Sunday, July 15, 2012


Before leaving for the trail, I had a lot of conversations revolving around our hike-but the one that's lingered in my mind the most has, perhaps ironically, been about all the thinking time I'd have out here. What the heck would I think about? (I wondered with my coworker) So much of my world has revolved around teaching for the past few years. I worked intense out of school hours, all of my local friends worked in the district, and Andy spent half the day in the same building I did. So we talked about school a LOT and (inevitably... sadly) school would wind up I'm my dreams. If that's not bad enough, sometimes I even dreamed about being back as a high school student myself. Which leads me to the question I pondered with my coworker: What would I think about when the main objective of each day was just to hike? Well... it's kind of weird, to be honest. For the first week or so, my thoughts were kind of like radio stations. Sometimes I'd even get the kssshh noise as I switched from one thought wave to the next. The same Joshua Radin song played in my head for at least five or six days... only to reemerge again after a few days of peace (at which point I pulled out my iPod). I searched my memory for the most delicious flavor of ice cream I could fathom (Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Bun: "Caramel Ice Cream with Cinnamon Bun Dough & a Cinnamon Streusel Swirl") and then fixated on it so intensely that I passed up ice cream altogether at the next town because they didn't have the right kind. Andy and I have pondered questions like 'why do beavers build dams?', 'what do mosquitoes eat when they're not eating us?', and 'what do frogs do in winter?' One evening we were still hiking when darkness was closing in and all of the AT's horror stories started sloshing around in my head, haunting the growing shadows. But there's also a pretty good bit of time when I'm really not thinking about much of anything but whether going to the right or left of a tree looks easier or if stepping on that rock or that root is less sketchy. But my favorite description of the funny tracks of hiker thoughts is here:
And as a notable aside, I very nearly finished a half gallon of ice cream all by myself (cookie dough, I'm a bit sorry to say). Near the end I was just picking out the chunks of dough, but it shouldn't be too long before I can polish it all off! Yeahhh hiking metabolism! :)


  1. Hi Andy and Jess-
    Glad you got the cookies! And happy to hear all is well with you!
    Uncle Buzz is here and wants to know what your "trail names" are- He says everyone has one!
    Hugs Grandma and Grandpa

  2. Soo cool that you ran into Rayo!! He got a kick out of your message I posted to to pass on to him. Love the AT community

    Be safe, so much adventure lies ahead

    Patti...Rayo's Mom

  3. Hi Avian and Lefthander-
    Uncle Buzz said everybody on the AT had a trail name and we found out yours by asking your mother.
    Glad you are doing so good! Soon you will be conquering Mt. Washington!

    Hugs Grandma and Grandpa K.