Update: Turns out that I probably don't have some sort of strange cancer after all. Yesterday's excessive urine production seems to have simply been a statistical outlier. Today, even with the schedule disruption of having to proctor a standardized test, I was able to keep the kidneys and bladder happy with the regularly scheduled pit stops.
My Second Point: I had planned on using January 1 as my first day of a break from blogging. I don't plan on quitting the blog, but after almost 14 months of blogging daily, I'm starting to think that not making myself post when I don't feel inspired is a good idea. My only problem is that if I do post on Jan. 1, it will be my 500th post. I think I'd rather that milestone be connected to the fairly impressive accomplishment of completing an entire year of consecutive posts rather than floating off in space by itself. I'll try to think of something good for the New Year's Day post to keep you entertained when those of you with lives get back to your computers on Jan. 2.
And Now for the Big Ramble: Have I ever mentioned that I have a bit of an obsessive personality? I don't really take passive interest in things. I either don't really care, or I care to the point of being a little creepy. It started in middle school with chickens and other domesticated fowl. In college, after a few years without a flock, I transferred my obsessive interest into beer, an obsession that is just now starting to wane to a more natural level. I can actually walk into a beer store now and not feel compelled to buy every beer I haven't tried and refuse to buy any beer I've had before. I still have the encyclopedic knowledge of beer and chickens, though.
I fear my next obsessive interest is going to be backpacking. I've only gone on two trips, both with Mickey. The first one was a pretty damn good trip for a beginner who wasn't too out of shape to get hooked. There was the fun of having to ford the river multiple times and the trail wasn't too hilly for a guy of only reasonable fitness to carry a heavy pack without getting too tired. The second trip last week was the opposite. The trail was much more vertical than the Conasauga River Trail; I ended up hurting my knee and my foot on the way back out, which slowed me down even more than my inability to make it up some of those hills by the end of the second day. By the time we hit the flat stretch about a mile from the trail head, I was honestly starting to feel a little miserable, and yet by the next day I was even more hooked than I had been before. I went out three days later thinking my knee was rested enough and ended up just making it worse by hiking another 10 miles in a day in mountainous terrain, and the first thing I did when I got home was to start planning my next backpacking trip for December.
Of course, this should be a much more pleasant trip. It'll be in northern Florida. I'm planning on hiking a stretch of the Florida Trail that passes through the Ocala National Forest and the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area. I'm not thinking hilly terrain will be a problem for me this time, meaning neither will my knees. I am looking forward to the scenery though. The native forests there are drastically different looking than the hemlock and deciduous forests of the north Georgia Mountains I've been hiking through. Actually, I imagine it'll be a lot like the wandering through the woods surrounding my parents' house when I was a kid, except a lot more of it. The average temperatures for that time of year in that part of Florida is a high of 70 and a low of 40+, although they dropped below freezing earlier this week.
The weird thing is that I've spent most of my free moments at work researching the trail and the Florida Trail in general. I was sending an e-mail to Mickey to see if he was interested and I think I included at least five links in that e-mail because I'd spent at least three hours surfing the net before even thinking to see if he'd be interested. I doubt he is. Knoxville is a long way from Florida and I'm not sure that there's any ego draw in it this time as on flat ground he's not able seem any more impressive than me. I don't even get tired walking fast on the flat stretches of trail.
As part of my wasting of time with my obsessive interest in something I've done twice, I discovered a story about two ladies (one 69 and one 71) who recently through-hiked the entire 1,400-mile Florida Trail. This was five months after one of the ladies had both knees surgically replaced. Impressive until you realize that they had through=hiked the entire Appalachian Trail not long before that. It really puts you to shame when you realize that people who have qualified for senior citizen discounts for more than a decade can do something you may not physically be able to do.
Another couple of interesting tidbits that arose from that article: There is apparently some dude who lives in a van and just drives around the eight official National Scenic Trails looking for ways to help through hikers. Personally, that sounds a little creepy until you realize that he's actually helping people and not raping and murdering them. It'd be less creepy if he weren't driving around in a van. Sedans are so much less sinister. You hear about a dude in a van and you just assume he's a serial killer.
Finding out about the trail angel who lives in the van led to the discovery of Nimblewill Nomad, who is apparently quite the famous distance hiker. He's done the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking (the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest trails) as well as connecting several trails to hike from the Florida Keys to Montreal, Canada. The dude's a total badass.
And to finish out today's ramble of a post, here's video of ole Nimblewill himself.
Oh, yeah, and he apparently finished the Pacific Crest Trail to complete the Triple Crown after he turned 70. The guy's awesome. He's actually got a 9-part video of some of his hiking on Youtube, so check that out if you're interested. Part one is the last of the ones on his page and they work their way in reverse order. I've actually added his book, Ten Million Steps, to my Amazon wish list.