Glamper is off the trail….but happy!!
I have gotten off the trail. I heard so many stories of why folks leave the trail before finishing the entire thing. If I had to point to one thing that finally took me off the trail it would be the cold nights. Plus the fact that I feel I got what I need from the trail. I think I am more of a section or day hiker and hope to still see some other parts of the trail once it is warmer.
The actual goal of hiking the whole trail is something I feel I do not need to achieve. I have been an achiever my whole life, and I don’t have to attain every goal I set anymore. The reason I chose a thru-hike is that for an older woman going solo the Appalachian Thru-hiker season is perfect for assuring that I am not alone. This worked out great, I had company from the very start!
But it’s more than that. I heard so many folks stories of why they wanted to do the trail, and I had my own reasons. Many of my reasons can be accomplished in other ways. Less addiction to the internet, my phone, television, news, politics. Less complexity in my life. Removing myself from the noise was really really nice. Just the woods, and people on a common mission.
The people were neck and neck with the peace and views as the best part of the experience. Walkabout, Kahoda, Water Squatter, Diane and Michael, Mornin’ Wood, Dragonfly, Spade, F*** It, others! What a great group of people the hikers are! As I exited the trail to return to real life, I had to walk back 5.5 miles to get to the closest road, and I ran into so many hikers who said, come on with us, join us, we’ll hike together.
It was hard but satisfying. Suddenly I went from every other day hikes with long rest days in between to hiking every single day, six days straight, one day off then another 4 days straight. It is hard and the muscles complain. I felt it in my thighs, my glutes, my calves, my feet, my hands (gripping the poles), my upper arms. But it was definitely doable, the body was getting used to the hiking itself. I do wish I had prepared harder; I wish I had hiked multiple days in a row, 6-8 mile hikes, rather than rest days between every hike while training. I think my body would have been more adjusted to days of hiking without rest days.
I have great respect for those who do the whole thing. Great respect!
The simplicity of dressing was something I loved. I knew every day what I would wear, what layers I could put on, what layers I could remove. I had one outfit for day and one outfit for night. It makes me want to donate 3/4’s of my clothes to simplify my life and I was moving toward more wool and less laundering as I was preparing for this hike. This simplicity of dressing is something I hope to take with me. How great to always have with you everything you need to survive and nothing more.
I gotta say something for the P-Style. I have never had such an easy time of going to the bathroom in the woods, in the privies, without having to sit or squat. Please women, check it out, it is a game changer. I am likely to use these going forward for any nasty place where I have to go.
I also loved such a simple life. Check out FarOut, figure out the goal for the day, for the week, check atweather.org, know where you will sleep each night. Just a few decisions to make and then just hike, stop for views, stop for chats with other hikers, stop for snacking. Life was simple.
Will I hike some more? Of course! Will it be the Appalachian Trail? Probably, among other trails, but I may go for section hikes that go more with my name, Glamper. I am for sure into my luxuries, most especially warmth at night! I feel more confident about hiking, my gear, my abilities than I did before this adventure for sure.
Thanks everyone for all the support and hope to see you out on a trail somewhere, sometime in the future!
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