Thoughts from the Appalachian Trail:  1700 Miles completed w/ 498 Miles to go!

(8/3/2022)

After the rain!

As of yesterday (8/2/2022) my husband has hiked 1705.3 miles and we are in Killington, VT.

1700 miles, yay!!

I am loving Vermont. It’s beautiful. The scenery is amazing, and the weather is nicer than it has been in several hundred miles. We even visited a cool local art gallery on our “zero” day!

I am currently battling a severe sinus infection. I’ve had this coming on for about 6-weeks now. Unfortunately, I also have a couple of cracked molars, so the pressure from the sinus infection is excruciatingly painful. I now have a deep appreciation for people who suffer from migraines. Thankfully, the ER doc was able to find the problem and get me on the right medication course to hopefully get this thing knocked out. Then I will have the teeth fixed when we get home in about 5-weeks. It should technically “only” take us about four weeks, BUT we have to account for shitty weather in the White Mountains or at Baxter State Park, which may hold up our progress. But enough about me!

For those of you reading this and think, “wow, how lucky you are to have the time to hike the Appalachian Trail…you must be having so much fun…it must be wonderful to wake up every day and experience God’s beautiful countryside…”  Well, it’s not all that.  It’s freaking HARD. The most difficult physical and mental “test” we have ever put ourselves through.  If you would have spoken to me last week, I would have said it’s 90% suck and 10% “fun”.  Today (thanks to Vermont), it’s 65% suck and 35% fun!  Seriously, pretty much every thru hiker we have run in to has a scowl on their face at this point.  Everyone “just” wants to get this done.  Don’t get me wrong, there is the occasional happy hiker that loves every step of the journey and is whistling “dixie” the whole way, but (if I’m being honest here) they are assholes and I just want to punch them in the face.  EVERY DAY of happiness on trail, just isn’t real. 

Almost to Vermont!

We started this journey thinking, “it’s just walking”, how hard can it be? We had planned for 20-miles being an average day. What a joke. There have been NO EASY, no average days. Every day comes with a nuance of difficulty. Either physically or mentally. We all pose for the “happy, look at my awesome life” Instagram/social media pictures, but the truth is, for every one of those pictures, there are 99-other ones that tell a different story. A story of heartache, sole-ache, body breakdowns, down right FALL downs, impalements (from stray branches), black eyes and other bruises, SO. MUCH. RAIN., BUGS, more bugs…and when you don’t think there can be more…MORE BUGS. Even with the best logistics plan, there is lack of water, food, and other nice-ities. In fact, if you ever just wanted to “get real”…this is as real as it gets. So real, in fact, that people die attempting this thru hike. People you may know in passing or know from hiking hundreds of miles with quit every day. It doesn’t make them “lesser” in any way…hell, maybe it makes them smarter? I don’t know, all I know is that this journey is mostly awful.

Trench foot is real.

BUT, through all the awfulness, you do find some incredible kernels of greatness. It’s these morsels that keep you going. There are people that you will never know that stop and help you, when you feel like you just can’t take another step. There are complete strangers that feed you, give you water and shelter you, when you need it most. There are creatures that stop and connect with you along the way, that seemingly communicate that everything is going to be okay. Just breathe and absorb the moment. There are butterflies that will dance along the trail with you.

Monarch

There are flowers that open up their sunny faces, seeming to embrace you and carry you along for the next step.

The hills are alive!

The Chipmunks and Red Squirrels that laugh at you and with you, when you are laying on the ground after your most recent tumble.

Red Squirrel

There are colorful snails and slugs that want you to know, it’s okay to slow down…either way, you are going to get there.

Just one more step, just one more sip, just one more bite, just one more sleep, just one more moment of kindness…After today, we will have 469 miles to reach Katahdin. And then what?

For now, and for each mile of the next 469, I will be focused on each moment of this journey.  The good and the difficult.  It’s all part of the achievement and all part of the overall story.  Hug your fellow humans, even if they stink, it may be the one thing that keeps them going for the next step!

~Food Guru

Published by Analiese Kennedy

Ecology and anything outdoors is my Jam! We love exploring new places and connecting with others over a good meal and wine.

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