Quick fire updates. 701.8 Miles. 47 days. 2 broken trekking poles. 1 broken and now replaced iPhone. New highest mileage day – 25.3.
It feels as though so many things have happened since I last shared anything with anyone. It doesn’t take much to realize how much we rely on our cell phones for communication and connection with any and everyone off of the trail and that is where my story begins.
Literally hundreds of miles ago, I had finished 17.7 miles and decided to do an extra 7.1 to the next shelter when the AT decided to remind me to stay humble. As soon as I left the shelter, I slipped on a wet root and fell directly onto my side. Per usual when I fall, I got up and kept moving. Little did I know that my fall had bent my iPhone in half rendering it useless. After realizing this fact, I laughed to myself having just sent home my guidebook with a friend because I hadn’t used it since it was on my phone.
After making my way down Roan Mountain, I began my ascent up Little and Hump Mountain. Shortly after beginning my climb I noticed my rain jacket coming out from beneath my pack cover. I quickly grabbed it before it blew away in the 50 mph wind. As soon as I grabbed the rain jacket my pack cover flew off of my backpack and began to blow across the bald. Promptly, I took off in a full sprint across a grassy knoll after my pack cover. After running around 50 yards, I finally caught my pack cover and made my way back to the trail. As soon as I got myself resituated, the rain started. Not wanting to stop, I finished the 7 miles in the rain with my shorts on half freezing to death.
I eventually made it to the shelter and changed my clothes, dried things out, took an emotional chill pill and tried to reevaluate. That was the day the AT won.
Long story short, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks hiking with a couple other Appalachain Trials bloggers who have graciously let me use their phones and guidebooks. Now to the interesting part.
What do you do when you have no phone, bible, guidebook, music, nor podcasts? Well – you make do with what you have. I ended up finding a KJV Gideon bible in one of the shelters which helped me both touch up on my Old English as well as still have something to read.
Instead of listening to music or podcasts when I was hiking during the day, I would think and pray the day away. Now you may ask how does one think or pray for a whole day without repeating some of the same topics? In one way or another, something always brings about a new topic or you spend your time hiking and enjoying your surroundings – not worrying about anything except the next step and the beautiful view in front of you.
I’ve found that the simplicity of not having a phone or guidebook has been more than peaceful. Instead of worrying about how much further I have to the shelter or water source, I walk until I get there and take breaks whenever I want – knowing that eventually I will reach my final destination. Now that I have my phone again, I realize how much I have missed being connected with people and sharing my journey with others, but I will miss the easy-going feeling of not having to worry about anything except walking, eating, drinking, and sleeping.
As far as the Virginia Blues (where you get so tired of being in Virginia you feel depressed) goes, I could not be enjoying it more. The views are fantastic and the weather has been spectacular. The people that I am surrounded by are amazing. The trail elevation is exactly like the emotions I feel – high, low, and high again.
Until Next Time – PEN-DEXTER
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