Hello North Carolina! Got any Sunshine to Spare?
Two common phrases come to mind in describing these last few days on the trail. “Embrace the suck” and “No pain, no rain, no Maine.” But lots of rain, wind, and cold temps haven’t dampened OneFoot’s resolve. He hikes on.
Embrace the Suck
On day seven, OneFoot was hiking from Low Gap to Unicoi Gap. He was definitely embracing the suck and reported that he would remember this day as his benchmark for that phrase. He arrived at the shelter, got out of his wet clothes, into dry ones, and climbed into his sleeping bag to keep warm. The problem was it was only 11 a.m. Again, he finished up his planned mileage early in the day. I let him know by text that Nemo, a fellow hiker who we’d corresponded with but hadn’t met, had an extra bed in his Hiawassee motel room. Ray’s initial reaction was “no way, I’m not leaving this bag.” A few minutes later some other hikers arrived at the shelter. They announced they were “getting the f*&% out of here” and heading into to town. In an instant, Ray changed his mind. After putting the wet hiking clothes back on and quickly packing up, the small group made for town. They covered the three miles to the road in less than hour and just in time for a local, who just happened to be driving by, to give them a ride. Trail angel for sure! In town, he finally met Nemo, who is a fellow Connecticut DOC retiree. Their paths never crossed in their careers but we hoped they would on the trail.
Big milestone for OneFoot when he crossed from Georgia to North Carolina. He’s had a hard time holding back on the miles and he’s been slowly taking the brakes off to increase his daily mileage. The mileage increase isn’t about getting anywhere fast. It’s about hiking his natural pace. He’s been doing about ten to 12 miles a day now. which feels good to him.
It’s About the People
OneFoot has met and shared time with so many great people already. Their stories are inspiring, like the woman who was recently diagnosed with ALS. Her doctor told her to walk, so she and her son are walking… as far as they can on the AT. We can only imagine that their journey is as much about their time together as it is about staying physically active. And, as I posted on Facebook, OneFoot met Tom Kennedy from Hike for Mental Health. It’s awesome when people find a way to combine a passion with a cause to really make a positive difference in this world. Tom is one of those people. One of the gifts the trail offers is time; time to think, to reflect, and (most especially) time to connect with others. How often in our everyday lives do we have, or take, the time to really hear someone’s story, to really connect with them? And how much better would this world be if we did that more often?
Time for a Zero
It’s time for a day of rest. OneFoot is planning a zero day, finally. As the name implies, a zero day is day in which you hike zero miles. This can be taken on the trail or off (at a motel or hostel). A nero day is nearly a zero, hiking just a few miles. Hiking every day since March 15 has Ray feeling some bumps and bruises. Time to take a day, get a shower, do laundry, enjoy a meal or two out… and rest! I appreciate that he’s listening to his body. This isn’t a sprint and he’s got all the time he needs to get to Maine.
OneFoot has been sending pics, some of which I have shared with those following on Facebook (OneFoot’s AT Adventure). From day one I have noticed a change in his smile. His new smile seems to be coming from deep within his soul and shines through his eyes. Just pure joy and peace. It brings tears to my eyes to see this change in him with only two weeks on the trail. Slowly, we are seeing the evolvement of Ray Galli 3.0.
Next time we’ll share some of the places of interest along the AT in North Carolina that OneFoot looks forward to seeing. Real soon now, OneFoot will be meeting up with our dear friends from Connecticut. Kitty and Elmer are charter members of Team OneFoot and I know they’re all looking forward to their time together.
Until the Next White Blaze,
OneFoot and Should be Good
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