Living Sacrifice

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Oh, by the way....unrelated to the trail.....thanks to everyone for praying about the job at the theater. I figured I'd give a quick update since I never let you all know how things went over.

That Monday after the Sunday I asked peeps to pray at church, I called Steve and asked him if I could have a couple more weeks to think about the job. He said sure. So....I called him a couple weeks later, which was on a Saturday (since that's when I had access to a pay phone) and so I had to leave a message. I basically did what David suggested. I gave him a $$ figure, I gave him a date when I could start, and that was that. Sort of "well, here's what I want. Take it or leave it." This was about a week and a half ago, and I have yet to hear from Steve. So......I don't really know what to think about all of it. I guess I will assume that his answer, then, is no, and that I can forget about the theater job. But...regardless, if I hear anything, I will try to update my blog and let you know, since this is a big part of my life and will determine a lot about what I do when I return from the trail.

Love you all.

A Few Pics

Cincinnati Bus Station. My first real bus experience. And my wonderful little sis.

The first official blaze on top of Springer Mountain.

My ankle, which happened day 2 of hiking, day 1 of the AT. This picture was taken the day after it happened. just gotta laugh at things like this and say, "I can't believe I did that." :P

Scenery (the guy in the picture, by the way, is Dave (Bleach)).

Max Patch

Friends. :) Can you guess which one is Pirate? How about which two are south-bounders (this means they are almost done with the trail)?

Sprocket doing a fire stick at Standing Bear Hostel.

Saw this a couple days ago. It is, no joke, called.........Big Butt. te he he

A little trail magic yesterday.

Me and Uncle Johnny. I love this place.

It's Me!

This is actually Kim posting this time, not Jared. A huge thanks to him for taking the time to post stuff for me. He's pretty great. Really great, in fact. :), it feels like it's been forever since I was sitting back in Oxford, Ohio preparing for this trip. Yet at the same time, the last 330 miles of hiking has seemed to fly by. I am currently at the library in Erwin, Tennessee, taking a "zero" day for the first time because my blisters have become too bad for me to walk. I think a day off will do the least I hope so. Yesterday was very painful.

But before I get into the trip......I feel disconnected from everything that's been going on in Oxford and beyond since I've left. I've been reading emails from church, and it just seems that things have been very devastating and crazy.....hard to believe everything that's been going on. I feel sad, I feel selfish. And besides Chad and Mark, my mom informed me that one of my old softball coaches took his life about a week ago by shooting himself. I feel very far removed from all of this, but it makes me wonder where God fits into everything. As you know, I've been struggling with my relationship with God, and that's one reason I wanted to come out and hike the trail in hopes of seeking Him. I am realizing that this is not what I am going to find out here any more than what I could find in Oxford, although I do feel like I am learning a lot of things. It's just different. But I can't run from reality...that I am struggling to see God in things....that I don't understand so many things and why crap happens and how God works sometimes. My deepest sympathies to everyone at home who has had to endure all this hardship and death.......I wish I was there.

Kind of odd to switch from that to the trail, but here I go. It's been a lot of ups and downs out here, both literally and mentally. I think of Glenn every time I think about the "hiker culture" out here just because he always seems so fascinated by cultures and societies and things. It definitely is it's own little world of hiking crazies. I've met some really amazing people, and people hike the trail for so many different reasons. It's just a total change of lifestyle: wearing the same clothes all the time, not taking showers very often, sleeping in tents and shelters, hitting up cool hostels and eating lots and lots of food when in town, seeing some very incredible views, learning how to decrease pack weight (learning how to live more simply, really), "trail magic", hiker festivals, just all kinds of new things for me. It's a lot of fun. Other than that, I don't have a whole lot to write about because Jared has so faithfully been updating my blog, and the letters I send him pretty much sum up everything. I hope to be in Damascus in about 7-8 days I'd say, so that will put me about 4-5 days ahead of schedule I think. Damascus should be cool, too. It's a huge mile marker on the trail.....a really big "trail town." It should be exciting.

So I guess I will leave it at that and start another post with a few pictures so far. Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts and calls and letters. I am so thankful for the community of friends I have. I think one thing I am definitely learning on this trip is how much I take for granted, friends and otherwise. I really have it made in so many ways. Thanks for loving me.

Missing you all.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Updates from the Trail III...

