In the Home Stretch
We have just 300 miles left to complete our journey. Chilli and I are loving the changing colors of the leaves and the cool, crisp days. We have had some some cool, rainy days, which make for great hiking days. Many people do not like hiking in the rain, but we love it. There are very little bugs, the temps are wonderful for making good miles, and it is so amazing at the end of the day to snuggle down into the sleeping bags and finding that perfect, sweet sleeping spot. The only issue is crawling out of the little cocoon we’ve created to a chilly morning.
We have made so many really good friends during our journey. We have spent the past few days slackpacking with Rob Bird. I first met Rob in 2012 in Dalton, MA. He owned the Bird Cage hostel and the way you knew a guy had been there was the hiker was sporting a Mohawk when he left. While we’ve been here, Grub and Chilli both got Mohawks. They look amazing! Rob has given 18 years to the trail in the form of owning a hostel to performing trail magic to thousands of hikers. We’re enjoying our little trail family of Grub, Toots, Trey, and Porcupole. Most likely we will go sepuways on Sunday when we leave the Birdcage south and head into Hot Springs, NC. We have had so many fun days of slackpacking with them.
Thinking of the Final Summit
When we think of the last few weeks, we are filled with a mixture of emotions. Personally, I’m very excited and proud of the journey I’ve been on; however, I’m also longing to see my family. I’ve missed my grandbabies, my husband, and furbabies. My husband has planned a seven-day Caribbean cruise for us so we can spend some good quality time together, and I cannot wait to go. I am also going to be welcoming a new grandson into the world the first week of December. I will not have much time to miss the trail or the friends I’ve made. I know post-hike depression is a real thing and I will do my best to keep it at bay.
This journey has been the single most life-changing journey I’ve ever done. I look back on the 1,800 miles or so and realize the obstacles I’ve overcome; whether it’s mountains or miles or physical difficulties and realize that there have been so many more amazing days than there have been challenges. Sitting by the fire at the end of a chilly hiking day with a cup of hot tea and good friends sharing stories is what life is all about. It’s not about what kind of vehicle I drive or how big my house is, it is about the people who surround me and being in the moment. Too often I am not living or even enjoying the moment when I’m at home. I’m worried about too many things that are not even in my control. On this journey, I have learned just how big my God truly is, how to appreciate the smallest elements of life, and how to truly be thankful for living each moment.
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