In 2011, I thru-paddled the 740-mile long Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I was a 2016 A.T. flip-flopper, but my thru-hike attempt ended after 1300 miles. I started in Shenandoah National Park and four months later I summited Mt. Katahdin on August 23. Turns out, I did miss being on water instead of worrying about finding and carrying it. When I returned home after Katahdin, I headed up to Ely, Minnesota unwinding with a little 150-mile, two-week solo canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Wilderness. During the winter, I decided I should finish what I started and headed back to the A.T. on May 2, 2017 departing from Springer Mountain. I arrived at Rockfish Gap on June 30, amidst families taking photos by the park entrance and wondering why anyone would be tearing up so much by a roadside sign.
While the first hundred miles seemed to take a long time to hit, these last few series of hundred mile milestones seem to come upon me much quicker.
The slabs of smooth granite and open summit vistas along the New Jersey and New York border and the emerald grasslands of Harriman State Park. Summer is here and the living is easy. Sort of.
Even during my difficult days, I have yet to consider quitting. But that's just me being stubborn. And driven. And by golly, if I can help it, there is no way I'm going to let the rocks of Pennsylvania or New Jersey or New York end this trip.
Oh, Pennsylvania. All I know of ye is geology. The Pinnacle. The Pulpit. Knife Edge. Bake Oven Knob. Wolf Rocks. These are words that can instill fear your heart, if not your feet. Sharp apexes. Sheer drop offs. Copperhead habitats.
2016 Flip Flop: SNP to ME/SNP to GA Soon after reaching the 200 milestone, I painstakingly picked my way through a flag-marked, lichen-encrusted
Either my hair stylist (and I use that job title in the loosest possible sense when it comes to my coif) cut my hair in such a way that my natural curls have been set free, or my hair has continued to become curlier over time, but wow—not using a comb these past 200 miles has unleashed the mane. That or I’m justifying my hiker-trash lifestyle and just think I’m rocking the comb less look.
A flip flop beginning at this point, at this time, has given me a time to hang out a little longer with my husband, get my trail legs and enjoy solitary days. I will admit, however, that the initial solitude during these first 100 miles also equates to a less social experience.
Before omnipresent devices encroached upon our lives, I had never entered the backcountry with any technology other than a flashlight and a camera. (And by technology, I mean a couple of AA batteries and a few roles of 36-exposure film that was carefully rationed.)
In the mid 1990s, I canoed a section of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in western Wisconsin. The mother-daughter trip was memorable for three
I have long since lost track of the day of the week, and the great events that must be taking place in the world we left behind are as illusory as events from a future century. It is not so much that we are going back in time as that the time seems circular, and past and future have lost meaning.