[Neat stuff... Kimberly Ann is a few days ahead of schedule. How cool is that?!?]


So I decided to book it and make it into Hot Springs on Friday instead of Saturday. It's a really small, cute town, and I'm writing from a little pub in the middle of town as I sit and sip the first coffee I've had in probably over a week. The lady here is super nice, and the guys sitting at the bar said, "welcome from out of the hills!" when I walked in. it made me laugh. The people at the post office were also very friendly. It's nice that even though I am a stinky, dirty hiker, people still seem really interested to talk to me & be nice. I like that.:)

I didn't get to tell you a whole lot about the Smokies. The elevations in the NP stay mostly beteween 4500-6000+ feet, and so it's generally a big colder there than in the surrounding areas. The Great Smokey NP includes the highest point on the AT: Clingman's Dome. Even though it was snowing & blowing & cold when I hiked to the top, I guess I lucked out getting to go up there at all, because word on the trail is that it got so snowy and bad up there with trees blowing over the trail that they had to shut that part of the trail down until May & are currently working on a blue blaze trail to get around it. This, of course, could just be AT gossip of some sort, but I would imagine it's true. But anyway, the weather in teh Smokies included everything from rain & sleet to snow to sunshine. Probably about half the time I couldn't really see much at all, but when I could see, the views were incredible. There was one spot (Rocky Top) where I sat & read my Bible, and it was just about perfect.:)

It was kind of crazy coming down out of the Smokies, because it was like walking from winter right into spring. Leaving GSNP, there is a large elevation decline, and so the lower I got, the less snow there was, and by the time I made it to the hostel... no snow at all. It was really neat. It's amazing how much the weather can change with elevation.

We had the most delicious dinner [at the hostel]. Sprocket made us all spaghetti with meat sauce that had big chunks of squash & tomatoes & mushrooms in it. It was fabulous. After dinner, I called my mom since she wasn't home earlier, & it was cold, so I sat by the fire while I talked. Well.... this was not a good idea, because then the guys started making fun of me for talking on the phone so much that day. So Sprocket & Smokin' Jeff started calling me "Ma Bell". ... evidently from a Beastie Boys song..... and they said that had to be my trail name. *laugh* I don't know if I'll keep that or not. Regardless, it was pretty funny sitting around the fire trying to talk tomy mom with all these boys crackin' jokes. Oh... and I met 2 really cool guys named SouthPaw & Bemis. They were actually South-bounders.... they hniked all thru the winter and are pretty close to being done with their hike now. They must be crazy to hike south thru the middle of winter, but they sure were neat to talk to. They seemed so laid back and care-free. It was great.

Let's see, what else? When I first started hiking, I was determined to tent about every night I could, but I think my philosophy on needing to tent all the time is changing. last night, I ended up at the same shelter as Dave, & we were the only ones there, & he had heard bad weather was coming, so we stayed in the shelter. Sure enough, when we woke up with morning, there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground. haha. Welcome to the mountains. So today I got to walk about 10 miles or so in the snow before the elevation was low enough to turn into rain.

Anyway, this letter seems to be going on & on..... sorry! I'm going to get going so I can buy a couple items & do a few errands in town here before I head back into the mountains. Hot Springs, by the way, is the first official "trail town." The AT literally goes right thru the middle of it. It's kinda cool. There are even little AT symbols on the sidewalk. Looks like this:

[picture an "A", with a perpendicular line coming down from the crossbar of it, so as to make AT in one letter;)]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Updates from the Trail II...

[Per a phone conversation, I received permission to post Kim's letters today. They are edited only so as to remove recipient-specific commentary (e.g., I miss you's & so on). Some ellipses, thus, are that sort of thing, and some appear in the original, and no, I don't remember which is which. Sorry!]


Well, right at this moment, life could not get much better.... I am at the NOC, eating..., lounging in the sun after taking the most wonderful hot shower. Once you spend a few days in the wilderness, showers are worth gold.:)

Let's see. Interesting adventures. hmm. I saw my first snake. It's a little early for snakes yet, so that was kind of exciting. It was just a little one, hanging out right in the middle of the trail. hmmm. What else. Well, there was this amazing climb up to the top of Albert Mountain a couple days ago. I actually had to strap my poles to my arm and use my hands to climb up the rocks. I didn't really expect anything like that until PA, so that was fun. And the view from the top was incredible, of course.

