The Last 200
Family and Friends are on my mind
I have 200 miles left and it feels just like a hop, skip, and a jump. Though, as I have learned out here, a lot can happen in 200 miles, particularly if I let my mind wonder. I could slip, fall, or get sick and the list goes on. I have learned there is an AT saying, “It’s not “When” I will get off the trail, it’s “What” will force me to leave the trail.” With this as a reminder I will trek on carefully and with much focus.
As I pack up every morning, I stop my thoughts and give my time to Jesus. Each morning I begin by thanking Jesus for protecting me throughout the night and then I spend countless hours praying that He will guide each step. I ask that He will “Hover” over me and all the other hikers throughout the miles.
It’s kind of like life. Things in my “normal life” (if there is such a thing) or I should say “back home life” are crazy too. Accidents and sickness can happen everyday. For some reason when these things happen at home it seems less scary. I have decided that is because loved ones are all around when my world comes crashing down and there are modern conveniences that are at hand in the event of an emergency. No matter what, Jesus has the final say as to how things will turn out. My only job is to trust Him.
In the woods, it’s a little different. There are no easy convenient ways to get help. Whether I am 10 hours away from help or 5 minutes, I know I need Jesus. This is something the trail has taught me. This lesson will not be forgotten or taken for granted no matter where I am.
Rain and River Crossings
There are a lot of rivers to ford in the last two hundred miles of the AT. I had been excited to cross the first river, the Kennebec River. It is formidable to foot cross due to the river being wide with a strong current.
It was an extra special day to be standing at the Kennebec. First, I was on familiar ground and second a canoe ride across is part of the AT trek. The canoe even had a white blaze on it. I hadn’t been in a canoe all summer, so I was just super excited to sit and take in the views and listen to the rushing current. Oh and I didn’t even need to paddle, it was simply effortless “Fun!”
100 Mile Wilderness
The 100 Mile Wilderness is captioned as one of the hardest sections of the AT. This label is given because for 100 miles there are no places to refuel, rest or get provisions. The terrain is not too technical, yet the trail is filled with huge roots and rocks that have to be navigated.
I woke up and was ready to start this journey. The morning displayed bright sun which was exciting. Thankful for the dryness because I knew rain would cause treacherous hiking. The roots and rocks once saturated act as little mounds of ice.
Later in the day the sun disappeared and the rain decided to let loose. I had accepted the fact that I and my gear were going to be wet for many days. After all, putting on wet clothes in the morning had just become a normal routine.
The days felt particularly long, I felt as though I couldn’t get to Katahdin Stream Campgound quick enough. As these thoughts wrestled in my brain, I would remind myself, “Nothing can be done quickly out here.” Time is irrelevant, I would stop hiking when my body notified me that it had had enough. I refrained from thinking about the days to come and focused on the beauty all around me.
My Thoughts about Home
As I rested my head in my tent this night, I did wonder what it would be like to return home. After all, I had read many books about the Appalachian Trail all of which stated the “AT Thru Hike” often changes people. I laid in my tent wondering, “What if I’m not normal? What if I really do change?” Then, as always, I closed my eyes, listened to the occasional singing loon and thanked God for everything. I soon slipped off into a sleep that only my tent could provide and knew there would be a new day in a few hours.
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Loving your post! Your brother in Christ.
Chappy Jack AT 2019
Thank you for sharing . I pray Holy Spirit guides and protects you. Be Well,
Hello Laughing Loon, maybe we can do an interview on Hikers Dream Show when you finish?
Hi Traci, I’m really enjoying your posts & wanted to ask – what brand of shoes are you wearing? I’m having a difficult time finding shoes with a wide toe box. God speed to you & many thanks !
Can’t believe u r almost home!!
Stay strong and look forward to seeing u next time ur in PA.
Love and prayers.
AMEN. Best of trail luck to you Laughing Loon
Thank you for posting. Praise Jesus for keeping you safe. I hope you have many more wonderful adventures! Blessings to you and your family.
We can’t stop thinking about you and hope you are okay!(it’s Sept. 18th today)
Jane and Gene
Wish I had found your posts sooner. Appreciate the boldness of speaking Jesus over your day and life. We need a lot more Jesus.