Have You Kissed a Blaze Lately?


246 miles until the big finish. It’s hard to put into words what I’ve been feeling lately.

I want to be done, but I don’t want to be done at the same time. I’m very tired and the heat is taking it out of me. Maine is no cake walk. I was feeling very burnt out until Lakes of the Clouds hut in the White Mountains.

Pen-Dexter and Oh Yeah got to the hut first, so one of the members of the croo asked them if they wanted to do a Q & A session with the guests about the Appalachian Trail. Oh Yeah generously let me take his place. I regained some of my initial spark and love for the trail from verbalizing why I wanted to thru hike in the first place.

I also talked about how everyone around me is thru hiking, so it feels normal. Hiking every day has become routine. But sometimes, when I remember what I’m doing, I’ll look up, see a white blaze, and get the chills.

I kissed the first white blaze I ever saw on the trail. Since then when I get mad at the trail, or feel less than 100%, I’ll kiss a blaze to remind myself why I’m here.

After this talk at the hut, I realized I hadn’t kissed a blaze in awhile. I know this may seem dramatic and romantic to some but it grounds me.

I know when this crazy, stinky, life changing adventure is over I’m going to miss it. I’ll miss the people, the semi-quiet breakfasts in our sleeping bags, exercising everyday in God’s wonderful creation, long morning meditations and prayers, and I’ll especially miss seeing those white blazes everyday.

246 miles and I’ll be back at home to the welcoming hugs of my family. While I’m super excited to see everyone and to start schooling for my dream career… I’m even more excited to embrace/savor the last portion of my thru hike. I’ll be patient with myself more and my slower speed because of the darn rocks’n’roots. I’ll be more present and try to enjoy every moment for what it is, because before i know it, the #1 thing on my bucket list will be over.

From one adventure to the next !
Love ,


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Comments 3

  • Patti Yarbrough : Jul 18th

    Well said Toast! Tripper and I feel the same as you. We are in North Woodstock taking a zero and anticipating the “Whites”! We are both ready to be done but also love what we have haf the priviledge of doing everyday since Feb. 14. Home, friends and family will be there when we return. We want to savor and be present for the remaining 373 miles. You are an inspiration to us and we look forward to seeing your picture on Katahdin. Be safe, take care!


  • Joe Lovorn : Aug 8th

    Hello Toast, my wife, daughter and I were at Lakes of the Clouds the evening that you and Pen-Dexter gave your talk – we were very impressed with both of you, great job and thanks for being so generous as to share your time and experiences with a bunch of wannabes. Have you finished yet?


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