Other exciting things: Trail Magic! This is a term that hikers learn very quickly on the trail. Just to be nice, sometimes people will set up little tables or booths and things and give free food & drinks to hikers, often at a gap where there is road access. Crutch was giving out stuff at Rock Gap a couple days ago, and Apple was at a gap yesterday. You have no idea how amazing it is to run into Trail Magic. I took an apple & an orange from Crutch, since I don't really get fresh fruit out here, and it tasted sooooo delicious! Dave had a bread, mustard, mayo, cheese crackers, and oatmeal pie cookie sandwich. Yep. His hiker hunger has kicked in. It's amzing... hikers will eat just about anything with calories.

Overall, the hike has been about what I expected. Sometimes I wonder what the heck I am doing..... Monday things really started to hit me, and I cried for the first time since the bus ride.

Oh, there was another term I wanted to tell you that Nomad said to me. I don't think I worte it in the last letter (sorry if I did). Nomad looked at me and said "did you do a lot of PUDs today?" Of course, I had no idea what that was, so he said, "you know, Pointless Ups and Downs." I thought that was funny... describes a lot of the trail. hehe

Bravefoot just showed up. Cool.

I just sent home my guitar because it seems it's either too cold or I'm too tired or bashful to play. I did play a couple nights, & that was fun, but it's not worth the 3+ lbs of extra weight right now. I might have my mom send it back later in the summer. I also sent back my cell phone, since I can't get reception anywhere it seems. I can still check messages from pay phones, though...

My ankle is doing pretty well. It's just a little swollen, but now my knee on the same leg is giving me trouble. A guy I met gave me his knee brace, and that in combination with Aleve has been working good enough. So, I'm 133 miles into the trail, headed for the Smokies soon. I'm about 2 days ahead of schedule so far, but it will be hard to get ahead in the Smokies bgecause they require you to camp or stay at the shelters to help preserve the wildlife.

I want to write more, but I am starving for some fresh fruits & veggies, so I'm going to pack up & check out the restaurant down the hill a bit, & then back up into trees & mountains for a few days.

From the mountains of NC,


Updates from the Trail...

[Hello, y'all, this is Jared. I've received permission to hijack Kim's blog and post excerpts from her letters. Here are a few from recent letters. I will add new ones as I get them. Cheerio! -jb]


...onward with my adventures. My bus had a layover in GA, and at the Atlanta bus station I met Dave, who has been hiking on & off with me for the entire hike so far. He's a little younger than Spencer, & he knows a lot more about packing than I do, so he has been very helpful. I've met a lot of other really nice people along the way so far, too. So there is no need to worry. I have plenty of company.

The first day out, I did the approach trail to the top of Springer Mountain, which was approximately 9 miles uphill. It was draining, but not too horrible. I camped in the shelter area, so I made a few friends there. Day 2 was almost 15 miles to Gooch Gap shelter, where I camped again, and day 3 I made it all the way to Neels Gap, which is 16 or 17 miles I think. Neels Gap is the first real place to resupply, do laundry, etc, so I have some clothes in the dryer right now. They were getting pretty smelly. Eww.

Some of the views so far have been pretty spectacular. The best one was probably yesterday at the top of Blood Mountain, which is the highest point on the AT in Georgia. It was extremely windy & cold, & a tough hike, but well worth all of the conditions. It was beautiful.

Let's see. What else? On day 2, the first official day on the trail, I feel twice, and the second fall resulted in turning my ankle. I think I sprained it. You should have seen me. The trail was completely flat dirt, no rocks, no roots... nothing. And somehow I turned my annkle. I was down in no time. Dave turned around and there I was, lying on the ground in pain. I heard a crunch when I went down. But after a couple seconds of mumbling in pain, I said, "well, I just have to walk it off." So I got up and carried on. That was about to days ago, and it's still swollen & bruised pretty bad, but it really only hurts when I touch it & when I'm laying in bed. Hiking doesn't seem to hurt too much anymore. My trail name may become "Walk it off," but we're still working on one. We'll see.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Georgia On My Mind

Tuesday morning, I will arrive in Gainesville, GA, where I will get a shuttle from Gainesville to Dawsonville, GA, in Amicalola Falls State Park.

Dawsonville weather for Tuesday:

Partly cloudy
High: 60
Low: 37

Pretty dang nice.

