What Lies Ahead
I’m out of The Smokies. I spent a night on top of Max Patch and watched the sunset and sunrise for my best friend’s birthday. I consumed a bacon cheeseburger, pizza, wings, jalapeño poppers, and cheese sticks for lunch. I am sitting on the porch of The Laughing Heart Lodge and feel completely out of place. I’m afraid if i touch something, I will break it. I went and bought a dress to wear for my first zero day just to feel back in place and not stink so much. I sat on the shower floor for 30 minutes and just let the hot water pelt me. Being in town feels so weird after not even 3 weeks on the trail. I am calm.
I reflect on my past 2 and a half weeks on the trail, and I am happy. I am a human jukebox on the trail. I think a lot. I am constantly hungry. I sleep like a baby. I am non-stop from 6am to 8pm every day. I miss my family, but I cope and try to make them proud even though they may or may not understand what I’m doing.
I absorb moments like the one I had on Max Patch. You realize there is peace. You realize the world can be quiet. You realize the basics in life and that is all you need to survive. You realize the world is your television and your mind is your radio. You realize there are people just like you out there. You realize there is nothing to be afraid of.
As I sit on the porch of this lodge in an actual chair, I think about what lies ahead. My husband is going to shuttle us ahead to make trail days, and we’ll come back for the “yellow blazed” section. In just a few short weeks, everything I know about this trail will become a mystery to me as I enter unknown territory. I have been in my comfort zone since I’ve been on the trail. I have hiked all of the parts of the trail I have already been on, and I am excited about the unknown that lies past McAfee Knob.
As weird as it feels to take my first zero day tomorrow, I am beyond excited to cuddle with my husband and son as I wait for them on the porch of this lodge.
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