All Good Things Must Come to an End
This was hard.
I was charged by a bear. I missed stepping on multiple rattle snakes and copperheads by sheer luck. I was so close to a lightning strike I tasted the electricity.
The bottoms of my feet and my legs ached at night. The tendons on my right foot swelled and became unbearably painful for three weeks. I lost all feeling and ability to bend my toes for a month.
I walked through torrential rain. I was chased across exposed peaks by thunderstorms. My feet, socks and shoes were soaked for weeks. I had to rinse out the mud at lunch and again at the end of the day to keep the mud in my shoes from rubbing my skin off.
I had mystery rashes. I lost count of the mosquito, gnat, black fly and deer fly bites. I breathed in gnats. I swallowed gnats, mosquitoes and black flies. I blinked gnats out of my eyes, snorted them out of my nose. I had a spider bite the size of a baseball.
I got sick. I was nauseous for multiple states. I was hungry even after I knew my stomach was full. I had a fever, and a runny nose and cough that stayed with me from New Hampshire almost through Maine.
I put in literal sweat, blood and tears.
But I would do it all again in a heartbeat if I could.
I met fascinating, smart, and friendly people from all walks of life. I learned to Texas Two-step. I sang my heart out and listened to so much amazing singing and guitar playing.
I had giggly nights at the shelter, and cherished the pleasure of company and meeting a stranger with a good story to tell.
I learned to appreciate the things I’d taken for granted in my regular life: being clean, dry, and warm; running water you don’t have to treat; an ice cold soda.
I got to wake up to bird song and cool clear morning air, and the promise that I’d see something new every day. I learned the art of just enjoying the moment, without a thought to what would have to happen after. I discovered just how resilient my body could be, and found a peaceful meditation in just putting one foot in front of the other, 12 hours a day.
I summited Mount Katahdin on July 31st, almost exactly 4 months from the day I started on Springer Mountain in Georgia. By the end, I dreaded the idea of being done almost as much as I looked forward to it. I can only promise that this was the very first of many more adventures to come, because the AT has spoiled me for any other kind of life.
“In proportion as he simplifies his life, laws of the universe will appear less comple x. And solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. That is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” –Henry David Thoreau, Walden
P. S. Six Strings I miss you!!!!!!
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