Day -1; From the Edge of the Trail

Well, here we are! On the car in the way to Georgia, 9 hours to go! A couple weeks ago I was getting sushi with some old friends (shoutout beastgate, iykyk), and one of them asked me “So, how are you feeling about this whole thing?” It sounds like a pretty simple question, but to be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it until then. And even when I started thinking about it, I never really had an answer. But I’m gonna try and walk through it as best I can.

The past few months have been kind of overwhelming. There’s been a lot of hiking, just getting out with weight on my back and just going as far as I can. Turns out, New Jersey isn’t the easier place to prepare for the AT. The most elevation I could get was about 40 feet, and even that was spread out over a few miles. So am I physically ready to go? Probably not. I’m probably gonna get my ass kicked for a while. But I guess that’s all part of the experience.

Outside of just hiking, I’ve also been able to do a ton of traveling, mostly to see friends and family before vanishing into the woods for 5 months. And as amazing as it is to see everyone, I couldn’t help but feel a little sadness every time. Every time I walked through somewhere, it felt like another last time for who knows how long. Every goodbye felt a little more permanent than it had before. “See you in a few weeks” turned into “see you at some point I guess?“ It was a lot, and while I’m incredibly grateful that I got to see so many people before I went, it kinda took a lot out of me to get through all of it.

And that brings us back to yesterday, where I finally made it down to Chesapeake and got ready to actually head down to Georgia. And of course, being in that state of mind always leads to the most logical and sane choices. So what did I decide to do? I shaved my head! No better way to drop weight than take off what probably added up to about 5 pounds of hair! Plus the aerodynamics!

And now back to the original question: How am I feeling? I think I may have something close to an answer now. It kinda feels like I’m running up to the edge of a cliff, ready to jump (with a parachute, duh). Sure, I’ve done all the prep work, gotten as ready as I can be. I’ve double checked and triple checked my parachute, planned for pretty much any which was this could go. But at the end of the day, I’m still about to run off a cliff. And that’s really, really scary. But I think I’m ready to take the jump.

 

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