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[at-l] What we do

For 22 years I've owned a hardware store in Atlanta, Highland Hardware.
From the beginning we've specialized in selling woodworking hand tools,
gradually evolving away from traditional hardware store fare (plumbing,
electrical, etc.). For many years most of my work time was spent
producing our mail order catalog, which accounts for about half our
business. My then partner/wife handled most of the day-to-day operation
with help of a small group of employees. In 1992 we decided to get
unmarried but remain business partners. In early 1995 she left the
business. The next 5 years were spent organizing a team-based management
system and growing the business. Others relieved me of the catalog production.

Last spring, an intended 10-day AT section hike with my girlfriend
(starting at Amicalola) once underway became, on the spur of the moment,
a thru-hike. We made it to Katahdin on October 13. Needless to say, the
team-based management system was thoroughly tested during my 5-month
absence. The 30 employees harmonized rather well, succeeding beyond
wildest expectations, such that two weeks after my return, I
semi-retired, leaving intact the interim management team.

This was quite fortuitous, for I was encountering severe trail
withdrawal. Consequently I've been back on the AT about seven times
since, mostly short hikes, though my girlfriend (Silver Moon) and I did
rehike the Georgia section from Deep Gap, NC back to Springer in
November, around the time Blood Mountain was on fire (we hitched around
from Neels Gap to Woody Gap, and came back 2 weeks after the fire was
out to rehike that section).

Highlight of the winter was attending the Ruck at Iron Masters in PA,
and getting to chat awhile with Earl Shaffer, who's long been my hero.
Also enjoyed meeting a lot of at-l posters, and was inspired to get my
fully-loaded pack weight down from about 40 to 30 lbs.

This spring finds me longing for the trail again. Today I think I
cleared the last hurdle to starting afresh at Springer, likely the week
of April 10. This time I'll go solo, as Silver Moon doesn't want to
rehike the southern AT. She may join me up north somewhere.

Am now trying to decide whether maybe to do an online journal or not.
Concerned it might become too much of a focus for an introvert like me
(impacting the simplicity of my hike). Anyone out there have experience
with this?

Spur, AT99,00
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