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RNwithPD

Seeking hiking/backpacking partner (TN)

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Summary:  I am looking for a fellow Parkie that is interested and capable of extended overnight backpacking trips in the Tennessee area, with the express goal of possibly attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) next year. The initial trips would be 3-5 day overnight trips to determine whether or not we actually like it; our capabilities; test gear to find what works the best; and get in shape.  IF all of that goes well, I want to attempt the AT next year - with the itinerary open to discussion (northbound, southbound, flip-flop, etc.).  I am located in West Tennessee. Any tips or suggestions about finding a hiking partner, fund-raising, raising awareness for PD, etc. would be appreciated.

Detail:  I am a 46 year old male diagnosed with PD in 2011 after noticing the first clear symptoms in 2008. I was forced to leave work (Registered Nurse) in July 2017 due to a loss of ability to hand-write, type more than a few sentences, adequately control a computer mouse, fatigue, and dystonia in my right leg - among other symptoms. I was approved for DBS surgery last fall, but decided to hold off for a while due to several reasons, such as an improvement in my symptoms after leaving work and the realization that once I have a generator pack installed in my chest I will no longer be able to carry a backpack.

Once I left work my stress levels dropped dramatically. I started exercising, eating healthier, and taking vitamin supplements. My walking improved dramatically, and I found that I was able to go hiking. Since then, my wife and I have taken several day hikes including two days on the AT up to the top of Roan Mountain and across the balds north of Carver's Gap. I had no problems and loved every minute of it. I intend to have the DBS surgery probably in 2020, so I feel like next year is my final chance to thru-hike the AT if I am ever going to.

To be clear, I have not decided 100% that I am going to do this. That is why I want to take some shorter test trips this year to see if I can handle multiple days of hiking and camping.  My wife is employed and won't be able to go, but I feel that I would be more likely to finish if I have a hiking partner.  Plus, if the other person has PD as well, hopefully we can be more understanding of each other's abilities and limitations; as well as raise awareness of PD along the way.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Kevin

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Wish I was local, and also no longer working.  Sounds like a grand idea.

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I am also considering thru hiking the AT , although my time frame is not locked in as I have teenagers in the house . One will be graduating next year and one the year after . I am in Western NY but would consider heading down to do a 3-5 day hikes  . I am 54 and diagnosed in 2015 . I currently try and hike 5 to 7 miles a few times a week . I started gathering things for extended hikes last year with a trip down to Pittsburgh and the REI store . Picked up an Osprey pack , water purifier and other assorted items to add to what I already have . My wife wants me to do the AT ,but would feel bad for taking off and leaving her to tend to everything on her own . 

Dan

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Dan,

I am feeling the same way about my wife - although I don't have children to worry about. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I really want to do this without her. She fully supports my going, but is it worth doing it if I can't experience it with her? I'm not sure. Apparently I have some more thinking to do.

Thanks,

Kevin

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Maybe we can work something out for a short 3 to 5 day thing , kick the tires on it a bit see what comes of it . My older son was stationed at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky /Tennessee border . How far from that area are you ? PM me if interested .

Dan

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Kevin, my brother has hiked the trail 5 times and I'm sure would be happy to help with any questions or suggestions you may have that might help.  (He doesn't have PD.)

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Thanks Linda. Dan and I have been communicating and are planning a hike together soon to see how we do.  If all goes well, we might give an AT thru-hike a try.

Kevin

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I'm so glad to hear that, Kevin--!  Sounds like fun.  We'll be awaiting your reporting in now and then to let us know how it goes.

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