A friend read this blog, and his comments began with, “I guess you approached so-and-so….I guess you planned xyz…” Of course, I hadn’t done any of it. The months of angst trying to decide if I should do this didn’t include much practical planning or logistical groundwork, mostly just internal buzzing and fretting. Besides, there are problems with too much advance scouting. Little things can get blown out of proportion. Waiting until everything is perfectly set is often just another way of avoiding the whole thing altogether. And at this stage, the project is so overwhelming and my knowledge so limited, it’s hard to determine just what to plan when and where.
Sometimes the best approach is just to begin. Start slow and small in conjunction with other functions – like the DLIA Conference. I had a hotel room, access to a car shuttle buddy, and set a modest goal of three little trails. The next opportunity comes in February, when I’ll be in the mountains for the Lichens course at GSM Institute. I’ll arrange to stay in Townsend for a few nights and do some trails in the Tremont area. Every time out I’ll learn more of what works and what doesn’t. Friends have given me lots of good advice and suggestions already. This network will grow, bringing me in contact with other ideas, people, and opportunities I never could have accessed in advance. Sometimes you just have to set out and trust that things will come together – as they almost invariably do – through work and a little serendipity.
Now for someone who’s never camped, never backpacked, and never hiked more than 10 miles at a stretch, I may need more than a little serendipity to get through this adventure!! But I’m excited about it and looking forward to the next hike, and you can’t “plan” that.