I had to confront a lot of stuff: my fears of being alone, worries about being far, far away from help, my anxiety at being left behind as stronger hikers passed by and disappeared into the forward horizon, my fears of the unknown and fears of being unable to climb a mountain. I discovered a whole new me, someone I’d never met before.
That April hike, when the wind screamed and stole my warmth and I learned how to bundle against the powerful gusts, I felt it. Every sheltered lee brought a sense of gratitude.
There it was, that sense of being shaken up. Of being just where I needed to be, of abundance, of deep nourishment and of wholeness. So, yeah, I’d like more. Bring it on. Even if it does mean lugging a heavy pack up a mountainside, over and over again.
Would you consider hiking the entire A.T. as a thru-hike (all at once)?
Would you hike it in sections?
What are your reasons?
Monday, June 2, 2003—1,000 miles later
It’s a perfect hiking day. Yesterday’s heavy winds did blow in pretty weather: low humidity, sparkling clarity and pleasant temps. We sit on a log at one point and get a snack.
“Notes,” I said. “I do believe we are sitting on the 1,000-mile mark.” We high-fived each other. A day of celebrations. The impact of that simple statement suddenly hits me.
“I’ve walked 1,000 MILES!” I shout to the woods. It feels good.
It’s a big walking day, and my feet are weary. But spirits are high. I will have visitors from home today. Two buddies from back home in NC are coming up to Harper’s Ferry for a few days to visit me.
I know they will start down the A.T. towards me, and I guesstimate we will connect about 4 pm. Sure enough, here come Nancy and Sarah Jane. I can’t wipe the grin off my face.
“You need trail names out here on the A.T.,” I informed them.
Nancy is christened Catbert, after the evil Human Resources Director in Dilbert, and Sarah Jane be- comes Treadmill, since she’s been active in that venue lately.