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Hi, I thought I'd introduce myself too.  I live in Tempe, AZ where I'm a 
"returning student" in the graduate Creative Writing Program at Arizona 
State University.  I'm the author of an Internet resources article that 
will appear in the July issue of the _ATway News_ that Kathy Bilton 
mentioned.  (And by the way, I think her AT Web page is first rate!)  
I've also written a small essay that appeared in the magazine last fall, 
based on a NJ --> VT hike last summer with my girlfriend Sharon, which was 
one of the most vivid six-week periods of my life.  We're not saving and 
planning for a thru-hike, hopefully next year.  I hope to get some 
feedback from this list on topics like (especially) the cost of a thru-hike.

Hiking in Arizona is about as different from the AT as you can get -- 
three weeks ago we hiked down into the Grand Canyon, and my toenails are 
now a deep, bruised blackish color.  Coming out (9 miles long, 1 mile up, 
85 degree temps) was one of the toughest hikes of my life -- at least on 
the AT the agony, though perhaps steeper, does not drag on for most of 
the day.

Boots do not last as long here either.

I grew up in Pennsylvania (green, leafy, grassy Pennsylvania) and 
besides our hike last summer I have hiked parts of the AT in Pennsylvania 
and the SNP in Virginia.

David Appell