how impressive is it that i got my backpack AND my pink shorts AND my boots in one shot? i spent a good amount of last night at rei, bugging the employees about which water filter they thought was best and the benefits of using a dry compression sack over, say, a grocery bag. i felt kind of silly asking all these fairly basic questions and then telling them i was going to hike across north carolina, but hey, i am. one guy overheard me in the store, he's going to hike the AT starting in a couple weeks, and he had the gall to come up to me and tell me he didn't think most of the MST would be that interesting. well, sir, i don't think YOU'RE that interesting. he's not from here, he doesn't get it. i grew up here, a tar heel born and bred, and i have loved the mountains and the sea and now i'm going to connect the two and see everything in between as well. i left rei with just a 4 oz bottle of dr. bronner's, a collapsible toothbrush, and a trowel (confession: i have never pooped in the woods and i'm not excited about it) but i'd made a wish list too, walked around the store and beeped things in like i'm getting married, and now it feels like those last few items are more mine, i have named them and claimed them, and they and a few months are all that stands between me and the start of my epic journey.