I have less than 500 miles to go! I WAS in the Yellow Deli hostel in Rutland, Vermont. A slightly strange place that I’d heard at least two people refer to as a cult beforehand. So, now my hair is braided and I’m about to drink some foul-tasting chemical substance from a communal trough on a farm in southern Idaho.

Is this really what I came here for?! I’m still unsure, but Jerimiah assures me it will all soon become clear.

Not really, I’m in my bunk waiting on my hiking buddy to catch some more Zs before we hit the road again. The people that run the group are a loving people that are religious (kinda Jewish and Christian without the book or something) and drink lots of mate. They eat western food with chopsticks (to slow the process down) and dance Israeli folk dances and sing on sabbath. I’m always prepared to pray and praise whichever lord or spaghetti monster is on offer when a free delicious meal and bunk is the carrot. So strike me down. Sure, they’re a little quirky but why are mainstream groups “religion” and small groups like this “cults”?! An unfair use of a very heavy word, I say. Either that or we use cult for all religion.
Anyway, we’ll be climbing Mount Killington today. The White Mountains are tantalisingly close. The feeling is a mixture of excitement and nerves. It just gets more difficult and beautiful from here on out. So the SOBOs say (southbounders) anyway. SOBOs must be sick of NOBOs. (I’m sick of us, too) I went to the pub with two last night. They’ve only done 500 miles so some NOBOs (especially those at the front who have no finished) are pretty douchy and know-it-all with them. But they’re not bitter. They’re having an awesome time, aww those were the days (just kidding!). Another 500 miles and some will be suffering like many a fallen nobo in late Virginia. At least they won’t have the heat! Good luck Tush and Greenthumb!

Also on my mind – I’m in my local paper, the Shrewsbury Chronicle! I was picked up by Daniel in Manchester, VT and welcomed into his family for a shower and a meal (Thankyou!!! photo to come). I’m getting somewhere close to what some people would call skinny in the right light. My legs are crazy muscular. I have a weird muscle problem on one calf that is unsightly and slightly worrying though painfree: I have to delay the 24 hour hike till the end. I want but don’t want to finish. I miss both homes and the people in them. I know my future but yet still unsure. I have answered many questions I had before and on trail. I have, however, asked many more. I could go on for days with simple sentences like this. Some cool, others deep, others depressing, disgusting, embarrassing….oh here goes the list of adjectives. A blog does NOT do the trail justice. Get out here and do it!

So much happens in a seemingly simple lifestyle. The physical hiking is considerably easier (though still very tough) than I expected. Everything else, the psychological and emotional battles are the real challenge.

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