Challenges Are Worth It: An Update from Vermont

There’s no doubt that thru-hiking is hard. But here I am, with less than 500 miles to go, and the thought of quitting hasn’t crossed my mind once. For me, this thru-hike is something I’ve been dreaming about for years. I feel that some people are out here to prove something to themselves. This isn’t the case for me; I’m out here because I genuinely want to experience every part of this trail. I know I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process, but at the end of the day, there’s absolutely nowhere I’d rather be, no matter the circumstances.

Sunset on top of Mount Killington.

Rough Patches Happen

It seems the rain has been relentless this summer, with sometimes days upon days without letting up. Having wet feet for hours on end sucks… there’s no way around it. Climbing mountains in the fog, in water that’s at least ankle deep, with tender, aching feet can be summed up in one word: Ugh.

Yup, that’s Mount Greylock.

Right before the New York state line, Cobra and I were hiking together on and off, trying to get to the Warwick Drive-In (which is well worth the hitch into town!). He was ahead of me by a mile or two when a group of four-wheelers pulled up and asked me for directions. After politely telling them which direction I thought the road was, they thanked me and I started to walk away. It was then that one of the men pushed me, causing me to fall to my knees. My temper getting the best of me, I responded by calling him a “stupid piece of shit.” He then threw something at my head, which just grazed the top of my bun (that tangled mess is good for something). Thankfully, a family walked up from a side trail and the crew rode away. I texted Cobra and caught up with him quickly because I was a little shaken.

Hotel Transylvania after a stressful day.

Fast forward to Massachusetts. Cobra and I began feeling sick around the same time and zeroed in Lee. The next day, Cobra felt better and I decided to try to hike out with him. Nine-tenths of a mile later, I was sitting on the side of the road with my head between my knees. Climbing up I was close to tears, so frustrated from how weak I felt. After a few more days of weakness, dizziness, and fatigue I made the trip to Med Express. The doctor suspected Lyme and prescribed me a course of Doxycycline to take, as well as drawing a Lyme titer, which came back positive a few days later. The test for Lyme isn’t very conclusive; it can have false negatives and positives, but within five days of taking the antibiotic I felt an increase in my energy levels. Although now I’m struggling with nausea as a side effect of the medication, something I’m trying to decrease by adjusting what time I take it.

Gorgeous sunrise somewhere in Mass.

Hard Times Make the Good Days Better

Feeling sick has made me so thankful for the days I feel strong now. The four-wheeling assholes make me appreciate the kind, good-hearted people that I meet every other day- the people that pick us up for hitches, the angels giving out trail magic, the random people that buy you a beer at a restaurant. Lastly, those weeks of rain we endured just make me all the more elated for this beautiful, cool weather. I love this trail and I wouldn’t change or trade a single day I’ve experienced.

Some friends we made during a night in Kent, CT

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