ROW80 Sunday Check-In: Hanging On

Well, I’m still here. I had a cold this week that kind of knocked me off-balance for a couple of days. I probably didn’t need to use it as an excuse not to write, but I did.

I wrote on my project three times this week. Technically, that puts me below my “4 days minimum,” but since I also wrote and published a 1,600-word blog post (that was featured—briefly—on Freshly Pressed…toot, toot (that’s me tooting my own horn)), I’m going to count this week as a “4.”

This week’s writing focus has been on Chapter 4 of The Pen and the Bell, entitled, “Opening the Senses.” The idea of the exercises is to write with the intention of using details from each of the five senses. I’ve written about a couple of memories using this focus. It’s unclear if the sensory vividness I recall is actually what I recorded in my memory in the moment or if I’ve made it up in the process of writing the memories down, but it’s been pretty cool nonetheless, and kind of intense.

The kids and I took the week off from homeschooling, which kind of left things in disarray, too. Then it’s taken me a while to recover from removing a tick from my daughter’s scalp first thing Friday morning. The image of that little creature partially embedded in the skin of her scalp with its legs kicking just doesn’t seem to fade. Nor does the feeling that something is crawling on me.

Ticks are my second-biggest fear (after hypothermia and before blisters) about our plan to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in ten years. Tick checks are tough enough at home where we can strip down and search for the little buggers in ample light and then wash our hair as soon as we’re home from a hike to help ensure none are hiding there. Tick checks on the trail, I’d imagine, would be even more difficult. I’m not quite ready to scrap the thru-hike idea yet, though. The ticks can’t scare me off quite that easily.

5 Replies to “ROW80 Sunday Check-In: Hanging On”

  1. I hope the cold goes away (it’s horrible isn’t it,) and that you feel better soon.
    Have a good week. x


  2. Ticks are nasty beasts.

    You might enjoy this post about hiking the Appalachian Trail:

    I wrote it after we went to a presentation by a couple who retired in 2007 and completed the trail in 178 days in 2009 ~ that included 7 “zero days” (with no hiking). They stayed in shelters 48 nights, in tents 64 nights, in hotels 44 nights, in hostels 20 nights, and in houses twice.

    Of the first 100 days on the trail . . . 50 were rainy. The most troublesome feeling was “being so dirty all the time.”

    The idea of trekking the distance from start to finish holds little appeal for me. We have hiked portions of the AT in NJ, PA, NC, VA, and TN. It’s gorgeous . . . in places. Other bits are mucky and muddy and messy and you can’t see the vistas for the trees.


    1. Thanks for the link. In the comments, you quoted a 25% success rate for northbounders. I can’t locate the numbers at this moment, but the southbound success rate is significantly higher than the northbound one (and the numbers of hikers starting is much lower…I think it was ~300-ish southbounders starting at Katahdin in 2000). My daughter wants to hike it southbound. We’re hoping to gradually train so that in ten years (when my youngest is 13), we’ll be ready to thru-hike…or will have decided long-distance hiking is not for us.


      1. From what we learned, I expect that the southbound success rate is higher because it’s only attempted by more serious hikers.

        Starting in the south means that you can start earlier in the year without fear of frostbite. People starting in the north either have to start later or pack for WINTER conditions.

        But you have 10 years to “read all about it.” Have fun planning.


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