Sunday, May 20, 2012

OCD mom: From Frantic Valley to Augmented Reality

As you might have noticed, if you've been anywhere on this blog, I suffer from  obsessive compulsive disorder, not in the way that people think of, such as hand-washing or meticulously cleaning your house all the time (my daughter claims that one) but in the way when I get into something, a new hobby for example or a new subject or interest, I am obsessed.
As evidenced by the fact that I've posted a good many blog entries on CarolinaATMom  since I started this blog about five weeks ago. It's was one of the methods I employed to  deal with my anxiety regarding my son, Jeff's aka Loner's Trek on the Appalachian Trail.
And there's about 5 more posts already written, waiting to be edited or linked with links or peppered with photos and flotsam and jetsam of AT facts or stats.  Even I think it's too gauche to post this many.
But I can't stop myself.
And the blog posts are just the tip of my AT obsession iceberg attempting to rival altitude of Mt. Kathadin. Behind the scenes there's hours of book reading (some books twice!), hours of You Tube videos, blogs and video documentaries including 2,000 Miles to Maine, a funny and sometimes irreverently honest film interviewing a cast of quirky hikers and one angry dog and  I just watched Trek - a vibrant, emotional and telling chronicle of four young men who take to the trail as the Four Horsemen and both the wonderful and the trying experiences they encounter. Beautifully photographed with stunning panoramic views which can't be caught in photos, this will be one I'll watch over and over, just like I do Loner's You Tube Videos.
I also can't resist stalking the Internet sites White Blaze  where AT hikers post journal entries, post questions, comments, help each other, sometimes argue about all topics related to the AT and Trail Journals a website of journals kept by thru-hikers over the years and updated as hikers can with smart phones, etc.
 I also find myself reading the crime reports and unfortunately forwarding them to my son as warnings about what to look out for.  While I believe the AT is as safe as any other part of the USA, the trail is almost a mini moving town and in any town things such as deaths happen. On the AT the dangers range can arise from hypothermia, heat exhaustion, falls, heart attacks. And yes, even violent crimes and murders do happen (such as a recent, May 10, 2012, attempted armed robbery on Beauty Spot Lookout on Unaka Mtn. in Tenn. to be addressed in another post). Loner had been there about a week before. It's just good be aware.
If I could find wild animal reports going over those for every 5 million steps my son will take on the 2,000 whatever it is, the mile count keeps changing miles, especially since my son as already dispatched one rattle snake to the side of the trail with the lure of the snake's supper and three bears, who thankfully ran away from him. .
So, am I the only family member, friend or, I admit sometimes overly involved mom out there?  (Peeking through the Internet telescope) Are there any other AT support teams who sometimes feel close to falling  over the cliff edge to Frantic Valley? Am I the only Mom who drops her life to peek in on her son's?  I read about these Augmented Reality Glasses Google is proposing to release later this year - it's a computer in a strange glasses/around the forehead headbandy thing, all futuristic which offers GPS, displays weather, has the ability to take photos, send emails, make phone calls etc. all in one tidy headset smart phone.  I told my son about them and asked if he'd wear them if he ever undertakes another adventure like the AT in the future so I could follow him every step of the way.  He was smart and refused.  I should have known better since the only technology he has on the trail is his camera. Am I alone? Am I crazy?
It would really be nice to know I'm not the only family member who's gone around the proverbial crook in the trail in this situation. 
My son would think so, hence up until recently I wrote this blog in absolute secrecy from my son. It was easy since he doesn't carry a cell phone or smart phone and has limited access to computers at hostels.
But now I finally feel I can mentally balance the idea of the valuable life transformation he's gifting himself against the worry I feel about the what ifs.


  1. Im an AT Mom also My son Rayo has been gone since 3-16-12 and just entered PA. I am very fortunate that he blogs ( almost daily and I get a phone call about once a week. How I love automation. Helps with keeping the worrying down to a minimal.

    I have become an AT junkie of sorts. I check sites & blogs on regular basis to see what's ahead for Ryan or to compare his progress against past hikers. I have distance calculator, shelter locators ,post office chart and other sites saved for daily use.

    Every time I walk into a store Im checking out to see what they have that may be different that I can put in his drop box. Special quick fix meals, dried fruit you name it.
    I've become quiet good at filling those one price no matter they weight boxes from the post office to their limit!
    Anytime I can slip in a conversation"my son is hiking the AT, the whole thing" you bet I do

    Ours sons are amazing, doing something that very few achieve So enjoy,follow, obsess because ya know what.....part of why they are able to do this is because they have moms like us!

    Happy & Safe Hiking Loner!!

  2. Patti:

    Thanks so much Patty for writing! You have no idea how much your comment means to me. I've felt like I've totally gone beserker at times. And yes, I know how it is to watch videos to see what is up ahead and try to pack in as many surprises in the mail drop boxes to augment the Ramen Noodles and Pop Tarts and tell Jeff's story to the Post Office worker, the librarian, the cashier at the Dollar Store. And you are so right - we do obsess because we care and are proud, so proud and often amazed at what our sons are are happily enduring and relishing along their journeys. And I just checked Rayo's blog and I've already been following him! How cool to meet his mom!

  3. Im laughing out loud, because it' the truth
    Anyone with ears Im ready to tell his story

    What an adventure for us all