3 days ago, we met that 1st white blaze. Had you told me we’d be in a hotel 3 nights from then, I’d have been very confused —had you told me I’d still be willing to continue this darn thing —I just plain wouldn’t believe you. Fear has this way of making you not be able to see anything sometimes, but purpose guides you. Day 3 on the Appalachian Trail called for some re-evaluating, drying out, and hopefully some healing for @_smilekid who has been fighting a cold (that we thought were allergies) since we started. Tonight: drying off, eating food you actually get to chew, maybe even TV—tomorrow: re-sorting gear, and an early re-supply, laundry, and rest. Tuesday: Coopers Gap, we’ll see you again. #at2018#appalachiantrail#whiteblazes
Have you ever had an inexplicably strong feeling that you needed to be somewhere, at a specific time? A feeling so strong that, no matter what else was going on in your life, you needed to set it aside and follow your gut? For me, that was sunrise, yesterday, on Max Patch. I drove four hours, through the night, on no sleep and an obscene amount of caffeine, to make it by daybreak. I reached the summit just after the sun rose above the horizon. And I knew immediately, this is exactly what I needed.
The past few months have been rough. A lot of little things that have snowballed into overwhelming feelings of regret, self-doubt, and unanswerable questions. Somewhere, in the midst of it all, I lost my happiness. My ability to find the positive. A series of events over the past few weeks forced me to confront the effect this was having on my daily life, and the people in it. I was searching for a way to climb out of this hole I had fallen into.
I started the day on top of a mountain, watching the sunrise. I spent the rest of the day climbing to the bottom of the mountain and back up again. I spread some trail magic in the form of Sheetz cookies and met some amazing people thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I made my way through twelve miles of dense woodland, rocky hillsides, rhododenron tunnels, and grasslands.
I spent hours thinking about what brings me true happiness, and why I allow things I can't control to affect my ability to do and appreciate those things. And I answered some of those questions. But, maybe more importantly, I made peace with those that I couldn't.
A year ago today I saw my first white blaze and started hiking North through the cold, grey woods of Georgia. I have been dreading this day, worried that the nostalgia would make me sad. I'll admit there's a small bit of sadness, but more than anything I'm grateful. So grateful that I ignored the thoughts in my head that told me I couldn't do this alone and found a way to make it real. Grateful that I found a new brand of shoes halfway through that allowed my feet to continue the journey. Grateful for the people I met along the way and the deep bonds that were forged. The next six months are going to be fun, recalling where I was on the trail a year ago. I think I'm less sad because I've realized that the adventure didn't end when I summitted Katahdin. Here's to all the adventures ahead, big and small.