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[at-l] newbie

We're new to this computing game and to e-mail lists, so be gentle, good
We live just outside of Red Lodge, Montana at the base of the Beartooth
Mountains--a short yet long 60 mile winding, switchbacked drive to
Yellowstone National Park.  We've packed in Yellowstone and the
Beartooths but our longest trip was along the C& O Canal from Washington
D.C, to Cumberland, MD.  It's a long way off but we are planning on
thru-hiking the AT in the year 2000.  My lady would like to celebrate her
50th (please don't let on I told you) birthday on the trail.
I've read several purported information books on hiking the trail and one
thing that keeps buggin me is:
             The books all seem to say that three or more pair of shoes
will be needed, but nobody deals with breaking them in.  I guess if I
start now, I might have three pair of shoes broken in before we leave. 
Or do I wait and risk blisters from tight shoes?
Has anybody dealt with this?
Michael & Karen
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