Appalachian Trail: The end is the new beginning (day 7)

I put my boots on the Appalachian Trail knowing that the trail would be hard. I wanted the trail to be hard. I went in with the right mindset, knowing I would succeed with mind over body.

I am proud of what I accomplished. I will use my experience as a stepping stone to further my desire to hike long distances. I will not let all of the preparation and training I did go out in vain.

I will climb higher and stronger but I still want to saunter and take my time. I still want to look at the pattern of bark on a tree, feel the texture of rock on my fingertips, smell flowers, watch spiders, meditate, read memoirs that inspire, and chronicle my journey. I am just getting started with long distance hiking.

On day seven, my final day on the Appalachian Trail, we hiked until noon and reconnected with our group and Karen. It would turn out that my friend had hiked three miles with a broken fibula and clavicle. She was determined to see the lookout at High Rock. The rain started to pour and flash flood warnings were in the forecast. My group went to a Days Inn hotel for the night.

I desperately wanted to continue hiking solo but I am glad I listened to the flash flood warnings. Here are a couple photos from Caledonia State Park where I would have been.

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Trail Section Hikers on Facebook
Photo courtesy of Appalachian Trail Section Hikers on Facebook

I witnessed the quick changes that can come on the trail. It’s bizarre how we had a water shortage and I chose not to cook with water one night to conserve what I had. Out of nowhere, Mother Nature created flash flooding. The trail is unpredictable and raw. I like that! The uncertainty of what can happen pulls me in and I thrive. Plan for the best and prepare for the worst.

Returning to the Appalachian Trail is a goal of mine but I have other trails that I want to hike first. To be honest, the Appalachian Trail didn’t really cross my mind until my friend presented the idea to me. My heart has been calling me to Wyoming and the Continental Divide Trail since I fell in love with hiking. Grizzly bears, Rocky Mountains, and bear canisters oh my!

I basically want to go everywhere and anywhere and live out of my backpack and sleep in a tent (with the occasional hotel along the way). I need to win the lottery or negotiate way more vacation time at work. Slowly but surely I will hike the trails I want to.

I live and breathe the outdoors in a serious way. It is beyond a hobby and even a passion. The outdoors is my saviour. Depression will not win!

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