Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Faith.

Our original start date for the AT had been March 25th.  That had been our date for almost a year when my sister called me about a month ago.  Her daughter, Bailey Faith, the one who had come to visit me last summer in Yellowstone, was going to be having brain surgery the last week of March/first week of April in Memphis to help her seizures.  Well of course, we couldn't leave.

On a June day in 1952, women in the Le Bonheur Club, a sewing circle devoted to the well-being of children, gathered with community leaders to realize their dream of opening a new children's hospital.  The keys to the front door were tied to balloons and released to symbolize that the hospital would always be open to any child in need.    With the opening of the new Le Bonheur in June, 2010, the dream continues.
Graham and I discussed staying both weeks - and I wish that I could be here the entirety of their stay.  We were afraid of running into snow on Mt. Katahdin at the end of the trail and decided to play it safe and only stay for the first surgery.  My mom and brother-in-law will be down for the second surgery.  My sister's best friend will be here from the beginning until Jeff arrives.  Still, I wish I could be here to be support and positive energy for my sister and my niece.

They arrived on Sunday during the day so we got to go to the zoo.  We saved the bears for last, since they are Bailey's favorite (and it was pretty sweet to see a polar bear and panda).  I think my favorite were the sea lions - they looked so graceful flowing through the water.  (Zoos do make me sad but I'm glad Bailey enjoyed it.)  They came to a delicious dinner at Graham's mom's home before heading to the FedEx House.

They checked in bright and early on Monday morning to Le Bonheur Hospital.  It is an absolutely beautiful hospital with amazing art work to help brighten the kids.  I have been truly impressed with everyone whom we have worked with - they are all extremely friendly and stop to take the time to make sure everyone (Bailey, my sister, me or anyone else who happens to be in the room at the time) fully understands everything and has all their questions answered.

Bailey had two days of tests to prepare for today - her first surgery.  They did a question mark cut that starts above her ear and curves up over her head.  (That was a horrible description.)  They put in some electros (wrong word - it's like sensors that you've seen on medical shows that are put on the chest, just smaller and made to go inside her head) that are now sitting on her brain.  The wires are coming out of her head and are attached to a machine that will measure her seizures.  Once they get it narrowed down to the size of a pencil eraser, which will hopefully not contain anything that is super vital, then they will have her second surgery to remove that part as well as the electros. 

Today's been a bit tough and long.  Tomorrow will be as well and then the doctor is saying that the pain should start subsiding.  The second surgery shouldn't be as bad as this one.  They added something to her brain that her body doesn't necessarily want but they next one is removing that so it should be easier.

Please be sending good vibes Bailey's way and keep her in your prayers.   She is quietly snoring in front of me as I'm writing this.  I'm in awe of her strength and beauty as she goes through this. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finishing.

When we've talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail, we really hadn't talked too much about whether or not we were going to finish.  It had never really been a question - until others started asking it.

My mom read Appalachian Trials, which suggested that we create a list of why we are hiking the trail.  I'm not going to create a list because I don't really have one.  I feel like I'm doing it because that's the next that we are doing.  There is no question in my mind that we are going to finish it, unless we fall extremely ill or break a leg or something outrageous.


I'm looking forward to long days of walking with everything I need on my back.  I can't wait to slosh through some mud and be dirty.  Oh! and stinky.  Really stinky.  We are going to be wet, frustrated and exhausted.  Some days we are going to hate the trail, ourselves and probably each other.  Those are going to be the days I'm thankful for walking with Graham (maybe not at the time, but later) - we'll motivate each other and keep ourselves as excited to keep hiking as we are to start.

Only 13 more days until we start hiking - and I can't wait!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Appalachian Trail Itinerary.

Appalachian Trail by Unknown.
 This is our basic itinerary for the next 6 months - so keep in mind that is will change at points.  I'm going to try to keep this as up to date as I can so it should be fairly accurate - if you want to send anything (or specifically some light weight food), then we would be very appreciative.

To address a package it will be:
       Name of business (or General Delivery, if it is a Post Office)
       Attn: Leslie Timmons & Graham Kennedy
       Thru-Hikers Approx. Date
       Street or PO Box #
       City, State  Zip Code


March 31 - Start hiking at Amicola Falls State Park!!!
April 5 - Blueberry Patch Hostel, 5038 Hwy 76 East, Hiawassee, GA  30546
April 16 - Nantahala Outdoor Center, 13077 Hwy 19W, Bryson City, NC  28713
April 25 - Standing Bear Farm, 4255 Green Corner Rd., Hartford, TN  37753
May 2-5 - Lindsay's Wedding
May 15 - Adventure Damascus, PO Box 1113, Damascus, VA  24236
May 21 - Exxon Convenience Store, Exit 54 Exxon, 7327 Lee Highway, Rural Retreat, VA  24396 (UPS only)
May 27 - Post Office, Catawba, VA  24070
June 10 - Crabtree Campground, 11039 Crabtree Falls Highway, Tyro, VA  22976
June 17 - Post Office, Luray, VA  22835
June 23-25 - Visit Cheryl
July 1 - Doyle Hotel, 7 North Market Street, Duncannon, PA  17020
July 9 - Edge of the Woods Outfitters, 110 Main St, Delaware Water Gap, PA  18327         (FedEx/UPS only)
July 17-19 - Visit Jill
July 28 - Williamstown Motel, 295 Main St, Williamstown, MA  01267
August 9 - Hikers Welcome Hostel, PO Box 25, Glencliff, NH  03238
August 19 - White Mtn. Lodge & Hostel, 592 State Route 2, Shelbourne, NH  03581
August 27 - Post Office, Rangeley, ME  04970
September 11 - Shaw's Lodging, PO Box 72, Monson, ME  04464
September 19 - Mt. Katahdin!!!

I'm excited for getting out onto the trail and start walking - 15 more days!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brief Update.

We are in Memphis now - getting ready for the AT.  Yesterday, we finished our shopping and starting packing our boxes.  We felt like we had a lot of food (and we do) but we ran out of some stuff before we thought we would...

Food for AT.