Let the hope you have light the road you’re walking. You’re going to make it.
Today, I am damn proud of myself.
I have been living in the woods for a whopping 108 days.
I apologize for the spelling and grammatical errors, this update is coming from a hotel room(via my cellular device) in Lickdale, PA, mile 1182. What a wild adventure it has been.
I’ll start off by saying that I am still going strong on my maiden voyage to Maine. Woot!
Half way…………have I really made it over halfway? I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the fact that I have walked over 1000 miles. Every drop of sweat, tears, & countless hours spent hiking have been more than worth the satisfaction that is protruding out of my body. The trail has far exceeded every expectation I had when I first began. Every person I have crossed paths with, all the people involved with keeping the trail in excellent condition, and the amount of beauty my eyes have seen have made this adventure one of the greatest in my 24 years.
I am going to do my best to update all of you on the standout moments, so here it goes.
The state of Virginia played a huge part in my hike, not only because Virginia’s section of the trail is around 25% of it……….but also because it was the first time that I have really struggled mentally, physically, and emotionally. After a solid week break from the trail post Trail Daze in Damascus…………it was rather difficult getting back into the grove of the hiking grind. I want to give credit to a few people for helping keep me motivated and encouraging me enough to continue on. First would be a gentleman by the name of Carter Craigie. Happy Feet and I decided to take an afternoon break and hitch into the closest town to visit their grocery store and possibly get some hot food. While we were outside this vehicle pulls up and waves at us like we really knew each other. A couple minutes later, Mr. Craigie walks around the corner and asks us if we are hiking the AT and then proceeds to have a really touching conversation with us. He was so greatful that we were hiking the trail and couldn’t thank us enough for being out here. He was genuinely so passionate about our adventure that it brought tears to his eyes as he was voicing his thoughts to us. Seeing how much ONE person is effected by me hiking the Appalachian Trail was exactly what I need to snap out of the funk. He touched my heart and made me reevaluate the time I’d spent that week at war with myself. Next, I have to give credit to my trail family; Happy Feet and Tumblina………..without them constantly around, their outstanding energy, and their encouragement when I really needed it, I honestly don’t know if I would be where I am. Aside from the physical and mental challenges, Mother Nature decided to test out my perseverance and dedication. I am not kidding when I say that we were rained on for about the entire month of May. Trying to stay positive when you are soaking wet, smelly, and cold………..if you can imagine, is not an easy task. I’m proud to say I survived the tests that Virginia threw my way and I entered West Virginia on a high I can’t even begin to describe.
I had been looking forward to hitting Harper’s Ferry for a couple of weeks, because the town is the unofficial halfway point for thru hikers. The ATC office is located in HF and each hiker is given a number and logged into an official book. Extremely excited to arrive, Tumblina and I decided to power all the way there in the night. We arrived around 2 am, cowboy camped under the bridge, and anxiously awaited her mother’s morning arrival before checking in. Patricia showed up with a sign and real coffee, which was so sweet and really made us feel special.
After checking in, a shower was the next thing on our agenda. Because Tumblina is from the area, her mom allowed us to stay in their cute little rental cottage. We couldn’t have been more grateful, along with the ample other hikers we squeezed in for some halfway celebrating. After playing in the area for an entire week, we decided it was time to hit the trail once again. We also had to say goodbye to our beloved Happy Feet. Our German was on a time limit and unfortunately he wouldn’t have been able to summit Katahdin in time. After a sad sad goodbye and some tears shed, Happy Feet flew to Vermont.
The second half of the trail has been different than the first. We are in a whole different bubble and seeing new faces daily. We are at lower elevations and it seems we cross towns more frequently. The thing that remains the same though, is the magic that happens from strangers. For example……….on Wednesday night, a couple hikers and I decided to hike 4 miles in the morning, spend all afternoon at a lake, and night hike 19 miles into Boiling Springs, PA. The next day, as a reward, we decided to stop by the local tavern and treat ourselves to a couple adult sodas. After a few words exchanged, a nice local invited us to stay at his place. We nicknamed his house Russ’s Party Palace, amenities ranging from actual restrooms/showers, laundry, and my personal favorite; a hot tub. He allowed us to kick back and enjoy a couple of evenings. It’s unbelievable how nice people are along the trail. If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, I encourage you to hike the Appalachian Trail.
I officially crossed into my 7th state of Pennsylvania last week. It’s hard to believe this journey is already halfway over. I remember when I first began, how difficult it was just going 8 miles……….now, 20+ miles day have been making appearances in my schedule regularly. I wish photographs had the ability to really show how breathtakingly beautiful it is here. The views I have seen are those straight from a happily ever after photograph. No doubt the masterpiece of the man upstairs.
Here are a few photos I have from the trail life! Enjoy
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