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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Waynesboro, VA

Greetings from sunny Waynesboro!  We have only 515 miles left- practically the home stretch… I remember when we had only COMPLETED 515 miles. It doesn’t seem so long ago. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been on the trail for six months, either! I’m sure it will all ‘sink in’ after I get home. We’re going to push hard, try to be home by Christmas. That’s, what, 35 days? Who knows. We’d have to do something like 14 1/2 miles a day on average. That’s do-able.

I think these last handful of miles are going to melt right by. The terrain (accd to our trail book) doesn’t look too harsh (knock on wood), if we can just manage to stay warm enough at night, we’ll do fine. I have been feeling nauseous and fatigued lately. Really hope it’s push-on-through-able.

The Shenendoah Mountains were gorgeous! Totally improved my mood at least three times over. Just the other morning, we saw seven young deer feeding not twenty feet away from us. They weren’t fazed by our proximity whatsoever. Amazing. J took a ton of photos*.

BTW Here’s one of us at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harper’s Ferry, WV

We have to give some shout-outs to the nice couple that picked us up outside of the supermarket in Luray and gave us a ride back to the trailhead. Also, a big hello to our new buddy Dave C. He picked us up, cooked us dinner, and let us crash/lounge at his house for the day. A super-unexpected solid.

I’ve been meaning to put a reading list up here. I’ve been able to put away a shit-ton of books out here, since there is little else to do besides walk and eat. Here goes, in semi-chronological order:

  • Indian Killer- Sherman Alexie
  • Into The Wild- Jon Krakeur (spelling?)
  • The Road- Cormac McCarthy
  • Good Omens- Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  • A People’s History of the United States- Howard Zinn
  • The God Delusion- Richard Dawkins
  • ‘Salem’s Lot- Stephen King
  • The Color Purple- Alice Walker
  • The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest- Steig Larson
  • Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga- Stephen Davis
  • Devil in a Blue Dress- Walter Mosley
  • Ishmael- Daniel Quinn
  • Stone Butch Blues- Leslie Feinberg
  • Skin: Discussing Sex, Class & Literature- Dorothy Allison

I think I’ve forgotten a few titles in there.

Right now, I am reading Endgame by Derrick Jensen. YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK! I want everyone I love, and even some people that I could live without to READ THIS BOOK. Seriously.

*A Note On Photos/ Video- I’m going to wait to upload until after the trail is over. I figure it will be a nice project for the post-trail blues I hear so many thru-hikers have.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Appalachain Trail 2011

 

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Bluemont, VA

Greetings from sunny Virginia!!! Made it into our last state yesterday afternoon. I’m updating from The Bear’s Den Hostel in Bluemont, VA. Thanks to our hosts, Redwing and Hopeful!

Stayed here last night, and it looks like we’re setting up for another zero or late-starting near-o. Proximity to flush toilets, hot coffee, and the internet is way too intoxicating to resist, even if it is gorgeous outside. Our trip to Philly was much-needed, I think. We got a great resupply from a full supermarket, as opposed to our usual catch-as-catch-can re-ups from convenience stores. Made a trip to REI for sleeping bag liners. I’m quite happy with my REI fifty-five degree job, despite the added bulk and weight. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. If I can’t get a good night’s sleep, I might as well chalk the next morning, or even the whole day, up to a loss.

Speaking of motivation, I think J and I are in need of some inspiration*. We’ve come so far, but we’re still staring down another 600+ miles. I’m really looking forward to the Shenandoah Mountains, however I am swiftly approaching ‘so over it’. I think that PA took a lot out of me. Hiking through PA was boring as shit. There. I said it.

What I’m trying to remember right now this journey is such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How so many people I’ve met say they’d love the chance to do what I’m doing. I’m trying to remember how much I love the clarity of thought I can achieve out here. I’m trying to remember the amount of good I’m doing for my body. The resolutions I’m making. The negative agreements I break just by pushing on. I’m trying to remember that this trail is a finite distance.

What I’m failing to forget is how much I enjoy wearing cotton. How much hot water improves my day. How much I miss having poetry readings and karaoke a regular part of my week. I miss music and bookstores and cooking elaborate meals in my own kitchen.

So long as I complete the trail in 365 days, I can get my 2,000-miler certificate from the ATC. I’m reluctant to take a break and resume the trip after winter because I’m afraid I may not be able to come back to complete it. That doesn’t bother me as long as I plan something boldly different for myself than what I was up to pre-trail**. A much easier, less frightening route is just to knock out this path and roll with the tide after. I decided I wanted to hike the AT to challenge myself, gain a little more self-confidence by conquering my fears, and to come up with a life-plan. Now I find myself asking what I define as personal progress. Stay and complete (in one swoop) what I start for the sake of finishing? Pause the hike and attend to the new plans that are screaming for my action while the iron is hot?

* I think that the physical completion of the trail is more of a priority for J than myself. We are both pooped. I’m going to refrain from recapping conversation that led us to this point, you’ll have to trust me on this.

** I do have a plan, and it’s rad-ass. It’s not for sharing on this blog.

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Appalachain Trail 2011

 

Philadelphia, PA

For the more geography-inclined among you, the title to this post may not make sense. But we had to go to WV to reach Philly for cheaper. I’m updating from the Mubuhay House in W. Philly. Having an awesome time.

If the last entry didn’t tip you off, both J and I needed a break from the trail. We had already planned a two or three day stop in Philly, but our mutual fatigue called for a week-long stay. Shout-outs to Chantelle, Lovella, Lilly, Toby  and Jeff for making me feel superwelcome in their home. Shout-out to Amy and Izzy for being awesome new acquaintances. We all went to a Halloween block party in the neighborhood. It was so rad to see all the little kids in costume, so many homemade, labor-intensive ideas going around. I love to see people rock paper mache.

Yesterday, Chantelle, J and I went to Occupy Wall Street to help support IVAW in a solidarity march. So much good energy. I enjoyed meeting so many people I’ll get to work with after the trail. When we got back to Philly, I met up with my best-friend, Mariana. We met in Savannah. She still lives there, but is in town for a wedding. How is miss talking with an old friend! How I miss being able to relate with other women, period.

This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve been to Philly. I love it, what I’ve seen of it, anyway. What diversity! So much to do… and we just might have a room available to sublet out here. It’s not written in stone yet, so I’m going to stay cautiously optimistic.

We’ve intentionally left our after-trail plans loose; for such a long while, our time the AT seemed less of a finite span. We still have a good minute to travel after Harper’s Ferry, for sure, but much less daunting. We plan to stay in TN with our friends Maggie and Jared for a good bit of time immediately after the trail. The small town they live in seems to be the perfect place to wade back in to full-time “reality”. I am apprehensive about settling there because in this small town of 2000, .23% are African-American. That’s 4 1/2 people, I think. Then little old brown me. I also need a place where I can get around on my own via bike or public transportation. I’d also dig a little more culture than what I believe Decatur, TN has to offer me.I also want to go back to school.

Gear Update- It is cold outside. It’s only going to get colder. We’re getting sleeping bag inserts for additional warmth, winter bags being prohibitively expensive. Going to rock those as long as we can, hustle to finish the trail before the cold pushes us indoors.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Appalachain Trail 2011

 
 
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