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new guy on the block

Hi, all -
   I'm a recent subscriber to this list, and have really been enjoying all
the stories, advice, questions, etc. My first Trail experience, which was
also my first backpacking experience, was three years ago when I was 47.
My teen-age son talked me into going out for a few days with him. We hiked
from Pen Mar to Harper's Ferry. After two days of what seemed like unremit-
ting pain (and rain), I vowed to quit and never make this mistake again.
My son took on some of my pack contents, which lightened my load just enough
to make me resolve to tough it out. By the time I reached Harper's Ferry I
had caught the A.T. bug and was already reviewing what I would do differently
the next time. I soon became a hopeless A.T. junkie, joined the A.T.C., pored
over the magazines, guidebooks and maps, bought the t-shirts, you name it.
Maybe it's my equivalent of the red sports car, I don't know. By now I have
hiked from Boiling Springs to Reed's Gap VA, by doing several days a year
with my son and day hikes with my wife. I wish I could do more, but life is
hectic. I hope someday to complete the whole thing, and am much encouraged
by the stories of geriatric hikers. Last Saturday my wife and I hiked the
few miles from Boiling Springs to the Alec Kennedy Shelter and back. On
Labor Day we had hiked from PA 94 to that shelter and back. Both times we
found trash that had been left behind, which has not been my experience with
A.T. shelters. It's not very close to any roadway, so I'm not sure what gives
with this shelter. Both times I packed out as much as I could carry in my
daypack, but didn't get it all. Oh, well. Keep the mail coming; it's a lot
more fun than most of the rest of my e-mail.

Jack Ray