in the morning.  That doesn't really happen anymore.

There are a little pricy.  I bought a year supply for $230.  I did not pay for these first two pairs.  The first pair was a trial, and I asked for another pair when I ordered mine from the optometrists because I was going out of town and it would be a bit before they came in.  Two free pairs.  I felt pretty good about that, be sure to do the same if you decide to get some.

If any of you were wondering what on eye you were going to do about your contacts out there, I hope this helps open your options.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Appalachian Trials Motivation Lists

I very recently read Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis, a 2011 thru-hiker.  First of all, if you are even thinking about doing a thru-hike at some point in your life, go ahead and get this book, it more than worth it.

Note: Over 70% of the people who set out to hike the AT, do NOT complete it.

Zach pretty much implored me, the reader, to create a list of motivations that I can look back on to constantly reinforce my pre-hike ideals when times get tough out on the trail.  Sorry, Zach, but I did not do it while you were singing Ace of Base.  I waited until now.

I could just keep them personal, but I've been asked told to publish/share them to be held more accountable.  The whole point of this is to never give up.  Never get so bummed out that I just decide it's to tough and throw in the towel.  Now, I'm already 100% positive that I WILL NOT QUIT.  However, I'm not on the trail yet.  So, why not increase my chances for success by strengthening my resolve?

Here it is:

Jeremy's Appalachian Trials Motivations List

I am hiking the Appalachian Trail because...
- It's the fantasy adventure I've always dreamed of.
- My mountain man skills (or appearance of skills) will grow leaps and bounds.
- I will spend awesome, uninterrupted time with my super cool wife.
- I love seeing where the path leads, and this one is pretty long.
- I love being outdoors, but I'm always stuck inside. Quite the opposite on the AT.
- I will met the most interesting people probably in my entire life.
- I will see, do, and experience things that will live in my memories forever.
- I get to really live life, and not wait for life to live me.
- I've never been to Maine, it's the coolest way to get to Maine.
   (also, many other North Eastern states)
- Also, because, come on... it's just badass.

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will...
- Have enormous pride in myself for such a great accomplishment.
- Be more the person I want to be.
- Be even closer to my wife.
- Have unshakable confidence in tackling very difficult, enduring tasks.
- Have powerful memories that will be great stories to tell and relive.
- Have the coolest photos to decorate our place with.
- Have enough film, photos, and audio recordings to make a documentary.
- Have new lifelong friends.
- Want to do more great adventures.
- Be a mountain man.

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will...
- Tear apart the bonds I've made with myself and my wife.
- Be inconceivably disappointed in myself.
- Wonder if I'll ever be able to complete a long, difficult task.
- Not be the person I want to be.
- Let down all of our family, friends, and followers who have invested so much hope and love in us.
- Lose respect for myself.
- Lose my pizzazz for life.
- Have failed.

- Jeremy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Holy Crap

It's getting real.

We have less than a month left before we are walking away from Springer Mountain heading the 2,185.9 miles to Katahdin.  What?!

We decided to do this three years ago.  It's been 3 years.  It was hard to believe that this time would ever come, and I must admit, I'm getting quite anxious.  Both in a good way and a bad way.  I know that once we step foot onto the trail that life is going to get crazy awesome.  We also have a seemingly ton of stuff to do before we leave!  I'm not just talking about trail prep either.

Since getting out of the Air Force and moving back to Texas, we have been busier than we have been in years.  6 years away from family and friends tends to make you a big target for time consumption.  Somehow, the fact that we don't have jobs now just seems to mean that we "have unlimited free time".  Yes, "free" time.  Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with all of my family and friends, I'm just not used to it (all the time).  I've also committed myself to helping with different projects before the trail.. I was under the impression that when I got out of the military that I would get bored from the lack of stuff to do.  I was wrong, really wrong.

I've helped complete a garage, cut down trees/chop wood, many other various tasks, and I'm still currently working on refurbishing my Mom's house to be sold right after we leave. This is by far the biggest project.

It's been tough stepping back into my old life as a new person.  It will be nice to be out in the wild for a spell.  The short trips have done well to remind me of my new freedoms.  It don't have to ask permission to travel, and I have no one to answer to besides Jacki, and it's more like conspiring anyway.

As for trail preparation, I'm pretty sure we're mostly set to go.  Time will tell, and so will the trail itself.  We'll see what's what in a couple of weeks.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jacki: T-40 days

I've never written a blog post before but I decided it was time since we are starting our great adventure in only 40 days! That and my hubby asked me to, so I thought I'd oblige.
            I guess I just want to say how I'm feeling and that is excited and anxious all wrapped up in one, slightly larger than ever, Jacki-package.  Which brings me to my next topic, weight loss.  I'm specifically looking forward to losing this extra weight I've put on these past few years.  Not so much because I don't like the way I look or am unhappy, it's really more about being healthy and fit again.  I now weigh 160 lbs. and that is the most I've ever weighed in my entire life.  I'm only 25 years old and I'm perfectly able bodied so the way I see it, I have no excuses.  Also, it's starting to adversely effect my health because my doctor told me I have borderline high cholesterol. 
            Don't think for one second though that this hike will be all about weight loss for me, that's just going to be a bonus.   Hiking the A.T. is much more about the adventure, experience, and memories for me.  I won't lie, it's also about the pride I will feel from this huge accomplishment.  I want to hike the entire A.T., in one shot, so I can tell my kids one day what their dad and I did and hopefully it will inspire them to do the same kind of things in their lives.  After all, "Life is about living it, with those you love." -Hitched Hike
            I can't believe the hike is just around the corner.  Jeremy and I have been planning it for 3 years now and it's always been something we'll do in the distant future.  It's rather daunting now that it's the near future.  I really can't wait though.  It's going to be nothing but unknowns for about 6 months and that definitely sounds like quite the adventure to me. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lyle: An Introduction

