Day 127 – New Perspectives

Rain drizzled in the early morning hours as I woke up in my tent behind the VFW in Manchester. It was 7:30 and according to my weather app the rain was supposed to stop in about an hour. I got up and walked down the street for McDonald’s breakfast (twice in 24 hours isn’t too much right?)

Groundhog met me there not too long after and we got better acquainted. He had to head to the outdoor store after but they didn’t open until 10. I left and went back to pack up and get a hitch back to trail. While still in town, walking towards the direction of trail, a guy in a parking lot asked if I was a thru-hiker and offered a ride back. Manchester had been one of the easier towns to get a ride in/out of.

At the trailhead, there was trail magic set up out of the back of an SUV. Sadly I was so full from breakfast and my pack full (and heavy) from a resupply all I had room for was a banana for the road (trail). The uphill out of town was not a bad hike. After 3 miles  I was at the top of Bromley Mountain. It’s the top of a Ski Resort that has a warming lodge they keep open for thru-hikers in the off season. Inside I caught up with Neo, and two new friends “Foxtrot” and “Corndog.”

I took some photos of the ski lifts and of the mountains as the clouds cleared. I got back to hiking after a quick snack break around noon. 14 miles stood between me and a shower and a bed to sleep in.

I had some reflection time after listening to the first few chapters of Jordan Peterson’s “12 rules for life.” One of the things I thought about was having an obligation to put good out into the world. I describe myself to be a fairly happy-go-lucky person. I have low stress and generally a minimal amount of worries in life.

That’s all by design because that’s what I wanted and cultivated for myself. In fact, much of what I’ve done in my life is because it directly benefits me. To a point, why shouldn’t it? We all live our own individual lives, and nobody is gonna look out for number one any better than you can do for yourself. While that’s true, and something that I believe, I do feel like we should also aspire to more.

Some of the people I most highly regard are those who have the ability (someone would call it charisma) to make you feel like you’re the only person in the room.  You can tell it immediately, even if you’ve just met this person. They seem to hang on your every word, look you in the eye, and really listen. I’m sure there’s more to it than just that, but those are the characteristics I can pinpoint in this moment.

I deeply aspire to be one of those people, but genuinely this time, not for my own benefit, but for the benefit of others. I’ve felt the impacts and boosts in self worth one can have from conversations like that. To be  a catalyst of positive inspiration and self confidence for the others in the world seems like a truly noble aim.

There’s a Ghandi line that is often misquoted as “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  I tried to remember it while walking and what I came up with was “Be the joy you wish to spread in the world,” which I like even better. That kind of makes ‘Joy’ sound like a disease. But it’s still a statement I aspire to. We’d be better off if a COVID-19 level of joy came to infect this world.

The 14 additional miles to county road 10 were meh. I fell for the first time in a long time. My third fall on the trail thus far. I had slipped on a rock in my new shoes. They’re not as wide as the Altra’s I’ve been wearing. I think the lack of surface contact of a narrower shoe on the rock led me to slip.

The shoes also have a higher center of gravity and I’ve found I roll my ankles easier if I’m not paying attention to where I’m stepping. I also had some minor right knee pain. Hopefully this is just me breaking in and getting used to a new shoe type. On a positive note the bounce and cushion from the shoe is top notch.

I arrived at county rd 10 just after 7PM and and my host for the evening, Jennifer, was waiting for me. She used to run a hostel in Manchester and has since moved, but still hosts a couple hikers per year. I was able to do laundry and she had made an amazing pot of chili that warmed my soul. We had a good conversation about the trail and how my hike had gone. Around 10PM I sunk into a bed that surrounded me like fluffy clouds.

Tomorrow could be a 22 mile day trail and body permitting.

Stow away in my pack for day 128 on the Appalachian Trail

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Comments 11

  • Chris : Aug 20th

    “To be a catalyst of positive inspiration and self confidence for the others in the world seems like a truly noble aim.” I think you’re kind of doing that right now!

    • Derek Witteman : Aug 22nd

      Thanks for the feedback. It’s harder to recognize the impact when you’re not the one being impacted.

  • Jim Leckie : Aug 20th

    Hi Derek, I’ve been following several bloggers on the AT, but I must say that I enjoy your daily reports the most. I’ll be following you all the way to Katadin. 👍

    • CB : Aug 21st

      “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”~
      Howard Thurman
      Hike on!

    • Derek Witteman : Aug 22nd

      Thanks for the follow Jim!!

  • JB : Aug 21st

    I’ve been following your journey and enjoying your posts. Thanks for giving us a look into your hike! It seems like you have been separated from your tramily since your break with your GF? Any chance you will catch back up to them?

    • Derek Witteman : Aug 22nd

      I had caught up to Rabbit in PA. I’ve only been solo for the last week or two and that’s more about self exploration for these last couple states

  • Bob : Aug 21st

    Have you caught up with Jon ? Who blogs also it seems you are basically at the 1677 mile marker with 521 miles to go as of today

    • Derek Witteman : Aug 22nd

      I keep hearing that, not yet but I think we’re close

      • JB : Aug 23rd

        I think you are truly right on his heels. He summitted Killington within the past day or so and is taking a nearo at The Inn at the Long Trail. I hope both of you will be safe crossing at Stony Brook.


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