Fortunately, I survived to live the tale — 42 miles over 3 days, carrying a huge pack. I was totally hooked. Soon after I began going on group weekend backpack trips on the Appalachian Trail. This continued into 2015, and then in 2016, life happened. My dad became very ill and then passed away, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The good news is my dad had a good life and suffered little, and for me, my cancer was an easy case. The great news is my love of the outdoors pushed me to get back on my feet as fast as possible. Three weeks after my last chemo treatment, I was back hiking long miles. Two weeks after radiation, I was back on the Appalachian Trail, hiking solo 14.5 miles, from Port Clinton to PA 183. The shuttle driver dropped me off, and I literally dragged my butt up the hill out of Port Clinton, wondering if I would make it to the top or not. Then one mile from my car, I had my first adventure, when it became dark, the trail blazes indicated a turn but not which way, and I was momentarily confused. Well, really, not so momentarily… Fortunately, I lived to tell the tale. Lesson #1, learned during prior trips, stop, look around, think, don’t panic. Still, due to the risk of finishing too late or early, I much prefer backpacking on the AT to day hiking. I also prefer blazes that indicate direction, not just turns.