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Appalachian Trail: An inauspicious beginning

It's two a.m. Something I ate gave me food poisoning. I've uncurled myself enough to write this in the hopes it will serve as a distraction. The pain in my stomach is immense. Tonight I will pray to the toilet.

Somehow, knowing I was to depart the 3rd of May, I convinced myself that was Wednesday instead of Tuesday. I've been looking at a calendar every day and still my brain was convinced of this lie. The loss of tonight to illness, and the loss of sleep, and the loss of the imaginary day are sores of worry. Still, the pain in my stomach makes it hard to think of anything else.

I've been sick before, and injured, many times, in lots of places, in ways that made think long and hard about mortality, even if there wasn't any real threat of shedding this mortal coil just yet. It's something that must come across in my writing, the attention to the visceral. (I can feel my own viscera right now, writhing around like snakes inside of me.) It always bugged me in shows and things I would read, when people would get seriously hurt and the next scene they're limping along, gritting their teeth and wincing, but still able to perform. I never thought they were capturing just how debilitating, how all-controlling physical pain can be. Though I guess I'm still able to write these words.

The plan for Tuesday and the start of my great Appalachian Trail Debacle:

1. Wake at 4:00 a.m. Dad is kindly driving me to PHL.
2. Spirit airlines flight from Philly to Atlanta at 6:30. The ticket was about $30 and $30 to check my bag. If they lose it I'm SOL.
3. Arrive in Atlanta 9:00 a.m. Take the train (MARTA) from the airport to the furthest station north, North Springs. ETA 10:30 a.m.
4. I've hired Survivor Dave to drive me to the Amicolola Falls and the head of the AT approach trail. Should arrive there around 12:00 p.m. Weather forecast is light rain until the afternoon.
5. Hike 8 miles to the Black Gap Shelter. Pitch tent. Fetch water. Experience intense wave of regret. Regret expected to last days until routine of forest takes hold.

I'm worried if I don't sleep tonight I'll do something stupid. Already wasn't planning on sleeping the night before the flight. So many things to do beforehand, tasks swimming in and out of my head.

It's not the end of the world.

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