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Appalachian trail leaving day

I'm up until 2:30 a.m. doing God knows what. Seconds after my head hits the pillow my alarm blares and I shake myself awake. My brain is pudding.

Dad is already downstairs. Mom has made coffee. She's left a note directing me to some leftover sandwiches and cookies. This, along with a bag of chow mein noodles, I throw into a plastic bag to serve as my carry-on.

It's pouring rain. The roads to the airport are surprisingly busy.

"When did you get up?" I ask dad.
"Around three," he says. "I woke up and I couldn't fall asleep again. I had that song uptown funk stuck in my head. It kept repeating over and over again."
"I can see you lying awake, your analytical mind stuck in the hopeless task of analysing that song."
"What does it mean to funk you up?"
"Sounds dangerous."
"I guess it's a good thing, get funky, to make you funky?"
"But it happens against your will."
"What's the weather like in Atlanta?"
"Rain."

We arrive at the airport and say goodbye.
"Want to hear a joke about Spirit Airlines?" I ask.
"Sure," dad says.
"Well when you get on the plane you're a body and when you get off you're a spirit."
"That is not a very good joke."
"A Jesuit in the Philippines told it to me."

The people behind the check-in counter watch me as I wrap my hiking bag in plastic trash bags.
"It's to keep the straps from flying out and getting caught," I say.
"Uh huh."

Bag weighs in at 38 pounds, in line with my foot-scale measurements. What the hell did I bring? Already haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes.

The exhaustion and adrenaline render me manically polite. I smile and chitchat with everyone in the TSA. No bombs found in my bag of chow mein. Whew.

I'm dressed in my hiking outfit. I couldn't bring any superfluous clothing because I'd have to either carry it or throw it out. I'm cold.

I eat my sandwiches and cookies. Airport soundtrack is r&b and soul classics. Pretty sure Cat Stevens snuck in a couple time too. Ready for silence of woods.

Why did I get here so early?

Airport PA announcement REALLY wants you to park in the garage.

Bathroom towel dispenser jealously guards its hoard.

I got sunshine on a cloudy day. I guess you'd say, what could make me feel this way?

Flight delayed 40 minutes. Called Survivor Dave to let him know. Nightmares of setting up tent in the rain and the dark.

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