969.7 miles – Front Royal, VA
I’m nearly halfway.
For the last month, I’ve been racking my brain for how to explain my experience out here.
It has been beautiful, freeing, empowering, painful, and sometimes baffling.
I am unable, however, to explain why. For now, anyway.
In the meantime I thought it would be a great time to give you all a sense of my day-to-day trail life!
6:30am: Wake up to birds chirping and the sound of other hikers packing up their tents. I begin to pack up my things, which have all been organized into various stuff sacks (toiletries, electronics, clothes/pillow). Once everything in the tent has been packed, I move the pack outside of the tent and then deconstruct the tent. The entire process has become so efficient that I can accomplish all of this within 15 minutes.
6:45am: I retrieve my bear bag from a nearby tree branch and sort through what snacks I intend to eat that day: fruit snacks, snickers, salami.
7:00am: Eat breakfast, usually trail mix or pop tarts. Double check that my liter bottle is full of filtered water.
7:15am: Put pack on and begin hiking.
10:00am: Stop for a break at a beautiful view or a spot with good makeshift seating (aka log or rock). Eat half of my daily snacks.
10:30am: Check the next water source and then begin hiking again.
12:30pm: Lunch time! Usually cheezits, salami, and a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
1:30pm: Pack up food, put shoes back on, and begin hiking again.
5:30pm – 6:30pm: Begin looking for a campsite for the night.
Once I get to camp, I set up my tent first and unload my pack, making sure to remove any snacks and trash from the pockets (bears and mice can be real pests). Once my home for the night is set up, I cook dinner which generally ends up being a packet of ramen or Knorr pasta side with some extra snacks like salami or candy. My appetite is not as intense as other hikers’. I still eat relatively little compared to most everyone out here.
I clean my pot, place it in my bear bag, and hang it on a branch about 100 ft away from my tent.
9:00pm: When the sun sets, most hikers crawl into their tents to wrap up the day and go to sleep.
The next day, we wake up and do it all over again.
I’m almost to Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia, the mental halfway point (just shy of the actual halfway point).
I really can’t believe I’ve made it this far.
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