Ninety days from today, on March 18, 2009, I should be standing under
the arch in Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia, starting my hike up
the 8.8 mile long Approach Trail to the summit of Springer Mountain
and the southern terminus of the Appalachian trail.

I don't think this is any kind of surprise to the few people who read
my blog. I think I've talked about my plans to thru-hike the AT enough
that everyone knows. But just in case I'm wrong, take this as an
official announcement: My plans for 2009 include an attempt at a
thru-hike of the Appalachian trail. This is something I have thought
of doing ever since I first learned about the AT back in my Boy Scout
days, and for the first time in my life it is something that I can
actually do. We have no mortgage, no car loans, no loans of any kind.
Anju is off on her own and I am no longer a day-to-day, hands-on
parent. Jodi earns a good living, and while it is certainly not
trivial to walk away from 6+ months of salary, neither is it

So come March of 2009, I will be resigning my current position and
heading for Georgia. If all goes according to plan I will reach Maine,
some 2,176 miles later, sometime in September or October. That is,
however, a big if. Only about 20% of the people who start a thru-hike
actually complete it. People drop out for many reasons; they get
injured, they run out of money, they get bored or discouraged by bad
weather. Sometimes a crisis at home brings them off the trail. That
20% is a sobering statistic. It takes a lot to put your everyday life
on hold to take on this attempt, and it sure would be a shame to find
myself off the trail and back home soon after I left.

Ninety days seems like a long time to wait to start this adventure,
but at the same time it seems like it is just around the corner, and I
have lots left to do before I leave. I won't bore you with those
details now, but I may write more about that later.

If you are reading this and you happen to be one of my co-workers at
Homesite, please keep this under your hat. Thanks!

Allen F. Freeman