This summer I'm planning to finally, 25 years later, finish the AT. My friend Cody with whom I thruhiked in 2010 is trying to come with me, as is Pansy. I have known Pansy online for several years but we haven't met in person. So that will be fun.
It's been a pretty weird year. JD's mom was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and had chemo for it before succumbing five months after her diagnosis. That was hard on everybody involved, and is a blow that has hit her sons hard. Their dad passed years ago, so now they are orphans. At 40 I don't know if orphan is the correct term, but I'm sure it is the right emotional term.
We've had a snowy, very cold winter here. I got to use my snowshoes for the first time since the winter of 2009-2010, when we got several feet of snow. I enjoyed using them very much. Sadly I probably won't get to use them again for several years unless I go elsewhere, which I might. If I could get somebody to go with me (and Just Blue Skies is interested) I think they could make for a fun winter trip.
I was on a panel at a technical conference last year. My Toastmaster's training came through, and I felt fine up there on the stage. I guess I did well enough, because another conference organizer contacted me and asked me to propose talks to give at his conference. I did, and two were accepted, so I guess I'm going to give some talks. The conference is in the beginning of May so I have some time to write and practice the talks. I'll need to prepare slide decks, though. I have only done that twice so I expect it will still be a frustrating experience to create them.
I was lucky enough to go on several fun backpacking trips last year following my NY/NJ hike. DeLee and I headed up to Vermont to hike. She had never been there before! It was fun introducing her to New England, and revisiting some beautiful trail. In the fall, Just Blue Skies joined us for a two night trip on the AT in Pennsylvania. The rocks were less annoying this time around. It seems that you can get used to them.
I've been back and forth with doctors for a lot of the last year. I went to get shots in my neck as a bulging disk had been making my arm hurt all the time. They put me on a nerve pain drug during the course of treatment, and the drug caused MS-like symptoms. That was a disturbing time. I kept getting worse, with numbness and tingling all over my body, vertigo, and falling down. After they took me back off the drug at the end of the treatment, the symptoms decreased quickly. Then I had to get off the drug the neurologist prescribed to treat MS, and THAT WAS AWFUL. Yeesh. The withdrawal was worse than the symptoms.
So, yeah. Weird year. Glad it's over, and I'm hoping the rest of 2014 is kind of gentle and boring.