Trail Reflections from My First 10 Days
It’s March 23, the beginning of my day 12 on the Appalachain Trail when you include yesterday’s zero, and Panda and I will be leaving Hiawassee within a few hrs. to continue our journey with Sprout, also appropriately nicknamed Stop-N-Go by our first trail family.
Before we made it into town I was mentally crafting my first “real” blog post. I wanted to take my awesome new experiences and tell the story of my woes and my triumphs with vivid detail and clarity. Then I sat down to write and realized all I want to share right now is simply that the trail will test you and you will only get out of it what you want to get out of it, nothing more, nothing less.
My first 10 days on the trail tested me more than I ever imagined they would. From following Panda’s reflective pack across the side of a mountain in pitch black rain and fog at 6 a.m. to wearing my gloves, balaclava, and beanie to bed because it was sleeting and snowing I have pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone again and again. On many occasions I found myself aggravated by or impatient with some of the people around me only to then take a deep breathe, look at it from a different angle, and realize I didn’t usually have a real reason to be aggravated or impatient and I was wasting my energy.
The absolute most important thing to remember on the trail is that you will find the energy you radiate reflected back to you in both negative and positive situations so reflect something good. Now, that’s not to say that things don’t suck sometimes because we all know they really do. When 98% of everything on my person and pack was drenched our second day and I carried 60+ lbs. of gear up and down mountains all day I didn’t just embrace the suck I cuddled with it. I had to; it was the only way to keep me moving forward. But after that suck the brighter things just looked that much brighter. So now, after 10 days of crazy highs and lows, the highs are what really stick out.
Highs like meeting Crazy Lady 09 our first hour on the trail who told us that the most important thing to remember is to not let anyone tell us what to take or not take or how to hike our hike, and running into Dulci Girl multiple times who always shares a smile and an encouraging word.
My happiest moments were found in meeting our first trail family, Bryce, Amanda, & Chris, campfire conversations that had more substance than “there are a lot of bars where I live,” sitting shoulder to shoulder with someone pointing out Orion and Orion’s belt on a rock ledge with a canvas of thousands of twinkling stars above us on a cloudless night, rock hopping through a creek in my socks at the end of a hot day, and rocking to sleep in my hammock with Panda tucked close as the moon kept watch at night.
I’ve spent 10 days on it and the trail has given and taken away according to God’s plan. I’m excited to see what this new week brings…I’m also excited that i now know how to use my tablet for blogging.
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Hey Wild Child! I’m glad to see you’re making progress since I saw you at Low Gap. It sounds like you’re keeping up a positive attitude even through those freezing nights a few days ago. Hopefully you’re done with snow though. Enjoy the adventure!