Appalachian Trail: Missing Life Back Home (day 5)

I had a dream overnight where I was wondering the halls at my old junior high. I was fuming for some unknown reason. Being upset was a regular feeling during my teenage years. I opened a door to a classroom and when I walked in, my current co-workers were sitting around watching soccer on the TV and talking about what was on the screen.

I became even more irritated because they were not focusing on the meeting agenda. It is not uncommon in my real life work place for meetings to go off topic. The topic of choice is usually fishing but they are a good group of guys and I can reel them back in when there needs to be focus.

In my dream, I started yelling and I stormed out of the meeting room telling them that if they didn’t want to focus, I wasn’t going to stick around. My co-worker stood up and said, “are you hungry? Here, have a Clif bar.”

I woke up groggy, not feeling refreshed, and angry at myself for having such a negative dream. I took my daily antidepressant medication and wished it would immediately snap me into a happy, jubilant mood. I know that is not how antidepressants work.

Sometimes I have a hard time remembering to take my antidepressants. I seriously just don’t think about it. I kept my headlamp and medication in the same compartment in my backpack because both are for my head. It was a way for me to remember while outside of my day to day routine. When I put my headlamp away in the morning, I was reminded to take my antidepressants before leaving my tent.

Today was an emotionally hard day for me and I missed my life back home. I texted my husband and daughter countless times during the day and I sent my co-worker a picture from the trail. I just wanted to feel a connection to the life that was waiting for me off the trail.

I smell really bad. Like, really bad! I haven’t worn deodorant in six days and despite two showers, I have stinky and dirty lady parts and I don’t dare want to raise my arms. Hiker stink is real. The hikers who have been on the trail for a while smell pretty funky. I sat near a large group outside of the AT Conservancy in Harper’s Ferry while I was still fresh smelling, the evening before starting my hike. It’s a humbling feeling though to be on the other side of the shower and being the one who smells.

I am thankful that we have added more time into our hiking day with lowering our miles. I’ve had the opportunity to take time to talk to other hikers on our breaks, to really enjoy the trail (I saw two snakes but not huge scary ones), and to relax and take in all of the lookouts that I worked to climb. Every outlook made me prouder than the last.

I worked through my various emotions by putting one foot in front of that other. It’s hard to explain in words what the trail gives to me. It’s more than a hobby and it is beyond a passion. It is a lifestyle that I crave. To carry only what I need to survive on my back is liberating. To move only by my feet gives me a freedom unlike any other. It’s amazing what my body and mind can do when working together.

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