Still hiking, still having fun
I apologize for the lack of blog updates, I really wish I was better at journaling and keeping trail notes. I’m currently re-reading “The Maine Woods” by Thoreau and I’m really taken back by the way that he can take notes and document his travels. I guess that’s why he’s one of the best. Things have been pretty good on the trail. Over the past 3.5 months I have not only learned more about long distance hiking, but I have also learned a great deal about myself. I truly believe that nature inspires everyone in some fashion.
I was just off the trail for a few days to attend a wedding (congratulations Lucas and Jamie, you guys are awesome) and I had some opportunity to sit back and reflect over the last 3 months. I thought about what I have already got out of the trail and what I hope to get out of the trail from this point to the end. I had the opportunity to reflect on the real reasons why I am hiking. Some of the hiking, especially in Virginia, seemed like work and hiking to get to a destination rather than the journey. The last two months I want to get away from that. Osprey also sent me a new pack, so mine doesn’t smell like cat urine anyone. Thanks Osprey.
As for the trail update, almost done with New York. The remainder of Virginia went well. Shenandoah was a great park. Maryland had a memorable sunset, Annapolis Rocks. Thanks to Pickle, his family and friends we were able to get through Pennsylvania with awesome trail magic. Everyone says that Pennsylvania is a tough State due to the amount of rocks. Honestly, it’s rocky but nothing unbearable. Jersey was a quick state, three and a half days. Jersey was actually pretty impressive. You walk along a nice ridge for a while and there was plenty of trail magic. I’m looking forward to getting to New England.
A few quick stories:
If you want to hear a story that involves a hitch into Bueno Vista, a snapping turtle and a bath mat I can give you Wheels’ contact information. He tells it the best. I’ve been hiking with Wheels since the 500 mile mark. Great, great guy and honestly one of the funniest guys on the trail, hands down.
The first story is a selfless act that I witnessed. Pickle gave a father and son hiker duo the last of his duct tape so the father could tape up his shoes. Later that same day Pickle could have used that tape on some blisters that he had. He never once complained about giving away his tape. One of the many selfless acts that he has done while being on trail. I see you Pickle.
Second story. Yesterday while I was filtering water I met a family that was out hiking. They just began their 100 mile hike from the middle of New York to the border of Massachusetts/Connecticut. The 2 kids (boy and girl) had to share a tent, which the boy was not happy with, he let me know that. They had hiked 8 miles that day. The young boy, around 10 years old, was asking me all sorts of great questions. What do you eat? Where do you sleep? How much does your pack weigh? His last question was the one that got me. “Have you touched a cloud?” I stopped to think. My response was, “Yes actually, I believe I have. I also have been above the clouds”. He then asked “What’s that like?”. All I said was, “You’ll have to see for yourself one day.” He said, “Super cool.” After a long day of hiking through the heat this made my day. I really hope that family has a great time. This memories that this family will have will be great!
Okay, last story I promise. This one just happen this morning. I’ll make it quick. I just ran into Ralph, who is a 4,000 mile AT hiker and maintains the Ralph’s Peak Hiker Shelter. He also maintains a section of the AT and put in 14 switch backs. He originally was a IBM programmer before being a hiker. We talked for awhile and his last words to me were, “Kid, I like your style. Say Hi to Katahdin for me”. Check out the below link for more of Ralph’s story. Not only Ralph, but everyone that maintains the trails deserve the highest praise. Without them this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you all so much!
These small conversations with fellow hikers is what makes the trail a community.
Pro Hiker Tip: Someone recently just told me this. I’m pretty sure this person did some extensive research…Pickles can stop cramping in 85 seconds. 20x more sodium and 8x more potassium than regular sports drinks. Moral of the story…carry pickles.
More pictures are on the ‘gram at AlanJGoodwin
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