Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Walk Across America: Any Sponsors Out There?

While I'm playing the waiting game with potential employers, I'm wondering if there's a company or cause out there that might sponsor me in exchange for a little ad space on my blog, on a t-shirt, or a cap?
My list of needs is on the previous day's blog, so if anyone could make arrangements for any of that I would be grateful.
I suppose this all comes down to whether I get a job and what kind of job I get, whether temporary or permanent. Part of me would like more time to plan the trip, though if the job search goes into overtime, I may have plenty of time to make inquiries at the local libraries.
More come, hopefully!
Oh, and while he could not sponsor me, I would like to plug a friend's business: Nifty Nic Nacs. Give him some business!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Walk Across America: Preparation Stage?

Well, I'm losing my temporary home as of Friday. I knew it was likely going to be temporary going in, but I'd hoped to be able to have a job before it happened.
This being the case, however, may be just another nudge in the direction I've wanted to go from the start: The Walk Across America.
If it starts, it will start on the east coast of North Carolina (gets out compass??) and will follow major highways, though not, of course Interstates (no pedestrians!).
But before I start, I could use a few things:
1. Cell phone with Internet access. Preferably Verizon, due to its coverage.
2. Foam Mattress.
3. Cash enough to stay in a motel when appropriate campsites can't be found.
4. A water purifier.
5. A writing job while I'm walking would be nice. Doesn't have to pay much but it should be consistent.
6. A banner to put on my pack that says Hiking With Diabetes: Walk Across America, or something to that effect.
7. Business cards to hand out to media.
8. A couple of T-shirts with Hiking with Diabetes on one side, and Walk Across America on the other.
9. Cash for emergencies.
What I'll likely do is try to find temporary jobs at the various towns and cities I come across.
This is by no means set in stone, yet I, who has rarely believed in fate, keep feeling that tug. I don't intend to take as much stuff with me as I did during the Appalachian Trail, just a couple of days worth of food and water. Primarily vegetables, I think.
I intend to get a box at one of the UPS Stores. From what I understand, they forward to other UPS Stores. I'll have to verify that.
And of course, I could use maps. I intend to map it out over the computer from the coast back to Raleigh, then spend a few days in Raleigh, hopefully working, then plotting the next stage.
Wish me luck!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hiking With Diabetes: The Physical Toll

I took a shower today, not for the first time since coming back, but for the first time I actually looked at myself in the mirror.
I mentioned in my blog that certain parts of my body were considerably thinner than before I went on the trip, and looking in the mirror, I realized the differences in my chest.
I can recall looking in the mirror before the trip and feeling disgusted with my entire body, let along the chest. Today, I looked at just the chest area and I am amazed at the differences.
No, it's not perfect, yet, but it's considerably thinner than it was before. Scarily thinner, in fact. If 10 days on the Trail could do that to my body, just imagine what I could do with regular exercise and a proper diet. I hope to find out.
I still have not fully recovered as far as energy goes, though I have not done any truly strenuous work for the last 6 days. I have had much rest, though at times it still does not feel like enough.
I still have numbness in both my hands, and once I get a new job with insurance, I'll go visit my doctor to see if perhaps it's something else that Wake Med did not catch or even think of.
I have to say that my mind does not feel sharp.
Because of all this and the amount of money spent, I have to say that if I had it all to do over again, I would not hike the Trail.
That is not to say that I would not attempt the walk across America. I still would like to attempt it, if I could get the support to complete it. Support for instance, to spend at least one night a week in a motel. Support to make sure I have proper food and water.
Given how hard the actual hiking was on me, I would likely take it far easier than I did. Hopefully, though, walking along a road would be less strenuous than hiking on the Trail, though the pack would still be heavy. There would be mountain ranges to cross as well, but hopefully I would be in better shape when I came to those.
But for now, I'm concentrating on finding gainful employment, perhaps working on my writing, and regaining my strength.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Appalachian Trail: Aftermath

A few notable occurrences since coming back from the Trail:
I spent a morning in the Emergency Room in Wake Med, trying to determine why I had no appetite and why my hands were numb so much. The prognosis: Muscle Fatigue. I was pumped full of fluids and released. I'm not convinced of the diagnosis, because I still have occasional numbness even after 6 days.
I spent a night in a homeless shelter, trying to get in touch with my friend who offered to take me in. One night was enough.
All it took for me to get my appetite back was one salad.
I did lose weight, but I'm not sure how much. My chest is thinner, my legs are muscle wrapped in loose flesh. The belly still protrudes. I was exhausted when my friend took me in, and still there are times when I feel too weak to do much more than rest.
My lower back, which gave me fits when trying to sit inside the tent, is still giving me fits, but the spasms are slowly subsiding.

