Made it to Virginia!

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Hello everyone, it has been a long 2 weeks since my last post. Erwin, NC did not have any signal nor did Kinkora hostel but, I am hanging out at the local public library right now in Damascus. This is a beautiful town that only has 850 people. All the lawns are well kept and the homes are in good shape. I love little towns like this in the mountains. It is funny that I say a long 2 weeks because 2 weeks out here seems like 2 months back at home. The reason is that every day is full of adventure and experiences. Every step that I take during the day is with purpose and it counts. The perception of time gets distorted on the AT if you will. The concentrated dose of movement that I receive each day on the trail stretches out time. There is a common phrase that I use at home; “Time flew by!” Out here its the opposite, “Time stands still.”
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Right now I’m hanging out in Damascus doing chores like laundry, repairing gear, buying food and eating all day long. Zero days are the best. It’s dangerous to go into a grocery store hungry. You will always, ALWAYS buy way too much food. A V8 caught my eye and I couldn’t resist. There is nothing like the feeling of walking downtown chugging a 1.5 Liter V8 while the locals are looking with the facial expression “Whats wrong with that guy?” haha
The weather is still chilly out here. There are no leaves on the trees but the buds are starting to finally form. After 1.5 months on the trail I can’t wait for spring time to kick in full throttle. 2 Days ago a small snow storm caught us by surprise so I was one of the lucky few to be near a hostel. Kinkora Hostel is one of a kind. You absolutely must stop by if you are in that part of the AT. Bob Peoples is one of the kindest souls that I met that has a true passion for helping out hikers. He only charges $5 for a warm place to stay, shower, laundry and kitchen. While it was snowing outside we got together and started cooking and baking. There was cake, cookies, soups, and I made Jiffy Corn Bread muffins (which were a huge success if I may say so). That is one of my best memories so far on the trail.

Kinkora Hostel

Kinkora Hostel

But, the food experience doesn’t stop there. Coming into Damascus on Good Friday was such a blessing. Not only did us hikers prepare a spectacular meal of burritos for dinner, but the the locals had an amazing play about the life of Jesus in the local park. Everyone talks about Trail Days in Damascus, but they should also be mentioning Good Friday too.

Dinner on Good Friday at The Place

Dinner on Good Friday at The Place

Now, some people have mention that I am having too much fun and that is true. The trail has been one huge adventure so far.  However….. there is always the painful aspect to the trail. Walking 15-20 miles a day has it’s toll on everybody. It is so funny watching people walk around in the morning. We are all like 90 year olds hobbling around due to pain/stiffness in knees and ankles. This starts to go away after an hour of hiking. After 8 hours of hiking my feet are begging me to stop. The thing is all day long I am walking of uneven surfaces with sharp protruding rocks/roots that jab into by foot, it really hurts! At night, I stretch and massage my feet for about 30 minutes and that has improved my recovery dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, the whole soreness thing is way better for all of us since Springer Mountain but it’s still there.

Find Waldo

Find Waldo

This was a beautiful section of the AT. You can see Roan mountain in the top right with the Balds following it. That is 11 miles from where I’m standing to Roan Mountain. There is a hiker in that picture, try and find him. Tip (he is really small).

Meet Chair, he carries around a chair, thus his name.

Meet Chair, he carries around a chair, thus his name.

Chair is a funny guy. he is a day behind me or so according to other hikers. We keep tabs on each other with log books that are found in every shelter. Here is an example:

Shelter log book

Shelter log book

Have no fear, Rugby survived that rough day haha.

Colby, always breaking the rules haha!

Colby, always breaking the rules haha!

One of the few downsides to ‘The Place Hostel’ is no laying on the couches. Every hostel has their own set of rules which are fine.
Alright, for those that couldn’t find the hiker in the previous pic, I have found him for you.

Waldo located

Waldo located

Guys I’m sorry that I’m rushing this blog but the library is closing right now! In town people are always on time limits and schedules that must be kept. On the trail all you have to worry about is walking at the pace that you feel like. It’s super layed back and very relaxing. Almost therapeutic in ways. Well, God bless and I will be back online in a couple weeks hopefully.
Spider

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Starting the AT tomorrow!

I can’t believe I am officially leaving tomorrow morning. This is kinda crazy because I never thought this day would finally arrive. The thing is, when I started planning this trip 6 months ago, that is all I did; plan. Now the stage of planning is officially over and it is now time to dive head long into this endeavor.

The idea is to keep everyone posted with weekly updates on my whereabouts. I’ll be doing everything from my iphone so please excuse my typos and weird writing errors. If you read something totally confusing and all you can say is “huh?!” then understand that it isn’t my fault. I am blaming auto-correct ahead of time.

My start point is Table Rock, SC. From there I will be hiking down to Georgia using the Foothills trail followed by the Bartram Trail. You might be wondering why? Well, simply because the Palmetto area is so fantastic! I have hiked portions of the Foothills trail but not the whole thing. This approach has only been done by a handful of people and I would love to be one of them. No worries, it will only add about a week to my overall trip, which isn’t bad at all.

Um, I think that is about it for a last post. Keep me in your prayers people and God Bless!

The AT and what it’s all about

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The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. White painted squares called ‘blazes’ are painted on trees every 100 yards or so throughout the trail. It is pretty much impossible to get lost as long as you follow the blazes.

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So what is so intriguing about the AT? Why do people attempt such a long and difficult trip knowing that only 25% make it all the way? These are questions I get asked all the time and they are tough to answer. There is something about nature that is always calling to me, beckoning me to venture out of the comfort of my home. I know, weird huh? But seriously, if I don’t go camping at least once a month, I get restless. The thing is, we are surrounded by technology that creates sensory overload; cell phones, computers, radio, TV… All of that is just too much and my brain begs for a detox! There is no better detox for the senses than a hike through nature. John Muir nailed it when he said:
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”  – John Muir
When I read that quote, I was like “That is so true!” Nature does have this ability to heal, cleanse and change. For example, there are many Iraq war veterans that are hiking the AT and the Pacific Crest Trail to get over PTSD. Backpacker magazine had a great article on that topic several months ago. I see nature as God’s gift to man kind, a gift that can heal the most broken of spirits.

I decided to pursue this endeavor for many reasons. There is no one reason for me going out into the wild because the AT has a lot to offer. Some of my motives for the AT are as follows:

Gain more self confidence and inner strength by venturing out into the unknown.

Test my character by experiencing the elements, whatever they may be.

Experience the healing power of nature.

Spend some time and reflect on life.

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty…   No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening – still all is Beauty!”   – John Muir

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