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Re: hi !

Hi Tom, 
I once lived in your area for a number of years and my wife is from Clinton Ms.
Responding to this also gives me a chance to introduce myself. I first hiked
on the AT in 1977, you know one of those last minute spring break things with
borrowed very bad gear and it rains for at least half of the trip, on that
trip I was lucky enough to share a shelter with a thru hiker, and after
a night of listening to tells from the trail I decided one day I was going
to do that. So from that point forward I have spent a great deal of my time
in the winter (it gets real cold in MN ) planning my thru hike. Well 1997
is finally our year, which this gets me to the leave of absence, I guess I am
in the minority, because my organization allows exempt staff to take a
leave as long as it is not over 180 days and if you work it correctly
you can get paid up to half of your salary for the time away. When I
asked my boss it took him about 30 seconds to say yes and ask what he
needed to do to make it happen, he even asked the division chair on my
behalf, who also readily approved. I will even get to keep my medical
benefits while on the trail, and even have my old office waiting for me
on my return. Now if you are interested in a job here we do have numerous
openings in many different disciplines and can be found at www.mayo.edu
not advertising but if it helps someone realize their dream of a thru hike
what the heck. 
Thanks for listening.
Sandy and Alison
"The Smiths"
GA to ME 97