365 days ago I was in Baxter state park.
365 days ago I was climbing Katadin.
365 days ago I became Chickenfat.
It has been one year since I started my Appalachian Trail journey. I expected the trail to change me physically and mentally but I never imagined the trail would change my life. Alter the course of Chris-kind forever, for the better or the worse, depending on who you ask.
In a year I’ve seen marmots, moose, loons, and rattlesnakes. I’ve seen mountains so high that would make you wonder if it can they touch the sky and distant objects on the horizon become monstrous windmills. I’ve felt nature’s embrace in the form of freezing snow and relentless heat of the desert.
In one year I’ve done things I never could have imagined. I couldn’t fathom hiking 20 miles in a day, much less 40 miles in one single day, much less two 40 milers back to back. I’ve pushed my body to the brink of being broken, through shin splints, ass chafe, pack rash, lacerations and the never ending supply of aches and pains. I’ve fallen, and fallen, and fallen, and got back up every time cherishing the opportunity for a new story.
I’ve slept under the stars, tents, shelters, rocks, umbrellas and trees. I’ve been lulled to sleep by crickets and awoken by motherfucking trains. I’ve laughed so loud valleys have echoed with reverberations, and been so depressed a lonely mountain tear rolled down my face
I won’t ever know how each experienced changed me. I won’t be able to tell you how each additional ingredient added to the flavor of my stew. All I know is that I am who I am now. I can only try to channel my experiences and become stronger from these trials and tribulations that I overcame. Understand that each time I face a problem, I can solve it by being the person I’ve created. I worked hard to become who I am, a person capable of being alone for days and suppressing endless hunger pains. I am capable of pushing myself till I can’t breathe, and hiking even further than I ever have before. This person I created over 365 days ago is a completely different being than the one that climbed Katadin. The person I created is an unformed figure who is ever changing, and unlike the trails, Chickenfat’s journeys will never end.
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