Started at Katahdin Now We’re Here
Here’s a summary of my first couple weeks on the trail.
Two weeks in and I have already seen some of the best scenic views of my life. Hiking up mountains one step at a time makes the views that much more satisfying. At times the views are so amazing they seem like a fake backdrop – many more to come.
The hiking community is unique. The fact that we’re all sharing a similar experience allows for everyone to get along. I have met people from across the world who are always quick to offer a helping hand, share snacks, and share laughs.
I have bruises, blisters, gashes, and rashes to prove it. The trail so far has been so rugged that nearly every single step must be planned precisely. Still, I have slipped and fallen numerous times on rocks, roots, and mud. I have spent more time looking down at the trail directly ahead of me than I have at my surroundings, which probably explains why I have seen more wildlife in my backyard. I am wondering if I should start putting money aside for knee replacements. Some say, “no pain, no rain, no Maine.” Suffering together with other hikers makes the experience more enjoyable. Speaking from experience, this challenge is different than that of running a marathon. I met a hiker who ran multiple marathons including Boston and NYC, completed triathlons, and said he was having an awful first day on the trail. Carrying a 30-50 pound pack up, down, and around the rugged Appalachian Trail day after day is something else.
I can count the number of days on one hand that I have put dry socks and shoes on. If not due to rain, you can count on hiking through water and mud. The best part is we just begin to accept the wetness and move on with life. I have considered stepping in water early every morning to take away the anticipation of it happening later in the day. The result of drenched feet and clothing is the worst smelling humans I have been around. Again, this becomes normal. I forget what normal people smell like until I am quickly reminded when passing a day hiker.
Recently celebrated a woman’s birthday (who we met a couple hours earlier) by using half a qtip as a candle, stuck into a snickers bar and singing happy birthday.
Urgently having to go number 2 when the outhouse was occupied and using a tree while getting mauled by mosquitoes and black flies in all areas imaginable.
Burning my sock by putting it too close to the fire in an attempt to dry it, but miraculously finding 1 random sock on the trail that I was happy to adopt until I arrived in town to buy new ones.
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity”
-Barbara De Angelia
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