The Journey South: Driving Down From Maine to Georgia
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.– Robert Frost
The past few days have flown by. I’m sitting in a hotel room that my Dad and I split, somewhere north of Atlanta and about an hour south of the Amicalola Falls approach trail. It’s taken three days, 22 hours of driving, and a whole lot of coffee to make it here, but we made it. Tomorrow my adventure begins – I will begin the journey north, pausing frequently to catch my breath as I climb the steps paralleling Amicalola Falls and proceeding to the summit of Springer Mountain. By the time I reach Katahdin this trip south will pale in comparison to the rest of the journey, but in this moment it seemed quite long.
Amanda and I both knew it was our last full day together for a while, but we didn’t let that get in the way of enjoying a beautiful Maine afternoon. I spent the morning in a Biddeford coffee shop called Elements, working on blog posts and plotting out mail drops while Amanda went to her classes. Once she got out we spent a little more time studying (the student life – something I’m both looking forward to and dreading about starting at BU in the Fall) and then went out for Thai food in Portland.
One of the things that makes this trip easy for both of us is the end game. Right now we have been making the drive from Connecticut to Maine every couple of weekends, but this Fall we’ll both living directly off of the same Amtrak line that has a great discount for students. It definitely doesn’t make the distance easy, but it’s certainly a positive to look forward to.
In the morning we met Amanda’s family (sister, sister’s boyfriend and mom) for lunch at a brewpub and headed into Kennebunkport, Maine. Apparently the popularity of beach going plummets when it’s cold enough for spilled water to turn into ice before it hits the ground – who knew? Out of the entire town we found maybe three or for shops that were open. Most of them were selling beach novelties: a spatula shaped like a lobster, animal collars with fish shapes on them, etc. After putting around for an hour we parted ways with her family (thanks for the well wishes) and spent the rest of the day together back in Biddeford, where Amanda made Siracha-Honey wings (something I definitely won’t get on the trail).
After dinner, a very difficult
goodbye see you in a couple of months, and a coffee pit stop I hit the road to Connecticut, leaving Maine around 10:00pm and arriving back home in Connecticut at 1:30am on the 1st. In typical Connor fashion I had yet to pack anything, so I spent an hour packing my bag before I got to bed around 2:30am.
90 minutes later I was awake; static radio chatter broke the silence as my out of tune alarm clock woke me up. My Dad and I met my sister Erin and my Mom at a Diner at 4:30am where we grabbed some food while Erin and I exchanged gifts. Erin turns 21 in four days (how is that possible????) and unfortunately I’ll be missing it, but I’ll make it up with another open tab on Connor in the future. I won’t say what I got her, as she hasn’t opened it yet, but Erin pulled out all the stops and managed to land one of the greatest gifts given to anyone in the history of time – a commemorative UConn 2014 National Championship basketball signed by the entire championship team.
The rest of the day was all driving, followed by more driving, with some driving periodically parsed in between that busy schedule. We drove 13 hours down the coast (somehow crossing through both NYC and DC) to my Uncle Steven’s place in North Carolina, where he lives with my Aunt Liz and their kids Chris and John. Visiting them was great – we don’t get to see them that often because of how far away they are, but it was great to spend some time with them and have a great meal. Chris and John – if you guys are reading this – I’ll make sure to brush up on my Magic the Gathering skills for next time, and it was great seeing you guys!
Today has been nothing but more driving (the last seven hours from North Carolina to Georgia) and my attempting to
catch up binge on House of Cards before I leave. I got up to episode 8, so please don’t spoil it anybody or else we can’t be friends anymore. Once we crossed over into South Carolina (my first time in the state) the weather took a turn for a better – no more crazy ice storms and fog with 10 feet of visibility! Georgia was much of the same – clear skies, upper 50s temperatures and oodles of strip malls. We did some last minute shopping (somehow I managed to forget to grab: first aid supplies, moleskin, coffee, tea, camp shoes, and a dozen other things) and grabbed indian food for dinner (praying that it doesn’t come back to haunt me) before coming back to the hotel to relax.
And now we’re here.
There are no more words to write. Tomorrow morning we will drive the last hour to the approach trail, where I’ll sign the official register, snap a few sentimental photos, and begin this great journey north. Thank you to everyone that has read along and sent your support this far, and I hope you will join me as I hike up to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. I will leave you for now with some words from the great poet Robert Frost. Some people find them sad, but I find them encouraging. It reminds me that there will be time where derailing or quitting will be tempting, but those options can’t be considered. For I will have miles to go before I sleep.
Whose woods these are I think I know.His house is in the village though;He will not see me stopping hereTo watch his woods fill up with snow.My little horse must think it queerTo stop without a farmhouse nearBetween the woods and frozen lakeThe darkest evening of the year.He gives his harness bells a shakeTo ask if there is some mistake.The only other sound’s the sweepOf easy wind and downy flake.The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.– Robert Frost, Stopping Through Woods on a Snowy Evening.
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