This is just an old post that got shoved into my drafts!:
It was almost straight up for a mile from my start and too early for my body and spirit, but I persevered. I talk to myself a lot out there! That conversation was mostly about going back to bed. Just at the top I found evidence of BEAR ACTIVITY! Cool! 100 more paces and there was another. Yes, in case you were still a skeptic, bears do sh*# in the woods!
I made a personal best 16 miles with a full pack! Then found this campsite, took this picture, and settled in. I cooked and read and slept off and on until 0430. Then my favorite breakfast of hot teriyaki noodles!
A French and Indian War marker later, I’m moving through a cold lifeless section, and BOOM! A 20 foot high Rhododendron! Love those. Great bear hiding spots! I whistled as I walked. Noise they say, make noise.
And evidence that Pennsylvania was alive and well. Rocksylvania! A bit of scrambling and I was finished the 8 miles to my car.
I met and chatted with three very different men on my walk. I am going to start photographing people. Why not? They can say no, right? The people are the stories. I’m kicking myself for not doing this. I have been shy I guess. No more. I am going to find 3 pictures that match the 3 men. First:
He said he went to REI so he could return what he didn’t think he’d use.
This is what I saw on the OUTSIDE of his pack: a rolled up ground pad tied and dangling from the bottom, 1 inflatable air mattress, 1 self-inflating mattress, his tent, and 2 Nalgene bottles.
I wonder what was inside that pack!
I noticed that his shoulder strap was twisted and helped him get it right. His pack was borrowed from a friend. Wouldn’t you buy that first? Maybe a custom one was coming! Ahhh, the right size pack after you know what size it should be. Turns out, he was smarter than I!!!
I reassured him that he would get it and that it would just take practice. He was excited and nervous just like I was and said he had been studying YouTube videos. Also like me.
He will get it. He’s on fire like I was/am. 😀
I told him about the Maryland stretch of the Trail and he said he would go for it. So cool. I got to be a big Trail brother just like the Trail sister I have!
She informed me today that if I need a puffer vest while I’m hiking, that I’m going too slow!!!!!😀 And that compressing the down will eventually ruin it. She was right again.
I said my name was Doug, he removed his perfectly tucked in glove to shake my hand. Sweet man.
I have to stop shaking hands on the Trail. You know why. Hiker hands do all kinds of awful things. I’ll let you think on that one. 😳
This culture surrounding the AT has been around for a long time. Where was I? I was going to fast to see. I’m glad I found it late in life. I have access now to this whole world of walking in the woods. My time is shortish. There’s an inexhaustible supply of Trail knowledge, lore, and experience that I will never be able to absorb.
How cool is that?