AROUND THE TOWN: I can’t even imagine hiking the Appalachian Trail by myself | Lifestyles

I am not particularly adventuresome and even less so as I approach the sixth decade of life. I think the most thrilling thing I have ever done is white water raft the Snake and Colorado rivers. The Snake River rafting was awesome! We ended up being totally submerged at one point  just seconds before our raft shot straight up out of the water and into the air and out of the rapids. It was really exciting! The Colorado, whether it was the day, the area where we started, or the water, was way calmer than I expected, particularly after such a fun-filled raft ride down the Snake River. So, other than the two rafting adventures, my adventures are pretty tame. I haven’t jumped out an airplane, swam with sharks, or been scuba diving, etc., as many others have. I even eat the same things each place I go.

The “family friend bike ride” we did in the Grand Tetons which resulted in us being charged by a bison… well, it doesn’t count, because it wasn’t supposed to happen. It was not originally slated to be adventuresome but morphed into one of the most hair raising things ever!

Perhaps I read too much. Or maybe my imagination is too imaginative. Regardless, I can’t even fathom hiking the Appalachian Trail as a female by myself. Okay, pure honesty here, I can’t imagine hiking it period: with another person, with a group, or even on a motorized vehicle, if they were allowed. But I understand that is of great interest and joy to others. A bucket list kind of activity.  I am in awe of anyone who just wants to do it regardless of whether they actually do.

Imagine my surprise while taking to a young woman here in town the other day as she revealed she is going to spend 47 days hiking more than 450 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Alone. It will be just her and her gear. Alone. I am like, “You know there are bears and other people, and it gets dark up there, right?”

She knew all of that, of course, and for her, at least, this is part of the excitement. She then proceeds to tell us she did the AP Trail for 1,100 miles last year. Alone: in the dark, with bears and other people. She loved it. She hiked during the day, pitched a tent at night and then rinse and repeat… she did it all over again until she had hiked more than one thousand miles. I am incredibly impressed by this. She talked about mail drops, shelters, dehydrated food, seeing four bears and a man whom she was initially somewhat frightened by, who ended up becoming a dear friend and hiking with her for two weeks. 

I remember being in Alaska’s Denali National Park and one of the tour guides telling us if we chose to go on a hike alone and ran into a grizzly we were to “make ourselves bigger.” If it was a brown bear, we were to make noise. Well, maybe I have those backwards. Anyway, I recall thinking first of all: I am not going hiking by myself; secondly, I would be so frightened, I probably would do the very thing you aren’t supposed to do… which is run.

Anyway, a young woman hiking the AP trail alone is very courageous. It ranks right up there with driving a dually and pulling a horse trailer for me!

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It is back to school time and whether you have decided to go brick and mortar or online, you probably need some school supplies. The state’s annual “Tax Free Weekend” begins Friday at midnight and lasts through midnight Sunday, Aug. 1. This means you can get school supplies, clothing and electronics tax free. The eligible clothing and school supplies must be less than $200 while computers and televisions should cost less than $3,000 to be exempt from sales tax.

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If you want to golf and raise much needed money for local not for profits, you may want to consider playing in the annual United Fund Tournament. It is slated for Saturday, Aug. 15, at Dorchester in Fairfield Glade. This is a four-man scramble with an 8 a.m. start. Lunch is included in the admission price. Contact Holly Neal at the United Fund at 931-484-4082 or by email at





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