Toast’s Trail Thoughts
I’m in Pine Grove Pennsylvania at a packed McDonald’s. I’m the youngest person here. The restaurant was recently renovated to look more futuristic. I feel pretty out of place with my smoothie and iPhone around these older individuals.
This is significant because I haven’t felt out of place since starting the trail. With Pen-Dexter leaving our crew and it just being Dill and me, I’ve felt really lost.
Soon I will be solo. Unsure as to who will be at the shelter I’m heading to. No one to share a bear line/cable with. No one to discuss future mileage to the next resupply.
This will be out of my comfort zone that I’ve established within the uncomfortable environment that is the Appalachian Trail.
I’ve grown substantially as a person and in my faith so far. I can’t wait to see what challenges lie ahead. I still have a lot of learning left to do. I will miss Dill. No doubt about it. However, I’m excited to embrace the unknown and let the Appalachian Trail surprise me.
I have officially evaded the “Virginia blues.” I think that’s on account of my group and I going too fast for the blues to catch us. We finished up VA in 30 days! Also, leaves didn’t start appearing on the trees until mid April, so the green tunnel wasn’t in full swing until Pennsylvania. I’ve got what I like to call, the “Pennsylvania pessimism.” I tried not to let other people’s opinions of PA, sway me… But the rain, rocks, and the lack of views has me feeling more negative than usual. (Which isn’t a lot, I’m still mostly positive ). I’m positively happy that I only have 100 miles left in Pennsylvania.
All of the days are starting to blend together. Sleeping in shelters is becoming normal. I have a blow up sleeping pad now instead of my Therm-a-Rest Z Lite and still rotate all night long like a hot dog at a gas station.
Some days I’ll tell myself the trail is my job or my internship. Some days it’s fat camp. If I hike X amount of miles I can eat X amount of Oreos. Some days I pretend I’m walking the spine of a stegosaurus and that Chris Pratt will appear taming wild velociraptors… (A girl can dream, right?)
Your thoughts tend to wander into some weird places when you hike all day. I have become more conscious of my flow of thoughts and how easily my emotions change.
One minute I’ll hate hiking and want to take a break, but then, a view will completely change my mind set.
Thru hiking is definitely a mental game that I’m more than willing to still play. I have 996 miles left to the big K and I know some big mountain beasts lie ahead.
“Make moves or make excuses.”
Your friendly neighborhood Toast.
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