I have spent the past two days hanging out and doing lots of thinking and soul searching to find the right answer. The best way to describe how I came across my answer is standing atop a mountain watching as the clouds cleared and the sun came out I was at the moment content with everything. I am happy I have gone on this adventure and had learned many things about myself, humanity, and life.
A wise man one said:”Forrest Gump: [running] I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.
[he stops and turns around]
Young Man Running: Quiet, quiet! He’s gonna say something!
Forrest Gump: [pause] I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”
I was not gone nearly that long but even during the several weeks I had been it felt as if months had passed. The trail has its own time, its own community and so much more. Those of you who have been on such adventures will understand and the rest of you who have not I suggest you give it a try even if its only for a few weeks. It will change you forever.
I will be heading back home to Kansas on the next flight to begin another chapter in my life. What is next you ask? This adventure has put a spark into my fire of adventure and I can guarantee you that this is only the beginning. I will be hitting the John Muir Trail in July and turning my AT thru-hike into an AT section hike. I also plan on doing more around where I live locally to help promote many of the great trails that we have in Missouri and Kansas.
It is only the beginning and the mountains called I answered. They will forever continue to call and I shall continue to answer.
This morning I got up and said goodby to some of the folks who where headed out. Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon hanging out with Icarus who was handing out trail magic beer to people coming off the trail. It was extremely fun to watch. It was hard to tell who was more excited the people receiving the beer or Icarus giving them out.
My friend arrived around 2 and we hopped in the car and I will be staying with them to make my final decision of either heading home or getting back on the trail. We stopped on the way home at the Tallulah Gorge to look around.
Going to rest up. More Tomorrow
Today was a rough day. I sent some messages to a few friends down in the Atlanta area and one of them has agreed to come and get me to see if leaving the trail for a few days will get me back into the game and to hopefully continue to rest my body. I have not talked about this much in my posts but one of the effects of having gone through a experimental chemo regiment is that some of the drugs pumped into my system to kill the cancer might have adverse effects later on in life that are still unknown.
One of the effects that I saw while undergoing treatments was that of massive pain in my joints so much so that during Boy Scout camp one year a golf cart was provided by a generous donation for the week of camp. This would allow me to enjoy the week and not have to walk / hike all over the place to get to activities. The funny thing about the week was that it rained a lot that summer causing the whole camp to be turned into a giant mud pit. If you have ever driven a standard golf cart you know it has very little weight and very little traction. Lots of pushing and sliding happened that week. I still had a great time.
With that said I have been in quite a bit of pain and my body has become a force unable to ignore or stop listening to. It could be because of the chemo, my weight, the stress of hiking nearly 200 miles, or all of the above. I have not made a decision to 100% leave the trail as of yet however the more I give it thought the more section hiking the AT becomes more appealing. If anything it will motivate me to get into better shape than I already am and be able to tackle another section another day.
I understand what I am doing is incredibly hard both physically and mentally and that if wasn’t so hard everyone one would be doing it. I however have to look after my body and listen to it even more so than most people because of my past. I do not intend on this being an end of my adventuring. If I do choose to leave I see this simply as another chapter in a much larger adventure story that is far from complete.
I would like thank everyone who has been cheering me on with positive thoughts and wonderful encouragement. It has meant a lot and I appreciate all of you and your positive words greatly.
Taking a 0 to nurse my joints and knee today. G man and Knutt rolled in as Hiker Boy and I were having lunch. Tonight is a big hiker bash with free food. Just taking it easy and Enjoying the awesome weather and the river. One thing I have noticed is that the trail has its own time zone. Minutes feel like hours and days feel like weeks. If my phone is correct today is Saturday the 6th of April. Time to get back to enjoying the 0 day.
I have been doing lots of thinking about the trail and why I began this adventure in the first place. overall in a good place and in a positive attitude and things will work out how they are intended to. Keeping the faith of the trail’s magic.
Very little sleep last night. Lots of noise coming from outside in the dark. Crashing of ice and tree limbs on the roof as well as all around us. If you have have ever been through an ice storm you will know the sound of the cracking of the trees all around you that is best described as a war zone. I was slow to get up and around as it was still cold and lots of ice and branches falling. I was on the trail around 9:30. Today was going to be a long day needing to hike 11 miles to get to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). There were going to be two big uphill climbs and then a nearly 6 mile down hill decent into the NOC.
The hardest part of the day was the feeling of having to bushwhack my way through the trail due to all the debris that had fallen all through the night as well as while I was hiking through it. At times the trail was covered in ice shards that made me feel like I was hiking inside a cooler filled with the ice you would find at a gas station.
The clouds mist and melting ice finally cleared up some time in the early afternoon which was very helpful as I started my decent down into the NOC. Some of the sections were quite tricky having to scramble over boulders. At times I found myself sitting down on the rocks and scooting on my backside to maneuver on over or around to get off of the rocks. I managed to hurt my right knee yesterday and today managed to tweak it again. Lots of pain with every step.
I made it to the NOC around three maybe even four very tired and was able to get a bunk for the evening. There is going to be a big party here all weekend in honor of the AT Founders Bridge. Lots of merriment, eating food, and just enjoying the weekend. Off to get some “town food” and hydrate. I did not do a good job of keeping hydrated today and I think it might be the cause of why I am not feeling great.