One Thousand Miles Later: Celebrations and Reflections
Karaoke anyone? You know you want to. This number is to the tune of Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles.
Making my way down trail, walking south, northbounders pass and they’re smelly as hell.
Staring down at my feet, making my way, killing my feet on Pennsylvania ro-o-ocks!
And you know I’d walk a thousand miles just to get half waaaaaaay to Georgiaaaaaaaaa. Almost.
It’s a work in progress.
NOBOs, I can’t smell myself but I’m pretty sure I’m smelly as hell too. Just a case of casual banter because #sobolivesmatter.
Moving on. How on Earth have I made it this far? Almost halfway is a huge milestone for a girl who’s never backpacked. I’ve grown so much, not height wise, unfortunately, but confidence wise.
Reaching the 1,000-mile marker (shout-out to the artist who gathered and organized the lovely rocks so I didn’t have to) called for celebrations. How do Al and I celebrate? I’ll give you a hint, we love Instagram….
Did someone say photo shoot? You guys are good!
Celebrations didn’t cease with our photo op. No, we had two lovely trail angels who had arranged to pick us up later in the day and take us to dinner. I even managed to add a new first to the list. Philly cheese steaks are amazing. The hype is real.
I’m not quite sure what it was about reaching 1,000 miles that had me bouncing off the walls. Perhaps it was the realization that I’m almost halfway through my thru-hike, or perhaps it’s knowing that I’ll get to mess around with the lyrics to Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer to celebrate being halfway soon enough. Shhhh, you love my terrible edits of awesome songs. I’m a lyrical genius. Either way, I was the happiest bean.
I always said that as soon as I got to the halfway point (which won’t be long by the way) I would reassess my situation and ask myself if I wanted to continue.
If I’m being completely honest, I’d convinced myself weeks ago that I was going to call it a day at the halfway point. Why? That’s a good question. I have no real reason for quitting, or even wanting to consider quitting. Yes I’ve had bad days…
—I lightly escaped looking like a hillbilly as my face made friends with a rock.
—I’ve been wet, cold, and miserable on more than one occasion.
—I spent nights alone, which terrified me.
—I’ve got a problem foot that bothers me too often.
—I have to drink water on a daily basis.
But not a single one of those is a good enough reason to quit. In actual fact, none of those reasons were running through my mind when I’d convinced myself I was going to call it a day. I don’t really know why I’d convinced myself to stop; I can’t quite work it out. A moment of madness, maybe.
Hitting 1,000 miles has changed everything, though; one thing I’m not going to do is quit. I’m not looking for reasons to call it a day anymore. I want to make it to Georgia more than anything and for the first time since starting, I actually think that I can do it. I’m more motivated than ever!
Then and Now
Since I’ve hit 1,000 miles and am currently days away from being at the official halfway point, I thought it would be a good time to revisit my first blog post to see if my reasons for and concerns about hiking the AT have changed or remained the same.
Why Hike the AT?
Then: Why not?
Now: Why not? It’s the next best thing to being a space marine.
Then: Bill Bryson
Now: Bryson’s still an influence!
Then: To prove everyone wrong.
Now: To prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. Except for be a space marine. That’s never happening.
Now: Life again has proven it’s too short not to go after/do the things you want. Someone I used to be very close to passed away suddenly while I was on trail. Another sad case of someone being taken before their time. More than ever I’m an advocate for not wasting precious time; life is just too short.
Now: What was I thinking?! I can’t even watch Paddington Bear without fear creeping over me!
Top Five Concerns:
–Not having access to make-up
–Dislike of/having to drink water
–Bears: Having seen my first (not at the zoo), I have determined the fear is just. The beast may have run away from me but now I know they’re out there. I can’t pretend they’re not in the vicinity anymore.
Mosquitoes: I’m not scrapping the devil spawns off the list. They’re relentless and pure evil. What I would like to do is add yellow jackets right beside mosquitoes because they’re pretty much one in the same. Why hasn’t anyone killed them off yet?
Being alone: I’m not a fan of sleeping alone. Bears, coyotes, strange noises, and just, well, it sucks. Luckily being alone was only for a short stint.
Phone battery dying: How am I supposed to Instagram or watch Insatiable without battery?
Getting fat: Hiker hunger sucks; I just can’t stop eating and I hate it. I love food but I’m petrified of gaining weight. Especially post trail. I’ve heard stories of hikers gaining a ton of weight because they go home and don’t know what to do with themselves. Adjusting back into normal life after spending 5+ months in the wilderness can’t be an easy thing. You also won’t be burning a million calories each day, slight overexaggeration but you get my point. I’m going to sign myself up to a half or full marathon when I get home so I’m forced to continue exercising and have something to work toward. Otherwise I’ll let myself be lazy and then I’ll be rolling down the street.
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