First let me say that it’s hard, really hard. Hard on me, hard on Robin and unrelenting. The thought of getting up every morning at 4:45 in the dark and cold ( which I need to do because I walk much slower than most), cooking breakfast, packing away an often damp tent and sleeping bag, getting everything else packed up while taking care of life’s necessities (tooth brushing etc. ) then walking for at least 20 to 30 miles a day, everyday. My longest so far is 38.
My body always aches from carting around a 30+ lb pack, shoulders are sore, back hurts, legs want to quit and my feet are always screaming. I’m constantly eating energy bars and drinking on the go, so I can stayed fueled and hydrated without stopping. At the end of the day, after 13 or so hours of almost nonstop walking, up and down hills, climbing over logs and through streams, I finally stop, usually alone, and set up camp, cook some dinner and by 7:30pm I’m in bed (after setting up my tent, lofting the sleeping bag, inflating the pad, banging the dust out of shoes and socks, then washing (the best I can) disgusting feet and legs, brush teeth etc… Of course I always have to pee in the middle of the night so I drag myself out of the cozy bag into freezing darkness to answer natures call. Then at 4:45am, I start all over again.
I always reek, can’t help it since I only get to shower once a week at best. I do swim in lake when I can for a quick rinse.
I miss Robin and Landon more than I can express, everyday is a challenge to press on and because I’m here by choice, no one is forcing me to do this. It is difficult not to say “I don’t need to be here” and just quit and go home.
But all that said, this is also the most incredible experience of my life. I have changed in so many ways. Lost 30+ lbs, gained some strength, met some extraordinary people, learned a whole new level of humility and self, and I see the world in a completely new perspective. I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been beautiful, amazing and challenging and hard everyday. With just over 600 miles left (I just crossed the 2,000 mile mark) I can’t wait for the end and will desperately miss the daily struggle.