Time Well Spent

Yesterday was Lacey's 16th birthday. Oh my, she's growing up so fast. I went to the Columbus Convention Center to watch her perform in a cheerleading competition. It was part of the "Aaaanold" (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Classic, which is an interesting event in and of itself. Believe it or not, the governor himself actually makes appearances at the convention, and my mom heard him talk today, though there was so many people she couldn't actually see him. Anyway, the actual expo usually consists of a bazillion high school and college age men walking around, all of whom have extremely big muscles that make them look awkward and walk funny, and they all wear shirts that look like they will rip if they move their arms because they are so tight. I had to chuckle to myself. I don't know, maybe some girls like extremely ridiculously large muscles, but I just think they look silly and unnatural. Ewww.

But anyway.....oops, got off topic a bit there.....Lacey performed very well, and afterward, we all drove back to Marion to have dinner with Dad at Steve's Dakota. It was a lovely evening with the Waldo half of the Birch clan, plus Lacey's friend Kristin, and I'm glad I got to go and be with little Lace.

Oh my! I just realized that I never wrote about Friday night! Or Megan's new job! Man, I'm slacking. Friday night was amazing....Jared took me to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet at Millet Hall, but not before fixing me a most delicious salmon dinner. Both were equally lovely. Dave Brubeck is an 85-year-old man who plays jazz piano, and let me tell you, the concert was outstanding. My two favorite things to observe were 1. How Dave Brubeck didn't care about leaning back in his chair when he played....he looked totally relaxed, and would sometimes even prop his foot up near the pedal! and 2. How the sax player, when not playing, would very happily bounce up and down and sway and smile to the music. You could tell he just loved the music, and that made me happy to watch him. By the way, he was AMAZING!!!!!!!

And Megan's new job......she finally, after waiting and waiting and waiting, got the job offer she wanted at the Shriver Center. I wish I could be faithful like her. All along, people have been giving her words of encouragement, and I remember her even receiving words about how changes were coming and to just be patient, and that God was pleased with her where she was. She was patient and didn't give up, and God was faithful. That gives me encouragement, too.

So cool stuff happening in this weekend. Oh, and I'm leaving in a day and a half.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Last Night with my Buddies!

As most people who read this blog know, majority of my Thursday nights for quite some time have been spent watching movies at the Princess. Over the past few months, it has sort of become a tradition for Megan and me to do the marquee and hang out until all hours of the morning, sometimes watching movies, sometimes making fun of them, and then sometimes running the movies but just not really watching them at all. Well.....tonight was my last night of that with Doug and Megan and everyone......ever. Even if I come back to Oxford and work at the Princess and Megan is still here, Doug will not be. So, with all this considering, we had a blast last night. JB, Spen, Glenn, Josh, and his dad all came, too, and man, we just laughed and laughed and laughed and ate food and laughed some more. I think I watched a total of 5 minutes of a movie. There were much better things to do. And so you have an idea of the better things, here are few pictures from the evening. I will try to explain some of them.

Random pics of peeps last night, including one of Spen impersonating a "Tahiki God" statue.

Doug trying to put a tie on Megan.

Sneaky Megan. :)

Mission Impossible 3 poster before Doug.

Doug running toward Mission Impossible 3 poster.

Mission Impossible 3 poster after Doug.

Successful and moderately successful attempts to slide down the theater isle on leftover MI III cardboard.

Ummmmm.....unsuccessful attempt at sliding down the isle. :)

Doug attempting the stairs.

Doug re-enacting an accidental trip in front of customers.

Doug throwing money. Yeah, I have no idea what he was thinking.

*grin* I love my friends!!!!

The end. Oh....and on other notes, Steve finally called and asked me to take Doug's job. He wants me to start in May. I think I have decided to tell him no. We'll see where it goes from there.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This is Hard

Yeah, so I woke up this morning after having a not-so-great dream, BUT....I got to talk to Jared for a brief moment, which I don't usually get to do in the mornings :) AND.....I got to go into the kitchen and fix myself some creme brulée coffee from Crown Tower. Amazing. :) I'm still sipping it now, actually.

So, right now I'm kind of in between packing and cleaning and other tasks that I need to get done today (hoping to head to Hamilton to return some borrowed things and also work out and go to Wal-Mart before I meet up with Justin to determine the winner of our bet). But today has been hard.....I've been crying on and off. This is all really starting to hit me. I was looking at pics of people, and I always find random things while I am packing that remind me of people as well. It seems that leaving for 5 months shouldn't be such a big deal, but it is. And on top of that, I am fighting feelings of not being good enough....not being able to measure up.....maybe even feelings of jealousy.

