Day 84 – A Great Day To Quit

Day 84

Start: Harpers Creek Shelter

End: Reeds Gap, VA 64

Miles Hiked: 8.1

Miles on AT: 845.6


We awoke in the morning submerged in a puddle in our tent. Well, really, Janitor’s pack and shoes (that he’d brought inside to keep dry) were in a puddle. It stormed a lot last night and rained basically the whole night. Our mistake was sleeping with our packs downhill instead of uphill. Our packs pushed into the wall of the tent, allowing water to fall in through the mesh. Oh, well.

Our first task of the morning was to mop up the puddle with the help of our reusable, absorbent dishcloths. Janitor and I both carry our own because they are so light and so helpful. They really come in handy in the rain and we were able to dry our tent in no time.

With that issue taken care of, we got out and began our day. Today was a bit different than what we had planned. We were supposed to hike about 15 miles and camp, but Janitor was ready to throw in the towel. He wasn’t having fun on the hike anymore, so he was ready to leave the trail for good at the next road crossing.

This wasn’t unexpected. The AT is brutal. It chews you up and spits you out and puts you through a lot of physical and mental challenges. We had known for a while that he wasn’t fully enjoying the experience, so I fully supported his decision to leave the trail. I was just glad that he attempted the hike and hung in there for hundreds of miles. We made amazing and unforgettable memories with each other along the way. I will miss him when he’s back home, but I’m glad he made the decision that was right for him.

With that decision made, we started our big climb of the day. The mood was light because Janitor was no longer burdened by the thought of having to hike a long day. At the top, we took a good long break, then continued on.

The day really was beautiful. One common piece of advice that hikers dole out is  “Never quit on a bad day.” Today certainly wasn’t that.  The rain from the night before had lowered the temps, the sun was hidden behind fluffy clouds, and we had some amazing views to mark Janitor’s farewell.

As we were approaching the final road crossing of Janitor’s hike, we ran into a trail worker picking up trash – just like Janitor did on his hike! The last 200 yards were lined with beautiful white flowers and ripe berries for the picking.

It was a great day to quit.

We got a ride to town and celebrated with lunch at The Fishin’ Pig. It was sooo good! I ate every last bite of that meal. Janitor wore a huge smile the whole time. He was free! Tomorrow we’ll take a zero day while we figure out our next steps.


And that’s day 84.


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Comments 2

  • Holly : Jul 11th

    Carry on! Really enjoying your posts.

  • Michael T Bingham : Jul 13th

    I really enjoy your posts! I’d like to think I could hike the full AT, but just three days on the trail a few years ago convinced me I would not last a week. Stay strong!


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