I received a phone call at 7:15 AM this morning from Christian. He was preparing for his first day of hiking with some folks he met at the hostel where he stayed last night. He knew he would most likely not be able to talk to me or plug in his phone for at least 10 days and wanted me to know he loved me and was excited to truly begin his journey.
At the top of Springer Mountain in Georgia lies a bronze plaque that marks the beginning of the hike for “Northbounders” like Christian (people hiking from Georgia to Maine). It also marks the end of the hike for those who are “Southbounders” (people who begin their Appalachian Trail trek in Maine). He informed me that although the hostel staff offered to drive everyone , many had opted to hike the 8.6 miles to the plaque from the bottom of the mountain. Of course my husband loves a challenge so he would be among them. “If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna go all the way.” he laughed.
Later this evening he updated his GPS coordinates on his SPOT. The SPOT is an amazing little device I insisted that he take on the trail for his safety (and let’s be real…for my peace of mind, especially since he plans to hike a lot of it by himself). It is battery operated and allows him to push a few buttons and email me his coordinates as well as a message. For example, if he decides to set up camp for a few days and enjoy the scenery he can send a pre-programmed message making me aware of it. This way, if I notice his GPS coordinates do not change for a few days, I have an explanation.
Another feature of the SPOT is an Emergency Response button that will alert Rangers and Emergency Staff if he gets into any trouble on the trail. With the push of a button his distress signal would broadcast with the exact coordinates of his location. Many lives have been saved because of this little device and it makes me feel better knowing he has one with him. Thanks to donations from our friends, we were able to purchase it just last week.
Tonight, I received the following photograph from him via text message:
His lifelong dream has begun. Thank you for being a part of it. Subscribe to this blog for regular updates.
Today’s donation total rose to $1,725. We still need $3,275. Thank you to those who have supported us. Please mail donations to: Christian Torp, P.O. Box 861, Lexington, Ky. 40588.