I'm trying not to be a downer, but I feel pretty lousy today. Besides my creme brulée coffee.

Tri Weight Room

I almost forgot a cool story from today. Someone was using the eliptical machine upstairs in the women's weight room at the tri, so I used the one in the men's weight room. Well, this dude comes in, in his mid-40's, and after a while, he strikes up a conversation. We get to talking, and he's this really sweet man....and he loves Jesus and wasn't afraid to talk about it at all. He talked a little bit about material possessions and how it all doesn't really mean anything to him anymore, and I could just see it in his eye.....his passion for God. It was so refreshing. I think that's the best way I can describe it. Refreshing. Someone to briefly remind me that God still exists, since I seem to need to be reminded every second of the day.

It was funny, too, because once he found out I worked at the theater, he was asking me if I knew this really nice boy who comes in, with curly hair.....really nice boy. But he couldn't think of his name. I thought he meant a customer at the theater, but he meant an employee, so I said "Spencer"? And he said "yeah, yeah, that's it." I laughed as I informed him that Spencer was my brother. And then.....after telling me his name (Bill Lafferty), I asked him if he was a professor or something, because his name was so familiar. It turns out, he owns the car shop where David kept recommending me to take my car. Oh my.....Oxford is such a small place! But it was wonderful. I was able to tell him how David had recommended his place for my car because of great, honest service. And then we were able to talk a little more before I left. It was really nice. I liked him a lot.

OK, that's all. Just wanted to share that story because Bill Lafferty is my new friend and he made me happy today. :)


Well, as my days here in Oxford wear thin, I am realizing more and more that I have a lot of things I want/need to get done before I go. It's a little overwhelming when I think about it, so I try not to. ;) Most important on the list of things to do is hang out with my peeps. Whether I have everything I need for the trail is irrelevant if I haven't had time to hang out with my friends. :) And I've heard several times that Steve is still going to call me about taking the theater job.....Spen and I talked about it tonight....we talked about what it would take to get me to stay. I don't see it happening, and I really don't think Steve will call, though Doug is still convinced that he will.

By the way, today was pretty darn sweet. Christi finally got to meet Waldo, the farm, and the dogs. We drove almost 3 hours from Oxford to Waldo, and then about 2 and a half hours from Waldo to Cinci to be at my house for a grand total of about an hour. Which means between the last two trips I have made home, I've been in my house for about an hour and a half. A little odd.....yes., while we were in Waldo, Christi, Lacey, and I made a very quick trip into downtown Marion to the infamous Crown Tower, and it was as amazing as ever. I really love that place. They roast their coffee beans right in the store, and they have so many flavors. And it doesn't stop at coffee. They have chocolates, jams, wines, teas, crackers, cheese spreads, trinkets......just about anything you can think of that would be in the coolest shop ever. So, I was happy to be back, because it's been a while since I've visited one of my favorite places.

So after Waldo, Christi and I trekked to Cincinnati where we met Jared and Eric for sushi, which was delicious and fun at the same time. I really never have spent enough time hanging with Eric and Christi, which makes me sad, but I'm glad that I was able to tonight. They are two very amazing people. Here's an example of how amazing they really are: they got me blister stuff and a journal for the trail, all wrapped up in cute paper with little notes and things and hemp with beads to tie it off. It was incredible and so thoughtful. Both will be used for sure on the trail, and I can think of them all the time now when I write down my incredibly deep thoughts in my new journal. lol

We played a game at Jared's after dinner, which was also fun, though I found that throughout the evening tonight, I seemed to become more and more quiet and distant. I found myself feeling kind of pouty I guess.....that might be the word for it.....and I didn't like it. I was trying to think about where the feelings were coming from, and I had several theories, which I am not going to list on my blog at this time for the simple reason that I don't feel like sharing my feelings at the moment with an entire population of people. It's nothing horrible, just more stuff I need to work through.

But anyway, overall it was a wonderful evening spent in great company with people whom I love dearly. And I wanted to write more about some other things, but I can feel myself drifting off.....I better get to bed. I am sure I will write more tomorrow when I get time.