Thoughts on Finishing My AT 2018 NOBO Thru-Hike
It is finished. I summited Mount Katahdin on July 31 and thus brought my thru-hike to a conclusion. I was unsure how I would react upon reaching the iconic Katahdin summit sign. I had been on the trail for five months, and if you read my previous posts, you know I had been struggling toward the end. Perhaps due to the large number of people at the summit when I arrived, it was not a particularly emotional moment for me. I had arranged with my summit partner, Chopstix, to shoot several photos for each other atop the sign, and we did this at an opportune time.
After taking the photos and congratulating others we had hiked with, we made our way back down. The five-mile trek back down was anticlimactic and seemed so much longer than the way up. We retrieved our gear from the ranger station and yogi’d a ride to the AT Lodge in Millinocket. I arranged transportation to Logan Airport in Boston and was back home in Naperville, ILL, the next day.
The emotions of finishing the hike seem to be coming to me in waves. There is a great sense of accomplishment in completing something that turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined. There were no epiphanies or revelations, but I am sure the trail has changed me. I have a newfound sense of confidence in my hiking and camping skills from spending so much time on the trail. I hiked half the trail with partners and half by myself, which gave me perspective on the pros and cons of each. I will likely explore this subject in a future post.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to successfully complete the thru-hike. There were so many things that could have derailed me. The incredible support I received from my wife, Linda, and the rest of my family, the encouragement from the folks following me on Instagram and my email posts, the camaraderie of my fellow hikers, the kindness of the countless trail angels and strangers I met, the support of the hostel staffs. These were instrumental in making this journey a success.
I’m looking forward to enjoying some less strenuous pursuits for the near future. Starbucks Out!
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