Well, It’s day 6 of my adventure. I will be crossing the North Carolina border tomorrow. At this point, I am in disbelief that each day gets better than the last. Faces are becoming familiar, wonderful trail names and stories are being shared, I have already said goodbye to some really good people. Georgia has been far too kind to me all around. This entire week has been nothing but clear, sunny skies. I had a “triple-header trail magic”occurrence which had me in tears of pure joy. When I reached Neels Gap I had a pack shake down with a guy named Pretzel! He knocked about 3-4lbs off my pack and brought to my attention that my frame on my pack was placed entirely wrong (I awkwardly had it on the outside of my pack, outside of my padding, threaded through the conveniently placed loops and not the internal slot that I had never noticed) … Had him laughing his ass off and couldn’t believe I still had such a big smile on my face.
Some people have already left an incredible mark on me. There is a mother and son who are doing a small section hike together. The son is in high school and the mom takes her kids out each on their own special hike every year. I have run into them every single day since the Approach Trail and look forward to our random interactions and small talks throughout the day. I found out just today that the mom has Rheumatoid Arthritis, she told me she is not on any medicine and hiking has saved her life.
There is a 73 year old woman LASHER (long-ass-section-hiker) who will be completing her AT thru-hike in Connecticut. She is averaging about 15 miles a day and I see her bright and early every morning. We catch up, she tells me about her life and how proud she is of her son. She told me she is carrying a piece of yarn from her granddaughters knitting project. The sweetest part is that about an hour later from our interaction, her 73 year old husband trail runs south each day to meet her and walk the rest of the day with her. He AT thru-hiked in 1989 and the two have plans to start the John Muir Trail in August. Talk about serious life goals.
I am beyond thankful for being on this trail. I feel so grounded and calm out here. The support that is flooding in from back home has been incredible. I can’t stop smiling and for the first time my heart and head are in the same place.
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