My personal bucket list included hiking on the Appalachian Trail. (Check out that PAST TENSE, WOOOOO) I've always been drawn to doing this but never felt I was prepared to do it. I discovered a program based in Rome, GA called "Higher Ground" (@hghrgrnd) and realized I had no more excuses... Higher Ground provides all of the necessary equipment, or whatever you don't have, AND they guide you through this journey. I reached out to Higher Ground and decided I wanted to go on a ladies only hike, with strangers. Nothing like meeting new peeps while doing something stupid hard.
The date was set, the lists checked, the plans made, and for some attending, flights booked! These ladies meant business! Now, is it just me, or does it feel like a Mama can hardly leave for a few days without the wheels falling off at home? Here I was, getting ready to go off into the wild blue yonder with no cell service. The day I drove to our trail -head, I spent on the phone with all of the wheels that make the Tucker house roll. Wheel #1 wrecked his motorcycle, that he wasn't supposed to be riding, and needed stitches. Seriously. Wheel #2 wasn't home but got the message about the stitches and headed for the homestead. We live in the Boonies so I feel like I can officially call it the "homestead" or even better the "old homeplace." I guess it becomes the "old homeplace" after everyone passes on to Heaven, so I better stick with "Homestead" for now. The Grand Wheels #3 and #4 were headed to watch a soccer game that Wheels #1 and #2 weren't going to make because of the stitches incident. Everyone called the Grand Wheels and couldn't get any of them on the phone, which is not typical. At least the Grand Wheels usually return the calls, but not this day, nope, not for hours. We didn't know if they were in trouble or had caused trouble, but needless to say, it was a full on scramble to locate the Grand Wheels. Finally, we connected, this particular crisis was averted.
I knew this was going to be a doozy of an experience because the nasty evil one was climbing on my adventure like ticks on a wild hog. He got a good tongue lashing because I serve a mighty God and called on Him to handle this. Handle it He did and all arrived safe and sound to the meeting place for our epic backpacking trip.
Now, I had no idea what I was in for. That was part of the excitement and the experience. I have hiked, but NOT like this. We had massive, but manageable, packs, and a crew full of what I found out where amazing women, all with their own stories. I don't want to give it all away. If you ever have thought about doing something like this, you NEED to. I don't care how old you are, or how much experience you have. We met all sorts of "thru hikers" on the AT. Many were college age, many were over 60. They were all cool. Even I felt cool just being out there. The terrain was a booger, but what a feeling of accomplishment when we reached the top!
Salty Britches has fortunately built a good reputation for preventing chafing and blisters based on many people doing really extraordinarily hard things. I've done a few hard things, but this was going to be a straight up test for my beloved Salty B. I covered every potential pain point I thought I may have. I can proudly say, Salty Britches passed this test with flying colors. I applied on my feet before every hike and new day. I applied near my workout bra and didn't get any chafing. The temperature was ever changing. We were super hot and super cold, sometimes on the same day. I used it on my arms that would swipe my pack, on my shoulders that carried the pack, on my legs, you name it. It worked. It worked well. I am so proud that chafing and blisters weren't my problem.
This adventure will always be one of my life highlights. I loved it that much. Nature has supernatural healing abilities. Meeting new people brings me great joy. Sharing a hard adventure with one of my best friends will go in the tank so when we are 80 we can revisit the memories. There is no doubt in my heart or mind that God is real. He was ever present and I felt Him so closely in those woods, looking into the big sky, and even the clear creek water. Seek Him. He will come to you if you ask.
Just GO on the adventure. Live. The wheels may fall off temporarily at home, but it falls into place eventually. Sometimes you need to put air in your own wheel so the ride is a little smoother when you return. Go pump up your tires. You won't regret it. Don't forget to coat your "wheels" in Salty Britches, either, it will all be smooth rollin' for ya.