Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Arrived Amicalola State Park 9:24 pm! The SPOT Gen3 technology that a good friend lent me is amazing. My family and close friends receive GPS coordinates and an “I’m OK” message at prearranged times or at the touch of a button. Clicking a link pulls up a map location that can be converted to a satellite image, allowing them to zoom in to my actual location. I can also transmit an emergency signal if I need help. One more day with my wife and son before I hit the trail Thursday!

It’s Getting Real!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How It All Began

In August 2017 Canines for Service Inc. in Wilmington, NC, provided Service Dog Forest to me (U.S. Army Veteran "Fisher"). It was apparent from the first day of training that this 2-1/2-year-old black lab/hound mix would change my life, promoting my independence and healing after serving in Iraq. Canines for Service provides quality, trained service dogs to veterans with service-connected disabilities (e.g., mobility impairment, traumatic brain injury, documented clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder), while rescuing shelter dogs in the process. They provided Forest to me, asking nothing in return other than that I love him, take care of him and use him as he was intended. For that reason, I encourage you to click on the link on the right-hand navigation bar and donate whatever you can to this wonderful organization that relies completely on grants and private donations.

Encouraged by my wife, I have also been participating in events hosted by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., Greater Charlotte Area chapter, which assists in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active-duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. As soon as I entered the first stream with my guide, I found peace and relaxation that I had not experienced for years. For more information on Project Healing Waters, and to find a chapter in your area, please click the link to the right.

Both of these organizations (and my family) are supporting my plan to fulfill a lifelong dream beginning on March 1: to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine--and fish a little along the way, of course! This blog will document my adventures with Forest on the trail. I'll be posting journal entries and photographs (as time and energy allow) as we proceed from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the end of the Trail in Maine. Please stop back often to witness our progress, or you can click on the link to the right to have posts sent to you by email. I'll respond to comments when I can, but please be patient as my focus will be on Forest's health and happiness as we proceed. He's the greatest dog and is modeling the greatest gear below! See you on the trail. (Reminder: Forest is a service dog, so please always ask before approaching him. If he's working, he needs to stay focused.)

How It All Began

In August 2017 Canines for Service Inc. in Wilmington, NC, provided Service Dog Forest to me (U.S. Army Veteran "Fisher"). It was ...