Big Falls Road, McCoy, Virginia
My home in 1994 was Blacksburg, Virginia. More accurately, I worked in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech. I lived down on the scenic New River in the small community of McCoy, a 30 minute drive from my labs.
For me, the year had started out rather cold in many ways. After eight years of working in research and occasional grad school, I had become somewhat rudderless. My touchstones remained family, my dog, and the research group to which I belonged. A broad array of friends I had collected over a dozen years in the area kept me sane. Hiking, mountain biking and running burned up that energy from being single. And yet, adrift I was.
Early in January, while running with some friends (employees of Tech would often be found during lunch running on campus in packs) was when I somewhat accidentially sealed my fate. One colleague asked what I was going to do with the new year. Without much thought as to the ramifications, I blurted out 'Oh, I don't know, maybe hike the A.T.' It was the start of painting myself into a corner -- and into a new adventure.