Dearest human beings,

First, let me say how excited I am to be a part of the Hitched Hike experience. The decision to hike the Appalachian Trail was a long, slow one for me. When Jeremy and Jacki shared their plan to do a thru-hike, my response was "that sounds fun, but I don't think I would ever do that". Then, I would say, "that sounds fun. Maybe one day I'll do it." After over a year of the idea floating around in my head, something inside of me finally snapped and it seemed ridiculous to not do a thru-hike. Now, I feel like hiking from Georgia to Maine is a journey that I have to make. The choice almost feels like it made itself, and I couldn't be more excited.

Despite the excitement, there is a large amount of trepidation. I am a bit intimidated by the idea of walking between 8 and 10 hours a day in everything from the bitter cold to choking heat and snow and rain, sleeping on the ground, carrying everything I need on my back, getting bitten by mosquitoes (and hopefully nothing else), dealing with knees and ankles in constant discomfort, and other various fears (ZOMG BEARS!). But, like everything, I know I must take the bad with the good. I know I'll be gaining, among other things, a sense of freedom that I have yet to know. I look forward to spending 6 months adventuring with my best friends, sleeping in a new place almost every day, meeting people who I otherwise wouldn't, playing guitar around campfires and writing fun hiking songs, having space to think and just BE with myself. I view the thru-hike as a condensed version of life -- there is a lot of unknown, but a huge potential for fun and adventure. Some days will be great, some days will by trying. Some days friends will encourage me to keep going. The next day, I may be encouraging them. I'll meet people I enjoy, and I'll meet people who annoy me (and who are annoyed by me). And, of course, it isn't about the destination. As my friend, Oli, says: The way is the goal.

I expect to learn a lot about myself and my place in the world. For me, this journey will not only be a physical one, but also deeply spiritual. I look forward to having space to clear my mind. I anticipate I'll have a healthy amount of time to practice walking meditation. I expect the experience of being in nature and away from distractions like TV, computers and the internet to give me a new experience of mental clarity.

All in all, I'm super-excited about the thru-hike, and I know it will be a blast. The last 10 months of my life have been the best I've ever had, marked by lots of growth (and growing pains), insights into self-and-others, and a new respect and appreciation for the world, family, friends, and my very existence. Just being alive is a beautiful moment-by-moment experience that I have too often overlooked, ignored, or taken for granted. I look forward to living well and deeply on my trek, touching life and, hopefully, the lives of others as I go.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Coming Months

The days are drawing nearer.  I will be getting out of the Air Force within a couple months, Jacki and I will be moving back to Texas after six years, and Lyle is waiting impatiently for our arrival. Jacki has put in her end of work notice and is counting down her 12 hour nights working as a 911 emergency dispatcher.  Lyle is taking general education classes at a community college, while enthusiastically pursuing enlightenment.  I am fighting a losing battle of senioritis at my job.  I'm still doing what I need to do, but oh man is it difficult to care or put forth the extra effort.  I never lack on customer service though.  I really do care about people, just not worthless policies...

We all think about the trail each day.  It's not just a far away thought of something we're going to do, it's only a few months away now.  We'll even be buying tickets for the one way flight to Atlanta next week.  There's a lot to do before then, and I'm not even talking about planning for the hike (which will be almost non-existent).  There's a lot required to get out of the military, and we have to move all of our stuff half way across the country.  It'll be a lot of work, but it'll be even more exciting for us all.

I think I've come a long way in video production.  I've not only learned many great new filming techniques, but I've grown to appreciate great audio recording and various editing methods.  It can be a lot of hard, creative work, but I really do enjoy doing it.  I always get a lot of appreciation from others as well, which does well to boost my enthusiasm about different projects and especially The Project - Hitched Hike.

Lyle has been working on creating music for the film with a friend in Austin, Mason.  I used a short bit of their work in a video for the Friends of Georgia State Parks video contest.  It made the video. 

It's a beautiful blend of acoustic guitar and violin.  I'm looking forward to hearing their new works in the near future.  Lyle also plans to bring along a small guitar on the trail.  I also have a harmonica that Jacki bought me for our 6 year anniversary.  I'm still working on playing something that doesn't sound like a dying cat.

In case you haven't heard, we're on Facebook!
We will also be making periodic trail Video updates while on the AT.  This is something that I hadn't thought about then it suddenly dawned on me that it is not only possible, but pretty darn easy!  Here's our "first" trail update of me explaining how we'll be updating everyone.

Many things will be drastically changing in our lives within the next few months.  It's hard to think about all of it though when the trail's beckoning call is growing stronger. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Why We Love the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is having a video contest and we thought we would make a video and enter into it.

The voting doesn't start until September 5th, but we wanted to get it in early.


Be sure to "Like" us on Facebook, as we will be doing the vast majority of our updates on our Fan Page.  It will be much easier to upload video and picture to that site while we're on the trail.

Just search for Hitched Hike in Facebook and click like!