I intended to write a reflections post, yet over a week went by and I wasn’t called to do so. Now I am camping, albeit with my car, and it feels right.
The Green Tunnel
I never got tired of walking through the forest. Perhaps it was growing up in the high desert, which had simply sage and juniper, or it was an undiscovered thirst for green. Either way, evergreen trees and vibrant moss covered rocks fascinated me. Even more I enjoyed the multitude of creatures that thrived in the forests; a huge variety of frogs, toads, snakes, salamanders, and birds. The Eastern Red-Spotted Newt became my favorite.
I became part of an awesome trail family. We laughed and had adventures together. When the trail got tough, we encouraged one another to keep going. It also made the trail easier because we watched out for one another and shared expenses. Several times family or friends visited tramily members and helped all of us. There were other thru hikers I got to know as well. I am grateful for all these new friends.
I did a lot of food planning, embellishing skills I used on the Colorado Trail with the guidance of a dietitian (backcountryfoodie.com). My Dad did an amazing job of mailing my resupply boxes. For the most part, I interspersed boxes with town resupplies in order to vary my meals. Trail magic and large meals in town helped to up my calorie intake. It worked, I maintained my weight and energy level!
Thanks to Ricky the Ridgerunner, whom I met in the Smoky Mountains, I was introduced to Leave No Trace techniques for disposing of toothpaste. I tried swallowing it and was not a fan, yet when I spit it in a bag I worried it would leak. In the end, I gave swallowing another try, determined not to spit my toothpaste on the ground. It really wasn’t that bad, especially as I could remain cozy in my tent on the many nights I forgot to brush my teeth until I was inside. (Yes, I didn’t store my toothpaste in my Ursack at night).
Stellar Trail Community
The trail magic on the AT was amazing! It was from church groups, previous thru or section hikers, trail volunteers, and folks living nearby. The friendliness, advice, and generosity were heartwarming. In addition, I hitched many times with other thru hikers. Two standout hitches were a woman who picked us up in the pouring rain and another woman who removed two car seats to fit four of us.
Ready for another trail
The trail was an amazing experience! I loved waking to flowing streams, new vistas, or the thump of falling pinecones. I left with an inner calm, greater self confidence, and increased patience. Even as I hiked up Katahdin, I knew I wanted to do another long trail. Currently my sights are set on the PCT and I will be registering for a permit in October.
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