Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flip Flop and Try

I anticipated the universe would intrude upon my "ideal" thru hike in some manner, and as expected I am challenged with conforming my ideal with reality.  This is not a bad thing, as I will still traverse the same number of miles and see the same scenery and pass the same white blaze markers of the trail.  It just won't be in the order, direction, or time frame I had originally planned.  Unless I figure out how to bend space-time to my will, this involves
changing my northbound (aka NOBO) thru hike into a "flip flop" hike.

For those who are not familiar with the vernacular of AT hiking, the definition of a flip flop is a thru hike that begins at one terminus (in my case Springer Mt. in GA) and at some point during the hike (say midway for the sake of our example), one jumps to the other terminus (Mt. Katahdin in ME) and proceeds hiking back to the point at which the flip of the flop was made.  This is not to be confused with a yo-yo.  This much rarer and harder to explain phenomenon finds a thru hiker, upon reaching the end of their hike, turning around to hike all the way back to where they started (that's 4400 miles folks).

Under the circumstances, a flip flop will actually have more upsides than down.  Not only will it save on transportation costs by combining two trips into one, but I do not have to worry about racing to Katahdin to summit before it is closed for the season, I can continue using the same warm weather gear later into the season thus keeping my pack lighter, and from what I've been told I will miss the buggier season up north.  I will also get to meet up with any folks that I may have befriended on the northbound section as I  pass them in my southerly hike.

On the down side, my hike is slightly interrupted, , I don't get to see the fall foliage as I would heading north, and I don't get to strike that triumphant photo ready pose at Mt. Katahdin.  The nice thing is, I can always pull a Pulp Fiction and rearrange how I tell the story later.  It will be my story after all, and I can live with that.

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