Here are a few things I learned while on the Trail.
1. Hiking with Diabetes should be under a doctor's care. And for God's sake, if you're not in good condition stay away from the Appalachian Trail. It's not for beginners.
2. Never take water for granted. Always have a backup.
3. Take some fresh food/greens with you. It may not last long, but often it's better for you than prepackaged foods.
4. Don't take a week's worth of food with you. Usually a couple of days is enough.
5. Just when you think you're prepared enough for an extended hike, start over and make sure you have everything you need and you aren't carrying anything you don't need.

I ask myself daily if the expenditures I went through in preparing for this hike were worth it. I ask if giving every penny I had for this trip made it any easier, or just made matters worse.
I have yet to be able to answer that question one way or another.
One thing I will say, is it gave me things to write about that I never had before. It gave me a sense of living that I haven't had before. But as to whether it was worth it, that question may never be answered.

Appalachian Trail: Day 10 - Outta Here

The previous night's rain, in retrospect, was not a fluke. Looking at the forecast in the Sunday paper, it called for rain tonight and the next 2 nights. The tent won't stand it. I can't spend half my nights bailing myself out and avoiding drops. The grand experiment is over.
I broke camp, headed for civilization and called the people who run the shuttle service for a ride to Roanoke.
Sadly, because it was a Sunday, I wound up paying $17 more for the trip from Roanoke to Raleigh than I did the other way around. My monetary resources have been drained.
I got back into Raleigh after an uneventful bus ride. Uneventful, yet still demoralizing. I had failed in my goal of living off the land for 90 days.

Appalachian Trail: Day 9 - A Slight Change of Scenery

The tent has been moved at least 100 feet off the Trail, and seemingly, to a perfect spot. Fairly level, not as bumpy, and the ground was not quite as hard as the previous spot.
I must say, though, I had second thoughts about staying here. I have a friend who offered to take me in as a boarder, and the offer was so tempting.
After all, here I am, unable to eat much at a time, dirty, wet altogether too often. I've been through the worst of it, hiking-wise as long as I stay here. What more is there to accomplish?
Well, there's the original goal - 3 months camping and hiking. Even if I trudge the same paths over and over again, even if I have nothing new to blog about for weeks, the goal was to make me healthier and to give me time to write.
I did take a bit of a hike southbound, for about an hour, with a light pack. I did not run into any other camp sites and the nearest shelter southbound is 9 miles south of here.
For what it's worth, I intend to rewrite the first 5 days of the blog as an article and to see if anyone is willing to pay to publish it.
That said, another worry has come up. It rained harder and longer than ever last night and the tent developed leaks. If this continues into the summer, I fear the tent will not survive near daily thunderstorms that frequent the area.

Appalachian Trail: Day 8 - Craptacular Day

Prepare to be grossed out. You have been warned.
Today I had planned on sending my blog out to a friend via Post Office, and picking up supplies. So much for planning.
As I was preparing to head out, I got an unexpected bowel movement. By unexpected, I mean I had little warning. I didn't even have time to get out of the tent and to a safe distance before this loose bowel movement filled my underwear, and stained my pants.
In retrospect I guess I should have expected it. I had eaten the last 2 days without much going on. The biggest problem, though, was that I only had the one pair of pants. I hobbled back to the tent, took off my boots so I could take off the pants, and then half-naked made my way to the stream in an effort to clean things out. The bank was steep, but I was desperate, and just clad in socks, I splashed into the water, pounding both the underwear and the pants on a rock to try to get them clean.
The water was cold. I did my best to clean myself up, got the crap out of the pants and underwear, dragged myself up the bank in wet, frozen socks, and put the pants and underwear against the tent in an effort to dry it.
After mostly sunny weather the previous days, this was one day where the sun never came out. It made drying next to impossible.
Yet I left the pants to dry and went back inside the tent, put on some clean underwear, and just lay on the sleeping bag , trying to do some more writing.
It rained off and on during part of the day, and since my supplies were starting to wear a bit thin, I decided in the afternoon to put the pants on however they were and make the trek to 220. I did not hit the Post Office. I'm quite certain, though, that I stank up the convenience store. I did manage to get some supplies, most notably toilet paper and more Beanie-Weanies. My appetite was marginally back and I thought they would help.
The trip to 220 was a bit gruesome. What was a convenient downhill portion going south once again proved hard going the other way. But it was not too difficult or too far. What made it easier was a near-empty pack going both ways.
On the way back I met someone who maintains the Trail, who told me in no uncertain terms that I could not camp there. I suppose it was okay if I was just camping overnight before going on with the Trail, but I just could not stay there day after day. I had to be 100 feet off the Trail, or the Law would come. I expect he would have been the person to contact the Law. What I wanted to know was, where was he when I was desperate for water?
Still the Law is the Law and I made plans to move yet again.