It's been a while since I posted, and I think I'll just bring things up to date on what is going on in my life now.
First of all, the beginning of my road trip is less than three weeks away, and a great deal of my thought and time and energy is spent toward planning it. This morning I bought Gatorate powder and coffee filters at the store, enough to get me through to Seattle, at least. Yesterday I spent a couple hours working out a budget. For the past few weeks I've felt really nervous about the cost of this trip, and I have cut back on my budget really hard and have felt anxious about not having enough money. But then 2 things occurred which have lessened my fears: my students' parents gave me a generous gift of BP gas cards. And then when I laid out all the expected expenditures in my budget, I decided I won't run out of money. Which is good, because of course room for extra unexpected expenses is a good idea. I also read a bit about Utah on Sunday and looked at spectacular pictures. On Friday Angie and I planned our portion together in greater detail, calculating driving distances on mapquest.com (which, I'm sorry to say, Google, does a better job of mapping general locations without a given address). We reserved campsites in the Grand Canyon and at Sequoia NP on July 4th. I've been putting all the details on a Google-calendar which can be viewed by people who would like to view it. I can make you a friend who sees it if you want to. (And I'm happy to say, Google, that I do love the calendar.)
Besides my trip, I've been outdoors a lot. On Saturday a few of us climbed to the highest point in Georgia. It's called Brasstown Bald and it's a few hours north of here. The trip up actually took more like three hours because of traffic, a house on the road, and then winding roads to the actual parking lot. Five of us started looking for the trail head, wandering around in the wilderness until we realized that the trail started on the other side of the street. Some people had just came down and they warned us it was a crazy-difficult hike. The first mile and a half was strenuous, as the guide said. Actually it was gruelling. Two of our party decided they didn't want to continue, and we ended up seeing it was Providence that made them turn around and drive the car up to the top parking lot, .5 miles from the tippy-top. Us three remaining crazy girls continued on the 5.5 miles to meet them. The first part was gruelling, but when we reached the first peak it was beautiful, and I decided, all worth it. Courney posted some pictures. There were butterflies everywhere, at one point seeming to swarm around. We also saw caterpillars, a garter snake, a lizard and a snail, to name the noteworthy. Mountain laurel and rhododendron populated the top and the view was lovely. The trail flattened out for a while, but, as the guide said, there were two more peaks to be hiked before we reached the end of this trail. It was a bit of a roller coaster hike, with a few spots where we had to climb on hands and knees over muddy rocks. Then, the last .5 mile up to the highest point was paved, but steep. We got to the top huffing and puffing. All in all, I'm sure we hiked about 7 miles, and seriously, it was mostly up hill.
But all this is good training for my trip.
Then I spent last night outside in my tent, testing it out. It works good. But the cars and the lights and the dogs and even the resident bunny rabbit were too loud for me to get much sleep.
Today I'm going rafting, back in North Georgia near Brasstown Bald. It should be a relaxing three-hour float, in contrast to the steep three+-hour hike.