Dream come true
Sitting here on the deck at Qu’s Whistle Stop Restaurant in Vermont soaking up the early evening sun on a cloudless day and it just hit me; I’m living the dream. My dream. This trail isn’t always easy. I don’t always want to wake up at 6 am and pack up all of my belongings and carry them on my back for miles and miles and miles until I decide I have gone far enough for the day. I don’t always want to eat another poptart for breakfast or Ramen noodles for dinner. I don’t always want to poop in a hole or a smelly privy or go for days without showering or doing laundry. I don’t always want to be away from my husband, my dogs, my family and friends. I don’t always want to be hiking the AT but today I do.
The end is near
I made it through the rest of Virginia, and all of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and I’m currently more than half way through Vermont. I have set a goal to summit Katahdin on August 6th which will mark 5 months on the trail. That is only 37 days from now and time seems to be speeding up as I near the end of this journey. There are many many things that I’m looking forward to. I will be getting together with some family for the 4th of July and getting a little break from trail life. Shortly after that I will be entering the White Mountains which promise to have some of the most spectacular views. Then comes Maine and the 100 mile wilderness. My dad will be joining me for this stretch of the trail that comes just before the terminus at Katahdin. I can’t put to words all the emotion that bubbles up when I imagine what it will be like to stand atop Katahdin. Or how I feel when I imagine what it will be like to be back at home with my husband who I won’t have seen for 3 months by the time he meets me at Katahdin. But there is still 500 miles of trail left between here and there and I’m hopeful it will be just as good as the last.
Recap on the last 500 miles
First and foremost I made it to Harpers Ferry! This is the psychological and historical halfway point of the trail and it’s tradition for hikers to get their pictures taken in front of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and get their # to mark their place on the trail. I was the 299th northbound thru hiker to pass through Harpers Ferry this year.
Maryland flew by with a lot of stumbling on rocks and then came PA. Despite all the hoopla about the Pennsylvania rocks I found that it was actually my favorite state so far and most of it wasn’t actually rocky although since it’s over 200 miles long there were plenty of rocks. I can and will dedicate an entire post to the glory that is PA but for now here are a few highlights.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is the closest civilization to the official half way point and home to the Half Gallon Challenge. To become an official member you must eat an entire three pint tub of ice cream plus an extra hand scooped pint to equal a full half gallon. I completed the challenge with raspberry and vanilla in 55 minutes. I had never truly experienced a sugar high before this. No regrets.
Southern PA is the land of fields and as a farmer at heart I was in love!
And then there were the rocks.
The rocks really do destroy shoes. The sole peeled right off my second pair of trail runners and I am currently on my fourth pair of shoes which is almost ready for retirement.
New Jersey is top on my list of least favorite states and in my opinion the rocks sucked way more in New Jersey. But there were also some lovely lakes and views. It’s always give and take with the AT.
New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were all a blur as I flew through them so fast rocking a lot of 20 plus mile days. Now I’m loving Vermont and being back in the real mountains. Once again I’m up well past hiker midnight so this is all for now. Perhaps I can use some of my relaxing July 4th vacation to get another post out but I won’t make promises. I may be too busy eating lobster 🙂
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