Friday, August 26, 2016

neAT things

A delightful fall day two years ago, climbing the Chapel Pond Slab in the Adirondacks.
Fall is right around the corner. I like fall. Pretty colors. Sweater and jeans weather. Time to head back to school, have an apple sauce making workshop, and acquire lots of knowledge. But time marches on, and I'm not headed back to school this year. But I'm pretending I am. After a good long drive home in Genny the Great White Buffalo (my dearest home) and sleeping in only two sketchy Walmart parking lots (North Dakota wasn't bad, but my god, avoid Indiana Walmarts at midnight at all costs...fascinating creatures lurk within their fluorescently-lit depths), I'm back in Pennsylvania. Back in PA, but headed to Maine right now. In an effort to pretend I haven't graduated, I'll be following fall down the east coast along the Appalachian Trail in what I'm thinking of as "domestic study abroad program."
My backyard/personal river/outdoor kitchen/shower/bathroom/living room while I lived in Genny in the fine Lander City Park, WY.
Doing the AT has been on my mind for more than a few years. Going north in PA to ski or visit relatives always meant a journey through the perilously long and forebodingly dark Lehigh Tunnel. Holding your breath as you flew through the dimly lit tunnel was required. But the landscape that the tunnel went under began to mean more to me when I was 13 or 14. I learned that the Appalachian Trail, some mystical footpath that I was like, long or something, ran over the ridge top of the mountain that my beloved Lehigh Tunnel cut through. I didn't really understand what the AT was for quite a few years. But I knew it was long and on top of the dang Lehigh Tunnel.

Trail running on the AT on Kittatinny Ridge (aka the big thing that the Lehigh Tunnel goes through) last December. Classic PA move, this is also a Superfund site. But this run ended with some mushroom foraging and brunch with friends. Into it.
As I got older and began adventuring outside a bit more, I began to understand what the AT was. But fundamentally, I was right. It was definitely long and definitely on top of the dang Lehigh Tunnel. It's also pretty darned neat. And for those that know me, you know that I like neat things. Like moss and fungi. I mean, how cool are mycorrhizae, let's be real? Anywho, a neat summer has concluded, and the search for new neatness has led me back to the AT. I think that hiking 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia through the fabulous Appalachian Mountains is a pretty neat way to spend one's time on earth. That being said, like anything worth doing, hiking the AT will be damn hard, I'm sure. I am fully aware that the AT is no walk in the park (it's a walk in the woods), and that I will likely be uber hungry/lonely/tired/desolate/exhausted/in general pain/chaffed/sweaty/etc far more than usual. But I like to think the neatest of things require those attributes, or else they're really not that neat...someone remind me I said that at some point in the near future... But hiking the AT feels really good right now. Somewhat like the nip in the air when you're wrapped up in a cozy wool sweater as the leaves begin to turn. But I won't be pursuing my usual human life clad in wool and flannel this fall. I'm thrilled to be putting on a wool sweater a little bigger than myself, frolicking with fall down the spine of the Appalachians, conspicuously aware that the icy hand of winter is ready to pull me into the snow if I dilly-dally too much.

If you're looking for me the next ~3 months, I'll be galavanting through the great eastern forests. Seeing as I'm on the east coast, I imagine I'll have cell service quite often. I think I'll be fairly in-touch with folks if need be, and try to post updates here as I can. Depends how much I am able to tolerate tapping things out on that there little itty bitty iPhone screen. We'll see what happens... BUT I would love to hear from you! My oh-so-kind mother (mom you rock) will be mailing me food/supplies throughout my journey, which I will pick up every few days. So, if you mail a letter to my home address, my mom will pop it into my next mail drop. Like I said, I'll probs be sad and lonely at times, so I'd love to see writing from friendly people. Drop me a note here:***

Jeff Mogavero (AT)
3036 Robin Lane
Havertown, PA 19083

***be SURE to write "(AT)" or else my mom won't put it in a mail drop!

Thanks for all the support of recent adventures. I sure do hope to have a neat time out there. Wish me luck!

Much love,

Jeff "I'm obviously bringing glitter" Mogavero

See you kweens on the trail #stayspicy. (pc: the admirable Jacob Taswell)

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