From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Camping at Windsor Furnace Shelter tonight, about 5 miles outside of Hamburg, PA. We hiked 9 miles in this morning to resupply and do laundry. It's funny how I've stopped looking forward to town days - I've realized it's much more stressful & costly than living in the woods. In the beginning it was an exhausting process of getting used to living in the woods and town was a comfort. Now I prefer my tent on the earth to a bunkhouse, dry lunch on a rock overlook to an all-you-can-eat buffet, and definitely the simple task of walking north to the hustle bustle of laundry and re-supplying. That said, it's a treat to re-enter with clean clothes again. I was talking to a friend recently and shared how that morning I'd put on my stinky hiking shirt, still wet with sweat from the day before. She was pretty horrified, but for better or for worse, it's pretty common. I've worn the same purple everyday that I've gone hiking so far.
Hiking underneath I81
Tatertot stayed in town tonight. She has hit that point of just needing a room to herself (I hit that point last week in Boiling Springs). Pants and I are headed out around 6. We got a ride back to the trail from a real nice lady named Lois. Gribley's dad drove over on Sunday to hike for a few days so Gribley pushed 25 miles yesterday to meet him last night and they headed out this morning.
My group is starting to feel more like siblings and no longer like new friends. We are becoming brutally honest with each other, bicker with increased frequency, and realize we need time apart occasionally. At the same time, there is sincere love and care between us. We share everything and are always looking out for each other. After 1100 miles together, we know each other so well and have countless inside jokes. We laugh all day long, which I think is a big reason this trip has been so great - laughter and joy are so healthy!
Pants was breaking in new boots the other day and so he stopped to camp early while the rest of us kept going. We never saw or heard from him and Tater and I were getting worried and kept checking out phones to see if he'd texted. We finally got a message that he'd been bitten by a rattlesnake and was off the trail.. Shocked and upset we called him and left concerned voicemails and started to get really upset until he texted again that It was all a joke. We immediately went into bossy older sister mode, threatening that we would strangle him with a rattlesnake and continued to yell at him all day for scaring us like that. It's pretty funny in hindsight but boy were we mad.
1200 miles hiked
As much fun as we have, we all have experienced the half-way blues in some way or another. We pushed hard to get into Harpers Ferry and celebrated crossing the actual mid-way mile marker. As of two days ago we are less than 1,000 miles from Katahdin and also crosses the 1200 mile mark. It is super exciting to note all our milestone achievements but there is also the overwhelming sense that we have yet so far to go, and the hardest is yet to come. We stayed at the 501 shelter the other night with Squatch, a documentary filmmaker who told us they when we get to New Hampshire, we will have completed 80% of the journey but only exerted 20% of the effort.. Which is rather daunting.
This is especially tough right now in Pennsylvania as we travel across low lands, filled with bugs and humidity. To be honest, the rocks aren't as bad as I anticipated, but my feet are still really sore. My ankles, which I've had no problem with this whole trip are now a little tender as I carefully balance over uneven rocks on the trail.
Overall though, I'm still incredibly happy out here. I had a low point the other day at the start of rocks and bugs and then remembered that I really want to be out here. Back in my stressful office days in NYC, this is what I fantasized about. I love not knowing what day of the week it is, and that it doesn't matter anyway. We always joke, "there are no parents here, we can do whatever we want!" and I love that spirit of freedom. If I'm tired and want to stop hiking, I can. If I'm feeling strong and want to push on five more miles, I can do that as well. It'a incredibly liberating to have everything you need on your back and the freedom to eat and sleep wherever you choose.
Leaving Hamburg, PA
Okay, bed time for me, 20+ miles on tap for tomorrow!