From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two Cents on 10%

Bear bags in the cloud
Smokey Mountain vista
A few thoughts, as a parent, based on my infrequent and all too short conversations with Macon thus far on the Appalachian Trail.  Macon is good.  She sounds confident, she is in a great frame of mind, and barring injury should complete the trail.  The first few weeks have been a shake down for the trek.  Missy has met her three times with the re-supply tub (First aid supplies, baggies of all sizes, blank journals, etc).   She bought some hiking poles and a pack rain cover.  The good folks at Rock Creek swapped out the insoles - no questions asked.  She has sent home some of the gear that wasn't likely to be used and has refined her diet some.
Daystar prepares dinner
Macon had a hiking schedule that has become irrelevent  for the most part since Macon now has a rhythm to her day that is proving to work for her.   She wakes up, fixes carbs for breakfast, usually oatmeal.  Then she packs her gear and starts walking until beyond mid-day when she stops for lunch.  This has been a bagel with peanut butter.  She takes off her shoes and socks and rests her feet and body for more than an hour before she commences walking again.  She will find a shelter or campsite in the mid to late afternoon and set up camp.  She says she thought she would have a lot of idle time but she says the various camp chores keep her busy up until bed time just after sunset. The least of which is putting all foodstuffs and anything like toothpaste with a sweet odor in her bear bag. (You can see them hanging from the trees in the picture at the top of this post.)

Tyvek's camp
Mollie's Ridge Shelter
The community is wonderful.  This we have heard on all accounts.  Gribley told Missy that people back home don't understand but everyone on the trail totally gets it, the trek.  This community is like a giant amoeba that morphs as the days and weeks go by as people pass each other, as they sign into the registers at the shelters, as they see each other in the trail towns.  Macon and Missy commented on the number of hikers in Gatlinburg that they both now know. 
Hiker's sign to water
This community has the wonderful added benefit of aliases by trail name.   Gribley, Pants on Fire, Tyvek.  Some are silly like Sherpa, some with a little thought like Davey Jones.  But all these alter egos add to the eccentricity of life on the trail.  Macon has also developed a profound respect for The Boy Scouts of America on this hike.  Both hiking partners are Eagle Scouts; she has a dad two brothers who are Eagle Scouts.  Macon has run into two different Boy Scout troops on the trail and she says they are competent in the woods, considerate in their respect for others and a testimony to a great program for young boys and men. 
Blaze in the fog
Macon says the thru-hikers are respected, but she has developed respect for anybody and everybody out on the trail.   She says she has met people with significant medical impediments but their desire keeps them on the trail when their body is up to it.   She has met many section and weekend hikers who don't have the time for a thru hike but love the trail.  My friend Warren Mowry frequents the trail on weekends.  Because Macon is a thru-hiker, the outfitters are very liberal in their warranty policies because they want happy hikers who endorse their products on the trail and in the towns.

While she has only completed the first ten percent of the trail, better than 217 miles, I feel good that this adventure will turn out well, barring accidents or injury.  I hope you too have loved the photos she takes with her art director eye.  We should have another update from Daystar later at the end of the week when she arrives in Hot Springs, NC. 

Most importantly, Macon is very happy.  She has said that she's living in the present.  She loves all aspects of the trail - the chores, the weather changes, the scenery, her fellow hikers and those she meets on the trail, the actual hiking... it's all good. 

Smokey Mountain AT

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