Well Hello New Jersey

 Poison oak?  Just keep hiking

After battling with poison oak off the trail with two Urgent care visits and a course of prednisone.   I realized it was time to get back on trail.  I thought about the other hikers  on the trail that were hiking with prosthetics, broken ribs and wrists.   They became my inspiration!    Therefore, I took my little “Poison oak” and trekked on!

Healing is a beautiful thing

Back on the trail,  I quickly learned that sweat and dirt enhances the itch and burn.  I became nauseous and mentally exhausted.   I, at this moment sent a text to my praying friends back home.  With many prayers and Gods faithfulness,  I was able to get through a hard week.  In the past,  I’ve heard, “What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger.”   Perhaps my poison oak made me stronger.

Ouch, there’s a few rocks in New Jersey

Eyes down while trying to convince myself, “I love rocks”

The state of New Jersey has much to offer.  The first part of the state is filled with rocks that made my feet scream.  The word on the trail was that eventually the rocks would go away.   I was happy to see that this was true!

Rocks to boardwalks

The terrain changed  and the trail started meandering along little creeks, some flowing and some not.   Eventually, the trail  brought me to what is called “Stairway to Heaven”.  The climb was  challenging  yet rewarding,  as the summit came and went.

The trail is fully alive

Everything is just beautiful!  The ferns bring a green color to the meadows and the leaves are fresh with new growth.   The critters; Deer, squirrels, coyotes, owls, and bear are out exploring.  Some are  munching on berries, grass or an assortment of other food.  While others are howling there evening songs and hooting to communicate with their friends.

This particular day, as I was hiking in New Jersey the trail news alert was that there was a big, male bear lingering on the trail.   Being from Maine and often seeing bear, I really didn’t think twice about it.  I am still more scared of rattlesnakes than a bear.

Though my mindset quickly changed as I approached the top of a small mountain.  Big and black, 10 yards away was the bear.  I believe I went into my, “Oh crap mode”.  I started clicking my trekking poles together to let him know I was there.  Meanwhile, he didn’t even care, he remained too interested in whatever he was eating.  With a few quick steps, I snuck on by and thought to myself, “Glad that’s over!”

Remaining focused

Living in the moment surrounded by beauty

The closer I get to Maine the more excited I get.  Though,  I keep reminding myself to stay focused on the daily tasks that I need to do to survive.  I still have many miles to complete.

A long distance hike is different from my many weekend or even week long hikes.    This type of thru hike zaps the energy to a whole new level.

I have to continue to focus on  eating enough to sustain hiking long miles day after day.  Everything is about calories.  I am constantly computing how to get the most caloric intake daily.  I have found this to be quite challenging, but each day I am learning new tricks.

Dehydration is a new concept.  The weather has changed,  hot days and high humidity have reduced flowing streams. I have become aware that summer droughts are common.  Therefore, my solution has been to carry extra water, which of course is extra weight.

I am constantly reminding myself to remain cautious, every step matters.  Foot placement is crucial and could make the difference of completing this trek or not.   I have started to relax while hiking but I still have to be mindful of what can happen.

As I continue to get closer to my family, friends and home in Maine,  I will continue to pray.  I will be patient, enjoy the journey and focus on the moment.

Taking a Zero is still needed

Thank you Lord for food and rest

As I am resting for a day in New Jersey I have become aware of how my body really needs these “Zeros.”  I will spend it eating, sleeping and drying my wet gear.   Mentally, a day without thinking about the trail is much needed.

The state of NewYork is waiting and I’ll be ready to see what the trail offers as soon as I’m rested and my gear is dry?.

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Comments 3

  • Frieda Fern Graber : Jun 29th

    I am so amazed how you keep pushing through. I assume your poison oak is nearly resolved. Glad the bear didn’t attack you! I will always remember your AT visit to my home. Much love Frieda

  • Frieda Fern Graber : Jun 29th

    I am so amazed how you keep pushing through. I assume your poison oak is nearly resolved. Glad the bear didn’t attack you! I will always remember your AT visit to my home. Much love Frieda

  • Helen Townsend : Jun 30th

    Sending our love and prayers as you venture along your journey. Praying for your safety and God’s strength to empower you to meet the challenges that you face along your way.


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