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.