Sooooo, chances are very good that I have been putting off doing a follow up post about my thru-hike. This just in: we have confirmation that some form of intense procrastination has most certainly been afoot. Like many others, I have had difficultly adjusting to the drastic lifestyle change, much more so than I anticipated. Which is odd in one sense because life is by all means WAY easier in terms of meeting basic needs such as accessing food, water, shelter, and bathrooms…wonderful, glorious, magnificent bathrooms! However, on the trail I learned to love the everyday challenges of getting those basic needs taken care of.
I experienced a deep level of humility and inner peace that I had never experienced before, and with consistency for such a long period of time. Going from living in a world rife with simplicity and serenity to world filled with complexity and cacophony has required some internal adjustments. It feels strange writing about my hike because it feels as though I am referring to a very long dream that I abruptly woke up from upon coming home. I suppose I will leave my thoughts at that for now and skip to some important thank yous…
My trip would not have been the amazing journey it was without all the love and support provided by many wonderful people along the way.
- Dad, for driving me all the way to Georgia and for sending me twenty food & supply boxes along the way.
- Mom, for helping with all the extra goodies in my mailboxes, for visiting me in Massachusetts, and for driving all the way to Maine to pick me up!
- Mom and Dad, thank you for visiting me in Harper’s Ferry, WV and Boiling Springs, PA and also Port Clinton, PA and in particular for feeding me so well each time :-)
- My Mom’s generous cousin John for hosting us in Massachusetts for a few days in July, and her cousin Alicia and Aunt Poofie for hosting us in Bar Harbor, ME for a week after I finished my hike.
- Andrew, for backpacking with me in northern Virginia into Harpers Ferry, WV.
- Ian, Allison, Justin, and Uncle Tim for joining me in Maryland for three days of backpacking. Very humid backpacking!
- Ian again, for helping inspire me to do this by having hiked all of the AT in Pennsylvania with his friends.
- Tricia, for backpacking with me through some of the wettest weather I experienced, from Connecticut into Massachusetts, and leaving right before the section with the largest mosquito swarms I hope to ever see (I still have waking nightmares about them).
- VINCE! for making the trip to Maine from Pennsylvania so he could join me for 70 miles of backpacking.
- Ann, for being there the moment I decided to do this hike and for listening to me me talk about this trip more than anyone else had to. Annnnnd not to mention multiple care packages along the way, and delighful birthday gifts and a surprise birthday visit in Vermont!
- Colleen, for sharing so much wisdom and experiences from her own thru-hike, and for the use of the food dehydrator! And thank you to Rowan for also listening to me talk about my trip endlessly and for recommending the SOLO Wilderness First Responder Course. And of course thank you Aemon, for the trail visit in PA and the cute photo and care package in Hanover, NH! :)
- Cherice and family, for the amazing meal experiences before, during, and after my journey (I still have waking daydreams about that cheesecake).
- My Whole Foods Market Devon family, for sending food, books, and support my way when I needed these things most.
- The entire Appalachian Trail community, for making it the incredible community it is. Much love to you all.
Gosh, there are so many other people that were connected to or involved in my hike in one way or another, and I am grateful to each and every one of you as well. Much love to you all. This hike taught me a lot about love and community, and although I miss so much about life on the trail, I also missed my friends and family. I am glad to be home and eager to fully reconnect myself to my community here.
Silver Stag, over and out.
What a journey! Today I finished the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in exactly six months. Fun stories and copious thank yous coming soon, because I am a bit tired after all that walking.
The town of Monson, ME did not disappoint in being the gateway into the “Hundred Mile Wilderness”. I spent the entire weekend there. On Friday I enjoyed a folk music jam session featuring the Monson Jammers. On Saturday, Rick aka Troll from whiteblaze.net hosted a hiker feed with lunch and dinner, followed by breakfast on Sunday. A full double rainbow appeared after dinner on Saturday, providing a nice omen before my final 114.5 miles and a great symbol of a gateway into the beauty of this section that it have heard so much about. I also reunited with many fellow hikers I haven’t seen since about five months ago. Alright, time to go take a hike!
…and unlike many fellow thru-hikers I have been conversing with, I am not nearly as eager to be done with my trip as they are to be done theirs. I am enjoying this simple lifestyle, and I am not quite ready to rejoin society with all its noise and complexity. Which is why I plan to hike ridiculously low mileage days for the rest of my journey. I plan to summit Mt. Katahdin on September 17th, exactly six months from my starting date (weather providing), and I only have 188.2 miles to go to get there.
People familiar with the final portion of the AT in Maine have been telling me how remarkably beautiful it will be, and they have advised me to carry plenty of food so I can spend more time camping near all the wonderful ponds/lakes/streams along the trail. I will do precisely that! I still have books to read, loons to listen to, mountains to view, ponds to swim in, and people to break bread with. I know I will be excited and quite ready to go home when I reach the end, but for now I am focusing on what lays right before my feet, which is a magical, beautiful trail through the Appalachian Mountains of Maine.