Thursday, May 27, 2010

Regarding safety

I'm not used to being afraid, certainly not of people. I can talk to anyone, anytime (as you all can testify), but I guess all the scary "woman alone" stories were getting to me yesterday. I've never had as nervous and distrusting a day. It felt awful.

But then I ran into Alex and Nicole in the Chicago Amtrak station, two absurdly cute newlyweds returning from their honeymoon. Nicole showed me her ring, in between their passionate smooching and their effusive "I love you" mantras. It was rather unbelievable. Their cuteness was absurd. According to Alex, Nicole has "blessed genetics" and according to Nicole, she has a blushing problem.

I felt a lot better.

Plus, then I talked to Becca, my amazing, kick ass, outrageously cool, soul friend, who has taught young girls self-defense. I asked for some general instructions. Here's what I learned/remembered:
#1 I will listen to my gut. It is smarter than me.
#2 I will walk like a panther.
#3 I will put distance in between me and questionable people at the risk of being cold.
#4 I will not smile and convince myself everything's ok, when it is not.
#5 I will raise my voice if need be. The closer the creeper, the louder I'll be.
#6 I will make me a strong, protective shell.

Last night on the train, in my sleeping bag, I felt like I was in a giant, rocking cradle. I watched an orange moon rise, and woke up later to see it dropping behind the pine tree line. Tonight, my first night camping alone on the AT, the moon will be full. I'm taking this as a good omen; I'll have the moon's light as my nitelite tonight.

I am still in disbelief, but I am here, and now I'm off!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mailing instructions

A solo woman thru hiker from last year told me I will absolutely need letters and love from friends and family on the trail. (A thru hiker is someone who walks the whole shebang in one year, which I may or may not become.) She said that because thru hiking is a largely solitary experience, the reminders of love from far away are positively divine.

If you want to mail me,
before June 5:
address it to

Julia Tyler
General Delivery
Duncannon, PA
ATTN: Please Hold for AT Thru-Hiker ETA June 5

before June 12:
(same except)
Port Clinton, PA
ETA June 12

I'm not sure how many other stops I'll have yet, but I'll update when I do know.

Much love,

Finally made a blog

I'm guessing it's difficult for everybody to begin a blog. What do you want to know?

I am leaving in 2 days and will begin hiking north from Harper's Ferry, WV in 3.
I am past the romance phase, now I am only anxious to begin.
I am sick of camping gear and map planning.
I can't decide which books to bring.
I don't want to hear about any more abductions, hypothermia cases, bears, creepy men, etc. documented on the A.T.
I did like Bill Bryson's book though.
I am aware that my hopes for this hike are too high.
The longer I am home here with people I love, the lonelier I feel about these coming months.
I am armed with pepper spray, a pocket knife, and Rainer Maria Rilke.