A Tale of Two Thru Hikes
Hello from Vermont! It’s been a while since I last made a blog post. Towns with computers have been few and far between, and writing posts from my phone is kind of rough. Unfortunately, this computer will not let me upload any photos at all (it’s a dinosaur), which is super frustrating. Sorry!!
Since I got back on the trail, my hike has changed entirely from the way it was prior to getting injured and getting off the trail. Before I hurt my ankle, my hiking days were long and fast. I was ripping 25 mile days at an extremely fast pace day in and day out. I wasn’t really stopping to smell the roses, I certainly wasn’t appreciating the hiking, and I barely knew what was going on around me because I was so exhausted all the time.
When I got back on the trail, I knew I wanted my hike to be different. Before I got on the AT, I imagined the hike as an adventure, and instead of that, it had become a slog. I wanted the hike to be as magical as it was in Georgia, when everything was new and exciting. So I changed it up: I started hiking fewer miles, I stopped at views, and I’ve made time to meet new people.
It has made the trail infinitesimally more fun than it was. I have started saying “yes” to more things, like getting off trail to go to a lake house, or taking a spontaneous zero in a shelter on an extremely rainy day. As a result, my appreciation for the trail has strengthened. Slowing down has really allowed me to get a better feel for the culture of the trail and has forced me to witness the beauty of the trail all around me.
Regardless of that though, I am exhausted. I keep going back and forth feeling anxious to be done and feeling sad at the prospect of ending my journey. It is tough. The weather has been either relentlessly hot, or freezing and rainy. The trail is nothing but a pit of mud, and every day we just get dirtier and dirtier. My body constantly aches, especially my feet, who seem confused as to why we are still walking. The mountains are getting more challenging (albeit more beautiful) and sometimes I feel like I never stop climbing.
But despite the pain and the mud, I wouldn’t trade any of these days away. Being back on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail, especially, has been amazing. I am so much stronger now than I was when I hiked the Long Trail last year.
Anyway, I have 530 more miles to go. I am over three quarters of the way to Katahdin, where I will finally touch that sign. Slowly, one step at a time, I am getting there.
Peace and love,
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I read thru all the various comments (from Haters and others).
Avry: good luck with your hike and with your life. Learn from both–your life, and your hike. And learn from the haters, as well (even though I suspect some of their motivation originates in jealousy, there are still insights there that you can learn from). In order to learn from these things, you need both perspective and time to reflect. In other words, you can’t learn much right away, you will learn more later on. Your thru-hike is a great opportunity to reflect on college. Some time in the future will be a great opportunity to reflect on your thru-hike.
In the meantime, enjoy!