Day 15? To be honest it’s getting hard to keep track of what day and how many miles. There has been more ‘slackpacking’ than I’d like to admit to everyone, however I’m pretty ok with how it’s all going. I told my mom today how amazing it is to me just how well things have worked out for the people participating in this adventure.
I just hung my first bear bag. Most of the shelters where I’ve camped had poles to hang food bags on, but this one doesn’t. It’s ok, I accepted the challenge! WE’re at a high elevation for Virginia so it’s pretty dang foggy, and raining. CInching the rope and hoisting 3 bags, I felt like a badass – totally in my element, making sure survival gets done!
My mom is Woodstock; for the braids and daisies she wears in her hair. She has done quite well, never complaining or wussing out. Today we had a 4000 foot elevation gain in 4 miles, and she handled it like a boss. I’m impressed, but I wish she’d drank more water yesterday!
For those of you who don’t know, slackpacking can be a term for several things. The way we did it, we hiked 10 miles prepared to camp, but opted for a room atComfot Inn, complete with Italian food and free breakfast this morning, then got a ride from Gallagher, a local trail angel, skipping 16 miles of hiking…Now I’ve missed about 60 miles but ya know, sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches.
Gallagher is one of the amazing trail angels who takes thru and section hikers all over. Last year alone he put 19k miles on his outback, just shuttling hikers. This is a blessed journey.
I can’t forget to mention that I had my first hitch-hiking experience yesterday! This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m usually keep to pick up hitchers with a good vibe. My first attempt taught me I was hitching in the wrong direction, oops! But the first time I put my thumb out going the right way, we got a ride with David. He was awesome, also a hiker and trail runner, a crazy one wo runs the same races as Scott Jurek – 100 miles or more! He took us to our cozy hotel.
My awesome friend Mudda (AKA Jenn) has been such a helpful person on this journey. I just want to express my gratitude to and for her, here. She took me to my launch spot on the AT and has asked her friends to help when I’ve needed it along the way. I think it is a rare and beautiful thing to be blessed with such a friend as my Mudda ❤ (Long story about the nickname).
Because Woodstock and I skipped a few, we’re going to finish a day early before I really et down and dirty, completing the next 351 miles without the slackpacking. I’m excited for a huge plate of vegetables and maybe a massage – and I’m equally excited to hike and learn about one of my favorite people for the next month of adventure.
Some QA for ya…questions I hear a lot.
Q: Do you carry/are you taking a gun?
A: Nope. I like shooting guns but they’re far too heavy. And ridiculous.
Q: Are you going alone?
A: Yes and no. The first 2 weeks I was soloish. It was lonely til meeting up with K-Dogg and Gloworm, and now I’ll be with others through the end. There are still beautiful opportunities for solitude if/when needed.
Q: What do you thinking about when you’re out there?
A: Pretty much everything. The way I interact with others, the changes in my relationship, whether I will ever have a kid or how that would come to pass, writing a book, what I’ll do next, what I want to eat/drink in town, how amazing this trail is, how cool and lucky I am, how to be kinder and more compassionate. Sometimes though I let my mind get silent and just listen.
Q: How does your body feel?
A: FN AWESOME! Now that I’ve grown my trail legs, I can feel my lungs have grown in capacity, my endurance and stamina have increased, my muscles no longer ache when I stop moving. It feels like my body is loving every step. I’m finding real joy in pushing myself too. Going just a little further before a pause, going a little faster up or down a hill. I love it and I’m totally rockin it. Not to mention, I’ve lost all the extra weight I gained living in Texas. My pants and bra are too big…I’m not sure how I feel about the latter but oh well. I pretty much feel better physically and mentally, and have a deeper sense of peace and joy, than ever before. There is no thing that can replace that.
Time to hit the hay, friends!