Back to the book in a moment, a little background first.
I have never mentioned my bucket list goals on the RWH blog site. Perhaps indirectly, but no specific mention of 'The Plan.' The truth is there are only two must-do activities on the list. Only two, because I simply hope to have a healthy and active life, filled with spontaneity and adventure. I prefer to let life create the bucket list, not the other way around. However, there are two, and they are a meticulously detailed two that I passionately want to complete before time runs out, and Lord willing.
The first began in early 2011 with the WDW Marathon. I caught the bug and decided later that year, after learning of the 50 State Club, that I wanted to complete a marathon in every state. I could run 3 per year and complete the first bucket list entry in the fall of 2027! So far, so good. In two weeks I will complete #7 and be on track. But as most of you already know, this goal is about more than crossing 50 finish lines. It's about meeting others, representing RWH and Run For God and possibly other charity organizations along the way. It's about the discipline and healthy choices necessary to make that happen. It's about sharing the experiences with my family and friends. To date I have had the wonderful privilege of running with my brother, traveling with my wife and children, meeting up with a great friend to run his first marathon, and meeting all kinds people. It truly is about the journey.
Ok, now back to the book and the second bucket list goal. According to my plan, I will complete the 50th state in the fall of 2027. In early 2028, February 8th to be precise, I plan on retiring. Then, in less than 60 days from retirement, I will begin a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I am hopeful that the running will keep me fit and the timing will help to clear my mind, and search my soul, for what is to come post-retirement. It will not be easy, but I believe it will be worth it. To hike almost 2,200 miles, through some of the most beautiful and less traveled paths in God's creation, while meeting others and discovering things about myself that may have taken 60 years to find .... man, what a trip.
So, long story just a bit longer :) As you might imagine, I try to read anything I can get my hands on regarding the AT. And today, I found what is possibly the best one yet. The title is 'Hiking Through : One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail.' I am a 100 pages in and I couldn't put it down. The author, Paul Stutzman, does an incredible job of describing what led him to the trail in his early 60's. Devastated by the loss of his spouse, his thru-hike is both incredibly moving and informational. As one of the endorsements reads, "..... this one is different. It is about accomplishing a goal, but it's also about love, family, friendship, change, discovery, healing and so much more."
|One of the many excellent AT photos from Paul Stutzman's website|
I plan on finishing it over the next few days. I fully expect to be moved and entertained even more by the time I reach the final page. I highly encourage everyone to check this one out. A hiker or not, you will thoroughly enjoy it. And speaking of enjoying it, I would really enjoy having a little company on the trail. If you are available between March and August of 2028, let me know. We'll plan on going for a little walk!