Chasing Autumn – The Trek

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It is tricky to mark the passage of time on the Appalachian Trail.

I mark miles, program my life in fourish day segments amongst resupply points, and set my best tiny tent up in a unique spot just about every evening. It is tough to even verify the climate, mainly because by the time it matters I’m currently in a further location.

It has been 87 days given that I began my hike, and I have effectively walked more than half of the Appalachian Trail.

It at times feels like it has been forever. It also feels like it is nevertheless June to me. It tends to make no sense, but I suppose it does not have to. Time does not matter as well considerably when you have so considerably of it to spare. As the states start off to fly by, the mileage is rising. What applied to look not possible has been accomplished. I hiked a “marathon day,” which is 26+ miles. I believed that was fairly cool. Then, significantly less than a week later, my crew and I did 41.five miles. We hiked across the Mason Dixon Line, then all the way by way of the state of Maryland, in 1 day. It took us from two a.m. to eight p.m., hiking by way of the evening, sunrise, an nearly 90-degree day, then sunset. It was 1 hell of an encounter, and hands down the single most intense athletic feat of my life.

 

The trail in Maryland was gentle for the most portion. I also surprisingly loved southern PA. Alternating amongst vast golden farms, silent woodlands, and a couple of definitely cool ridgelines. The persons in PA had been good. In Delaware Water Gap, a lady fixed the broken zipper on my tent for cost-free when I was stressed out. In reality, all of the locals seemed to be prepared and prepared to be valuable. Eager, even. The rocks, combined with overgrown underbrush and grass that prevents you from even SEEING the rocks, produced the northern half of PA not so good. Meeting persons like Mountain Mama kept us going, although. There is constantly anything else to preserve us going, fortunately. When we develop bored, we challenge ourselves with significant-mileage days. When we are down, some trail angel, or a further hiker, or 1 of our personal tiny crew come across a way to cheer us up. It is a gorgeous, reciprocal, and genuinely unexpected neighborhood out right here.

The honeymoon phase of my hike is lengthy-given that more than now.

It is additional like I have settled down for the extended marriage. It is not so considerably about the thoughts-blowing vistas as considerably as it is taking in the daily moments that imply so considerably. As awe-inspiring as the views from Franconia Ridge had been, I would not trade these views back for the state of thoughts the AT puts me in now. I have discovered gratitude at a entire new level. I’m grateful for soft spots on the ground. I’m grateful for warm nights that let me to cowboy camp. I’m grateful for cold nights and the feeling of obtaining all cozied up in my tent. I’m grateful for turtles, and how inclusive mosquitoes are. I’m grateful for my mates. I am beyond grateful for my physique, and my well being, and the situations that led me to the trail. I am happier than I have been in a lengthy time. In reality, I consider the final time I was regularly this satisfied, I was operating about outdoors just about every day carrying some sort of broomstick or tree branch pretending I’m a wizard. Now, I run about outdoors carrying a legitimately considerably cooler searching employees that no 1 yells at me for, with a girl named Wizard, and all of our mates. Not considerably has changed, I suppose. I just let 20 years slip by.

The subsequent state coming up is Virginia, immediately after a speedy trip into Washington, DC, (mainly because why not?) and a complete-blown zero. As I sort this, I’m sitting on the rim of a hotel bathtub in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, with Pale Ale and Toes, soaking my feet in an Epsom salt bath. It is genuinely glorious. We require it, as well, mainly because Virginia has the most trail of any state and this crew is prepared to see what it has to supply. The Shenandoahs, Grayson Highlands, McAfee Knob, and additional trail favorites are coming up! Personally, I’m most excited about seeing the fall colors. I’ve constantly loved seeing the leaves adjust, but this year I get to stroll straight although the adjust and be capable to notice the every day distinction. It is currently begun, and it is all about me. But to beat it all, I’m officially back down South now. I had to drag my Yankee buddy across the Mason Dixon Line, but we produced it! The tea will be sweet, persons will not consider I’m sarcastic for calling them ma’am, and I can nearly taste my subsequent Dr. Enuf.  My nana did a definitely cool trail puzzle, and it need to have a image of a Dr. Enuf on it someplace. 

I also want to take some time to thank my family members.  

There is a lot going on on the house front, mainly because life is nevertheless passing by even though I frolic down the Appalachians. My remarkable nana has turn out to be a trail legend in her personal proper. Her boxes have produced this trip so considerably less difficult, and my mates all advantage from them, as well. It is so heartwarming to get in touch with her and she knows specifically what I’m speaking about thanks to all of the books on the trail she has study. I really feel like she is on this trail with me. My tiny brother Hunter has definitely stepped up to the plate assisting with my auto, and my aunt as nicely. My mom and Ron. Miss Sheila Smith who aids nana with my boxes. Lewis and Aly for genuinely becoming on the house group! Sarah for constantly answering the telephone and letting me ramble about the trail. Plus every person else sending me encouraging messages along the way. Mama King, Megan, Alyson, Missy, Caleb, Zach and Stephanie, Hunter, Turtle, and so lots of additional. A lot of you have asked for approaches you can aid, and I can not thank you adequate. (Pro tip: Google “slackpacking” and have a day off to do some driving about of smelly hikers.)

As constantly, right here is a hyperlink to the pictures I’ve taken. I hope you delight in them as considerably as I do.

Till subsequent time!

Toodles

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