Mike left last week for his thru-hike of the AZT. I’ve been following his blog (Protect the AZT) and it appears he’s having the time of his life! Sure, there are already challenges, but conquering them is half the fun! Anyway, it was a real education watching him in his last few days of planning. The experience was great for two reasons: first, I was able to watch someone in planning mode during the final days prior to departure. The second was because I really was able to think about how I wanted to serve the hiking community.
Mike had attempted the hike last year but Murphy decided to tag along; he was forced, for various reasons, to bail early on in the attempt. It’s probably a good thing though, because if you read his account of the incident you’ll realize that he hadn’t planned properly. The opposite was true this time around and I was able to benefit from his learning experience. In fact, by living vicariously through him during the 6 days he was here was invaluable! In fact, I learned about two awesome spots along the trail that I hadn’t originally counted that can be counted on for resupply.
The most valuable lesson was coming to the realization that I would love to run a thru-hiker basecamp and help others achieve their dreams of completing the AZT. I’d been thinking about something like this for a while but it wasn’t until Mike stayed with me that I was able to really put the idea to paper. I’d been doing casual research on the subject as I read stories of hikers on other trails like the PCT and AT. I’d also read horror stories about hikers gone wild. I wasn’t sure how to make it all work, but this week I came up with a plan.
So, I posted my ideas on a few Facebook pages and within minutes I had two people that were interested. At this point you’re probably thinking “how awesome; you’re going to do great”! Well, my first thought was “shit, now I have to figure out how to price this so I’m not losing money or wasting time”. So, I did what any smart business person would do and I made up some pricing that sounded reasonable and sent some estimates. Since I haven’t heard back from them I’m not sure how well they liked it. Live and learn . . .
Anyway, to make a long story less long I’ve outlined what we’re going to provide – a base camp, in-town supply shuttles, border drop-off/pickup, gear receiving, and a few other small services. We have a great property, centrally located, with ample camping spots and a 15 passenger van. It’s a start.
The best part about helping hikers is that I get to hear the stories. A person can learn a lot about themselves by just listening to others’ tales of chasing dreams.