Terrific Troubling Transition

Quick Updates – Mile 1081.9 – Great 0 Days with Friends in D.C and Family in Harper’s Ferry – Hiking with Brother – Finally New (Good) Shoes – Lots of Rain

Nate and Caleb shared their city with me for a day. Friends from college to "real life"

Nate and Caleb shared their city with me for a day. Friends from college to “real life”

Since Monday the 9th, I have been hiking with my brother. He is in the middle of university and was willing to take a summer away from him professional career development to spend it suffering with me on the trail. If that doesn’t say enough, then I don’t think there is anything else that I can say… My brother is awesome.

The rocks are coming...

The rocks are coming…

As is the sad truth, with all good things comes some not so good things and the transition from one hike to another has been bumpy for me this far.

Besides missing Toast and Dill, I found myself missing the miles that we were doing. Right into Harper’s Ferry we were doing 18-20+ miles almost every day. This came fairly easy to us and it really was endearing to know how much progress we were making so quickly and easily. Now that I am with Aaron, I am doing significantly less miles until he gets his trail legs. Because of this, I’ve had to catch myself from becoming upset multiple times because we were only doing 10 miles in a day – something that I would usually do before lunch. For the first couple of days, I wrestled and wrestled with myself over the fact that miles are only part of the equation of the hiking experience and a fairly small one at that. I think I am now in a place where I know eventually we will do bigger miles, but until then, I enjoy the short days not because of the short miles, but because I get to enjoy it all with my brother.

It has also been troubling for me to not hike at my usual pace. I figure that not counting my lunch break, I could walk about 2.75-3 miles an hour on average. No one can walk that fast when they jump onto the trail from sedentary life. Right now, we average just a little over 2 miles an hour as a pair. This isn’t slow by any means and in my mind, is actually impressive for someone who didn’t really have much time to train for the trail at all. That being said, it is much different than what I was used to and it’s causing me to slow down. The slow down is a beautiful thing though. I now can look at everything around me and I have time to pee as many times as I want and can enjoy the views as they come at my luxury. It truly is like someone picked me up as I was running and said, “dude slow down, you’re going to finish in time. Enjoy what’s going on around you more”.

The closest thing to a river crossing without a bridge

The closest thing to a river crossing without a bridge

The first day that my brother got on the trail, I told him that this was no longer my hike, but that it was our hike and that we were in this together and unless something horrible happens, that’s how it’s going to be until Khatadin. That’s why I’m more than okay taking a 0 day because he is sick. It’s also why I don’t even count this transition as rough or horrible. Instead, it is a memory being made – a time that I will remember forever when my brother and I hiked 1,200 miles of the AT together. After all, how many people can say that their brother would be willing to join them in what isn’t always sunshine and rainbows? I am blessed to be able to say that I have a brother who is doing just that. I love him and I guess he’s pretty cool.

Until next time

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Comments 1

  • Mythrandel Hawk : May 20th

    Pen-Dexter thank you for your fantastic attitude and your complete understanding of the reality of your situation with your brother. This will be something that both of you will remember for the rest of your life’s!!! When your both old men, you will sit on the porch, with your favorite drink in hand and talk about that time you both walked 1200 miles together on the AT. Thank God he was willing to go with you and had the ability to do so. Thank God you are able to figure out how to deal with the change and enjoy every minute of it with him!!! Praying for a successful and memorable hike!!!


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