When did this A.T. notion get hatched? Not sure I know the answer to this question. It’s easy for some, I’m sure to think, “oh this is a reaction to Aaron, his 1st born, dying last July. But I was planning to go on this trip two summers ago. We were even going to do part of the trail, I hoped, together. but work got in the way. However it is true I am hoping for a cleansing, a purging of sorts as I push myself, as I find myself alone, as I clear my head and body of most everything.
I remember first thinking about the AT after my first deployment. The SEALs issued me some really cool gear when I deployed to Afghanistan with them. And there was a The North Face outlet out there, (yea, crazy right?) where I bought Lori a backpack. So when I got back to good ole Duncannon, PA, our home town which happens to be in the middle of the trail, we backpacked for a few days and I met with a thru hiker who put the idea into my head. We finally got to use the 2 man tent we bought before we had kids, 20 years before. We only used it once when our active 1 year old and Irish Setter had better ideas and another time when I slept in the back yard with our 4 year old daughter before we moved to Indiana. . Maybe this quest was started when I was given the job as a 22 year old to take a group of kids backpacking across the western states. I didn’t even know how to put a pack on. Thank goodness for my wife who knew what to do, and kept me on the right path. Or maybe it was before that. I remember camping with my church group as a six grader, I got up early one morning came out of the tent and found a deer in our site, just staring at me. I was probably hooked at that point.
Could it have been the California Trip? That momentous occasion when 5 Davidson kids and their parents got into the 62 Chevy wagon and went camping for the 1st and only time. Camping across the entire country for a month. My mother got her driver’s license the day before. The rented apache camper in tow that one time separated from the hitch and car. We had a bat inside of that camper. We even had a near miss with a tornado inside that little camper. Maybe I fell in love with the idea that I could put all of my clothes inside of a Girl Scout cookie box (the box that held all the individual boxes) and all of my money in side a metal band aid box. All I needed was a was a cowboy hat I still have the Coleman stove and lantern from that epic journey. It seems that all of life can be traced back to the California trip.
Humm, wonder where that cowboy hat got to?