Miles from Springer Mountain: 1320.2
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 871.8
I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend! My weekend was wonderfully restful, a peaceful getaway from the trail, and a new restart to kick off the final portion of my Appalachian Trail adventure.
This blog has been a great way to show you all what my experience is, the amazing sights I’ve seen, the crazy people I’ve met, and how the trail has impacted me. Through it all I’ve showcased a lot of good and positivity with only a few glimpses into some of the tougher parts on trail. I think it would be dishonest of me to whitewash the trials of the trail; hiding the tough times would be a disservice to those who want to know what the trail is really like.
In light of that, last weekend I told Haley that I was giving myself one more week on trail – if things didn’t change then I was ready to be done and I was coming home. I was so physically tired, every day my legs would move a little slower, my feet were waterlogged for days on end, I hadn’t been completely dry in over a week. I had gone almost two weeks without seeing anyone I knew, all my trail friends were either off trail or days ahead. Mentally I was already thinking about college in the fall, ready to get started, ready to go home and start the next phase of life. I was missing Haley and my family, it was emotionally punishing thinking I was out here leaving them behind. I don’t think Haley could count how many times I called this trail a “stupid goal”.
Mid-week Haley decided to drive out to Eastern Pennsylvania to see me, she had one stipulation: if she was going to come see me I wouldn’t be able to ride with her back home, I have to finish. I quickly agreed to her demands, not thinking fully I just wanted to see her. Haley’s visit this weekend saved my hike. We relaxed, I recharged my body and my mind, we watched racing all day on Sunday, and my attitude changed. It’s been only two weeks since I was off trail in Indiana, but in those weeks my hike was nearly lost for good. I’ve been looking backwards for so many days all I could only see what was behind me, now I am looking forward, onward towards the mighty goal of finishing.
Instead of deciding to quit this past weekend I set off on Monday crossing into New Jersey and stepping forward into a new mindset. The trail provides as it always does – Memorial Day was the best day on trail I have had so far. My body felt great, the weather was beautiful, once again I’m seeing wonderful sights constantly, so many people were out enjoying nature on the holiday, the trail was tough but conquerable, and I knew after yesterday that I was going to finish this damn trail.
It hasn’t been easy, it won’t be easy, in the shape of the trail it’s going to get a lot harder, but courageously and confidently I’m ready to conquer the task ahead.