It’s 5:30am and I’m waiting to board the train to DC. It’s the first time I’ve ever traveled by train and I’m slightly nervous. (Thanks to that terrifying train scene in Anastasia). As you may have guessed I am off the trail. This decision was reached after a week of contemplation and mental scenarios. The bottom line is: I’m ready to return home. Well, almost.
Over the upcoming days I will travel to DC and see a dear friend, while spending hours moving through the museums and monuments that the city has to offer. My next destination will be a return to a small town in New Hampshire that I used to call home a few years ago. More good friends to see, and babies to meet. I will return to Florida within the next couple weeks, but I cannot say for sure-(sorry grandma).
My experience hiking the AT was an amazing and memorable one. The people I met, the views I worked hard for, and the towns I visited will all stay with me. Many people want something out of a thru-hike attempt. Whether it’s clarity regarding life decisions, to brag that they made it all the way, or simply because they love the trail, there is some reason. I did not have such a reason. I wanted to hike the trail because I wanted to. So I bought the equipment and began to hike. The hiking itself isn’t difficult. (That’s not entirely true, some terrain definitely is tough and is only exacerbated by the weather and the 45 pound pack on your back). It’s the realization that you are always in some level of discomfort -foot, ankle, knee, back, shoulder pain. Staying consistently damp from either rain, sweat, or fording rivers. Eating salty ramen for the fourth time that week just to purchase more for your resupply. The part that really gets you is the fact that you are choosing to be there. That is where the difficulty lies. I held dreams of making it all the way to Katahdin in Maine, but then I realized currently, financially, it was not feasible. So I set my sights at the halfway marker, Harper’s Ferry. This was the plan for roughly a week until I had to see a podiatrist for the ongoing foot pain I was experiencing. I was holed up in Pearisburg, VA after my trail family hiked off into the morning heat. I reached out to a friend from college who lives in Roanoke and she graciously drove the hour out to retrieve me. I stayed with her and her fiancee for two nights. We reminisced about our college days, I played with their cats, almost completed a Pixar puzzle, and answered many questions regarding the hike. (Thanks again Rachael!)
This is Ranger. He is a cutie.
The Roanoke star is the largest man made star!
The snake that greeted us on our walk to the star😖
The star’s view. The city of Roanoke below.
It was in Roanoke I discovered the train station and after a night of internal debate, I decided to “hop on that train!”, as my grandma put it. I had been getting more and more reluctant in my hiking and realized I had mentally checked out of it. For someone who didn’t go into this trip wanting anything, I felt like I got everything I needed. Instead of pushing on and making my hike a chore, I decided to leave it when I enjoyed it and now I’m sitting in this train. I’m excited to continue my adventure and see DC. I’m looking forward to returning home and reuniting with my darling cat, Lando. I have thought about it thoroughly and I am happy with my decision and the portion of the trail that I have hiked. So, here’s to new adventures!