2 Idiots in the Woods
GEORGIA NORTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE
That’s right, we finished 2 more states! What the what?! Just after entering VA, Corbob & I started realizing that if we continued any further on the trail we’d be hiking because we thought we owed it to ourselves or even to prove a few guys wrong who didn’t have faith in our adventure. That just no longer seems as important anymore. There is so much about this trail that I’m in love w/… & strangely enough, hiking has very little to do w/ it. We realized early on that we are not the long-distance backpacking type. For instance, if there is a cool waterfall a little ways off the trail, we’re gonna go exploring. If we reach the top of a bald w/ a clear view of all the mountains we may have trudged on & around just 6 miles into the day, we’re gonna stop & set up camp for the promise of a beautiful sunset & rise in the am (blame it on my daddy!). If we happen across a stream stocked w/ Brook Trout, we’re gonna take a few hour long break so beautiful man can catch the biggest of his favorite fish (true story!). You see, the miles don’t matter to us- they never really have. It seemed like the more we hiked in quantity the less we were enjoying the trip, & each other. I learned a lot about myself over the course of 2 months. I realized that my competitive nature still comes out strong as ever, even in the most peaceful of settings. I realized that I can hike up a fucking 6,643 foot mountain & continue on after reaching the top. I learned that all I want out of life is peace & love & simplicity & to make memories w/ the people I adore. I learned that a couple months in the middle of the woods was exactly what I needed to realize everything I want is always right there- right in front of me. It just takes patience & an open heart. I also realized a hell of a lot about Corbob. I now know that if I have a rash taking over my entire leg & spreading elsewhere & if I’m struggling to make it up a mountain because I can ‘feel it’, that he will then take my pack & carry both of ours up the last mile or 2 through the trail- even if I try my hardest to steal it back. I realized over time that while packing up our backpacks in the morning, Corey would casually take a few items that I’d usually carry & transfer them over to his bag to make my hike just that much easier & enjoyable (yeah, I noticed Corey!). I realized that whether it’s on the trail or off, all he wants in life is to make me happy & to fish.. Seriously, who could ask for anything more? I also learned that you can miss someone even when you’re w/ them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The days where we really tried to embrace our hiking personas were the toughest. As silly as it sounds, I’d spend the entire day staring at the back of Corey’s pack but couldn’t feel further from him. There are moments on the trip that I missed the special dates we’d take, the repeated cycle of movies we’d watch every night as I’d fall asleep on his chest, the goofy dance parties we’d have in the car while driving to God knows where. When we’d take the trail less serious, our relationship came rushing back & everthing I missed about beautiful man did too. I thought I’d come home from the trail w/ an epiphany about my life & I sort of feel like I have. Not necessarily as extreme as I had imagined, but I am so thankful for our walk in the woods & I’m excited to turn this thru-hike into a section hike. I’m excited to make hiking the Appalachian Trail a lifetime journey that I can take, side by side w/ my beautiful man every step of our life to come- actually sounds pretty damn perfect. Knowing that we can always escape the world for a little while to regain the simple qualities of life that we may have lost or started taking for granted. I’m excited to come back next year for a week, 2 weeks, or a month if possible & chip away at Virginia until we finally reach Katahdin. This way we can seriously slow down & stop & enjoy & continue to love every second. Our story is not impressive or insane or remarkable.. But it’s ours & it’s where we found happiness.
& for all those people who placed bets on us- This year we made it just past Damascus, VA & our relationship is stronger than ever! Thanks for playing.
So, obviously I wasn’t able to capture all of my AT thoughts in this blog (sorry!) but I did journal just about every day & thought it’d be fun to finish off our trip & help you guys see where my head was really at every step of the trail- literally 😉 So here’s 1 or 2 sentences/thoughts/emotions from each day on the AT from GA to VA!!
04/06- Man, am I emotional!
04/07- This is only the beginning- One day beautiful man & I will look back @ this trip as a pivotal moment in time that allowed us to grow closer & become better humans.
04/09- Oh my fucking God, what the F did we get ourselves into?!?
04/10- Right now it’s raining…
04/13- Rain for fucking days.
04/14- Woke up in the rain. Again.
04/20- We hiked about 10 miles in brutal monsoon rain- welcome to hell Traci!!!
04/21- Today was by far my favorite day on the trail! Beautiful views & I’m dry. What on earth is better than being dry?! Hint: nothing.
04/22- I have a tendency to over analyze emotions & interactions that are happening around me.
05/01- It’s May! That means baby Ollie will be here in less than a month- well, for Brit’s sake hopefully!!
05/02- Out of the Smokies! Best views by far but also some of the most freezing nights/mornings & the highest peak of the trail- Suck it Clingmans dome!
05/03- We spotted a juvenile black bear on one of our last up hills of the day. At first I was nervous that our huffing silently up the mtn could be mistaken as a surprise attack!
05/04- Max Patch Stole my heart. Sunset, full moon, sunrise on a bald w/ a 360 degree view… Come on, best day of my life.
05/06- Today was tough, let’s’ face it, every day is tough.
05/07- Today we hiked 5 miles uphill only to be greeted by a thunder/lightning/hail storm at the top of the mountain.
05/11- ‘Mys’ rash is certainly a mystery. A mystery that is taking over my right thigh..
05/12- I miss my sisters, dad & ma..
05/13- I want to slow down- take a step back & experience! Why is it normal to race through everything?!
05/21- Feels great to be back on the trail- so peaceful & perfect & where I want to be.
05/22- Last night we slept at a campsite all by our lonesome which means we woke up naturally to our own inner alarm clocks- well, I woke up to my inner clock & Corey woke up to me 🙂
05/23- My beautiful man built a beautiful fire on top of a beautiful mountain.
05/24- I sat on the remains of ‘Cloudland Hotel’ & meditated until I stretched out my achy body.
04/25- Man, do I feel dirty. Sort of like a combo of dryed sweat, sticky from anything I’ve touched ovet the last 5 days & stinky bits! Sexy kinda.
05/26- There is something so peaceful & sinister & wonderful about sitting in the woods @ night surrounded by silence w/ nothing but your tent as refuge from the world. I am still on edge each night. I mean, let’s be honest, there is so much unknown. Specifically times like just now when Corey offers to fill our water bladders tonight because there was a “really big brown spider” on the branch next to where he hung the filter only yards from where I’m sitting…. Perfect.
05/27- I fucking hate maintaining the fire. I kill it every single time Cobob leaves me in charge & then I’m left just sitting there in the dark until he comes & rescues me.
05/28- However, now as I’m journaling at 1:30 in the morning in a tent that I am finding less & less comfortable each night, surrounded by street lights & the orchestea of other hikers rustling in their tents trying to catch some ‘z’s’. I’m not sure which of the many reasons is giving me such a hard time- but I just want to sleep so we can have fun tomorrow on our day off!
05/29- Cramping, urge to vomit, nausea, headaches, chills & my body feels so weak! Norovirus makes sense though- our water filter was getting pretty gnarly & the water sources have been looking questionable lately. Beautiful man shuttled our asses 20 mins away to stay in a real hotel w/ a private bathroom that I could dry heave all night if need be. Sweet man.
06/02- I realized something today that I’ve been skirting around our entire trip. I don’t like hiking every day.
06/03- Maybe I’ve gotten what I needed out of the trail for now. Maybe I’ll need it again one day.
06/04- Time to do what makes our hearts happy. On to the next adventure- See you soon AT!
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