27 January 2008

Prep # 5 -- What about Casey?

Well, I'm quirky. I'm industrious and I like long walks (less on beaches more in the woods - HA). On a more practical note, I awoke nearly every morning for 18.5 years in NW OHIO at my parents home. I honed my skills as a plumber under Master Plumber Tony (my dad). I went to college to learn and my studies didn't infer with this goal. I drifted from a Music major to and Economics major, completing college with that as a BA and minors in math and music. My favorite theme of college was that most people didn't know I was econ. major, especially each new class. Many of my peers and acquaintances thought I was computer science (I was doing some research getting press), religion (I was involved in various groups), philosophy (I think and talk a length), music or other. Only my closest friends could correctly bubble in my area of focus (plus the 6 other econ majors).

I chose to graduate early to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2004. (more on my outdoor experience in another post). The AT experience was immense. I'm not certain I've ever been as depressed a the half way point. Sure I had joyful moments, but pain some times crystallizes in my mind. Then again, I did want to leave nearly every day for the last 440 miles. Oh, well. I stuck with it, meet wonderful people and had my life changed.

Now four years later, I have language to understand the results of my hike. See before hiking, I was sometimes called a "robot," or heartless, even a relative of Spock or Commander Data and worse. But the winter after the AT, I teared up to Jerry McGuire on television. Yep, my rational mind had ran out of fuel to chew on during my 7 month hike and my heart filled in the gaps, finally getting some space to breath.

The fall of 2005 I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC) . I moved to Seattle, WA. to spend time with individuals most of society ignores, the homeless. I signed up for additional year, and was placed in Portland, OR. My second year in JVC, is when I worked at the Men's Residential Center and learned about the Al Forthan Scholarship Fund.

August 2007 my service year ended and I road-tripped back to Ohio. Three weeks later, I entered a 6-week silent meditation retreat with the Insight Meditation Society. Again, my heart-mind has changed forever as I spent time in great stillness listening to my God. I was on retreat when serendipity placed the notion to raise funds specially for Al Scholarship. In all actuality, I'd find it more convenient to not raise money at all. However, I listen and respond to the movement of my God's Spirit and this is what's going on for me now. Bummer -- obedience (note: in Latin, obedience root is Listening-- sweet huh!!?!?).

Six days of discernment (Jesuit Style- fool) prayer, and I decided to prepare for the PCT hike 2008. I'm excited for now. I find it easy to be excited when I'm not actually 'experiencing' my questions but only researching them. Certainly the first few days, weeks, miles and months on the trail will be trying my nerves. "did I bring enough, too much. Why am I doing this...." "shut up mind, relax and have fun." " you know you're not going to do that..."
Hopefully my lessons from the AT won't direct too much of my decisions. Number one lesson: POOR DECISIONS MAKE BETTER STORIES

21 January 2008

Prep #4 -- Promising News

Fundraising -- I've talked with someone at JVC:NW and they are considering HIKING FOR RECOVERY as an article in their newsletter with 4000+ recipients. I'm grateful and excited about the potential to share my story and the work of the MRC with so many.

I've sent out my first round of request to manufacturers and friends / family. A few companies have already contacted me with further questions, again promising news.

Hiking Prep-- I spent an evening with my Aunt Lydia discussing sewing technique. I'll be trying to put together a vest from sewing kit purchased at Thru-hiker.com. Depending on my vest project's results, I've been day dreaming of making my own down jacket.

Single digit temperatures and blistering wind in NW OHIO have caused me to redirect my training program to Yoga. I'm confident that keeping limber is as important as keeping strong (I had been running 4x a week since January 1st).

This week will be light on PCT research and slow with taking necessary steps to put all that needs to be done into order. I have my first sermon to research, pray about and produce for this coming Sunday. This sermon work has me grateful, fearful and humbled.

Much love.

14 January 2008

Prep #3 -- Post Marked 1/14

Fundraising: This morning I was very excited to work on my new video. My video explains 'Hiking for Recovery' and has posted for those interested. In addition, with the kind help of Julia P. (FJV and MRC employee) finished my request letters for donors, and potential sponsors. I was emboldened from Leah from JVC:NW that Hiking for Recovery will be published in the next newsletter which will reach 4000+ peoples. And Leah and I are working on connecting our two sites. Leah really was pleased to hear how my JVC experience is still informing my current decisions.

Preparations: I picked up some road maps from AAA. I've started the tedious work of tracing a PCT trail on to these maps so my mom has a wall map to follow my journey.

13 January 2008

Prep #2 -- Gathering of friends

Fundraising update: I've received support from the Volunteers of America in Portland. And Greg Stone from the Men's Residential Center has expressed his appreciation for my idea and work for the Al Forthan scholarship fund. I've felt a little bogged down with numerous loose ends I have concerning drafting request letters, compiling potential donors and then making contact. However, I'm strengthened as I remember that I'm not asking for myself and that asking is not a demand, but an opportunity for others to express their truest self thru generosity.

Trip planning update: So, I've begun a gathering of friends. Old friends and new friends are all beginning to meet up at my place in Ohio. I purchased a used Six Moon Design Lunar Solo tarp shelter. My order of databook and three guidebooks arrived this past weekend from The Pacific Crest Trail Assoc. Gear Gear Gear, a friend of any outdoor enthusiast. This week I hope to begin two projects. First I'll make up some homemade protein bars and dehydrate them. I'm conducting an experiment to see their shelf life for potential maildrops. And two, I will start a Thru-hiker sewing project of a minima vest. This is a progressive step towards an exciting possibility that I will sew my own 10.5 oz down jacket.

07 January 2008

So It begins

I've decided to pursue a commitment. Two commitments actually. One to raise $2650 for the Al Fortham's Scholarship Fund at the Men's Residential Center in Portland, OR. The MRC is part of Volunteers of America's service work in Oregon. My second commitment is to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail's 2650 miles this summer of 2008.