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Introduction Letter


November 20, 1997


Dear Sir or Madam,

This form letter has been addressed to you for one of three Reasons:

  1. You are wondering where Karl, Chris, and Jamey will be for the next six months;
  2. You are interested in sending mail to Karl, Chris, or Jamey sometime in the next six months;
  3. You want to join Karl, Chris, and Jamey for part of the next six months as they hike 2,160 miles from Georgia to Maine.

Now, I realize you won't all be in the last category. In fact, that's one reason I'm writing this letter: to find out who wants to hike with us and when. But wait; perhaps you haven't heard much about the trip at all (see Reason #1)--I had better explain.

We are planning on hiking from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine, starting March 5, 1998 and ending in early August. The trail that connects the two points is known as the Appalchian Trail, which consists of a winding footpath and white blazes (hiker jargon: marks on trees) for, as I mentioned, 2,160 miles. This is one of those things you do after college but before getting a real job.

Now, this is not something that we will do alone. In fact, we would like to think of it as carrying all of you with us, in a couple ways, except without the weight. First of all, we have trusted friends and relatives to mail us supplies: about once a week we stop into small towns and pick up "mail drops" and shop at grocery stores (see Reason #2). Second of all, some of you have expressed interest in joining us for part of the hike, or meeting us when we stop into towns (see Reason #3). Needless to say, all letters and meetings are more than welcome. We've saved money and chosen this as our "vacation," but I have a feeling it's easier to talk about doing it than actually doing it, and little spots of contact with you will make a big difference.

The government knows that Appalachian Trail hikers can get lonely, so if you mail something to a post office and write the words, "Hold for Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker" on it (see schedule), they will hold it for up to thirty days. As long as you get your letter to the post office in time, we will get it. That way, even if you can't join us, you can live through us vicariously (if you like hiking).

Alright, back to the people who want to join us to hike. Look over the schedule below and choose a time and place to meet us. Then, unless you want to drop in and surprise us, let us know about your plans and we'll arrange to meet you somewhere (probably the post office of one of the towns). If you don't know how to plan for the hike--especially if you plan to hike for more than a few days--let us know and we can tell you what to bring and how to get ready. Keep in mind that our schedule is tentative, and is subject to change as we gain or lose muscles.

I think that's it. Please write us, and feel free to send lots of very sweet, very fattening baked goods--did you know that a 180 pound male hiker consumes 6000 calories in a day? Thanks for your support, and we'll keep you posted.

Bye for now,

Karl Voskuil

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