I started my hike a mile south of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia a week ago yesterday. I’ve slept in trail shelters, hiker hostels, in my tiny tent at campsites and even stealth camped out in the woods. I’ve listened to owls and coyotes sing me to sleep in the woods, dealt with gnats unceasingly dive-bombing my eyes, felt muscles and feet protesting the next downward step (because down hurts worse than up…did y’all know that?), and blisters covering the backs of my sweaty feet to which no Band-aid can adhere.
I’ve woken up at 5am with the birds and the sun every day, on the trail bright and early. I’ve belted out tunes from Gary Puckett to Radiohead to Pearl Jam from the top of a mountain. I’ve cried a bit, laughed a lot, smiled, hummed, thought, and proven myself TO myself in ways I have needed to for a while. I’ve listened to the woods in the waking morning, felt its brutal heat in the afternoons, taken its punishing steep and rocky steps. I’ve met people, wonderful people, who stand out from the rest of society due to their benevolence and willingness to go out of their way to help a weary hiker. Friends, recurring and new, are ubiquitous on the trail. My family and friends back home have filled my life with warmth and support that astounds me.
I’m having the time of my life! I could not be richer.