Go Time: Musings From a Midnight Bus to Georgia
It’s that time, boys and girls. In less than 36 hours, Groot and I will be past the dreaded steps at Amicalola and on our way up Springer Mountain. Six hundred and four steps sound like quite the daunting task… but, believe me, it’s child’s play compared to 20-plus hours of sitting on a bus. My ass already hurts and I’m not even halfway there. Also, four-hour delays at a bus stop are a blast; sorry, dear, I do not have $5 to give you as I now live in the woods.
While sitting here in this bus seat losing feeling in my lower extremities, I got to thinking that you readers probably don’t know a ton about me. Who am I and why am I toting a little sapling 2,200 miles to Maine? Why haven’t I posted anything since December? All things that I’m going to touch on here tonight.
Hi, I’m Jon
Growing up, I was always the shy, awkward kid who nobody ever really knew. I was always good with a joke when I needed to skirt a social situation and could pass a test with little effort. To get my full attention, one had to either challenge me or intrigue me enough to teach myself (hello mathematics and nerdy documentaries). Needless to say, that mind-set led to many stop-and-goes in my early adulthood: quitting college when I had a full ride (just haaad to make that money at KB Toys, don’t judge. Remote-controlled cars), a failed marriage (young and dumb), moving from West Virginia to Indiana to California and back to West Virginia after struggling (even failing a few times) to keep my head above the proverbial water. For the sake of clarity, I wouldn’t change a thing. The lessons I’ve learned along the way not only give me perspective on things that some people wait their whole lives for, they also make me yearn for more perspective, to learn life’s secrets inside and out. Which leads me to:
Dear God, man, 2,200 miles?
People have asked me the typical questions for months: Aren’t you afraid? How is this possible? Do you have all of your gear? Are you carrying a gun? Are you insane? To which my answers are: No, anything is possible with the mental makeup, yes, no, and maybe, depending on whom you ask. My reason for doing this is pretty simple: I’ve fallen into a pretty deep mental rut and need the clarity that only being in wilderness has provided in my life. Living by myself in a rural area, 30 minutes from anything, in a run-down rental, with vehicle issues, with a stressful job, with awkward social skills degrading by the day from barely doing anything but work, have all dug that personal rut fairly deep. Hiking the Appalachian Trail has always been the smallest of thoughts in my head since my teenage years, but I finally grew the cojones to finally commit in November. Life finally got me down and I literally need this as you’ll see in my upcoming posts from the hike. Which finally leads to:
Where have you been since December?
When I was chosen to write this blog for The Trek, I instantly wanted to give you readers a different perspective, something that you can feel deep, even with a laugh. After my first three entries, I felt that I could best do that closer to trail time. My goal from here out is to give you a weekly look at what being out there is from my perspective: something real to grasp hold of if you’re going through the same struggles and are thinking of big changes, something to laugh at if you need a chuckle on a bad day, just something from a regular guy with everyday feelings, for better or worse.
So here it starts. I’ll leave you guys with a quote that I came up with to write on the Springer trail log: ”Here’s to six months of glorious hardships and beautiful simplicity!”
Now time to switch to my other ass cheek on this bus. Ugh.
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From one who has experienced bus-butt in the company of hippies and freaks, and being the introverted misfit of the family who sought “something” in a way off land (California in my case, those 55 years ago), I’m so looking forward to your journey over the trail and into your self. It will be extraordinary, I am sure, and restorative. Go in excitement and wonder and openness.