Update 11 from an AT through hiker (final update)
By dlacher on Jul 31, 2005
I made it! I'm done!! I actually finished the entire appalachian trail!!! Can you believe that I walked 2170 miles from Springer Mtn in Georgia to Mt Katahdin in Maine??? I'm looking at a map right now and i can barely believe it myself, it's sooooooooo far, how did i ever drag my ass all that way? So yup, i climbed mt. katahdin today, and let me tell you, it was an ass-kicker of a mountain, they saved the best for last, but i didn't care. In the beginning, i was literally bouncing up the mountain, similar to how i felt when i started in georgia, strange. it was a beautiful day too, i don't think we could've picked a better day if we'd tried, it was amazing! I finally found people to hike with too, She-Ra and Ranger-Super-Danger, they're awesome girls who hike like i do, they walk really slow but do big miles cause they wake up early and hike late. it took me until maine to find people who hiked the same way that i do, craziness. they're really fun too, they made the last week of the trip the best one for me, i wish i'd found them months ago, but i'll take what i can get ;-)
Oh man, there was so much i wanted to write in this final email from the AT, but it's after 9pm, which is extremely late for hikers, i'm usually very much asleep right now, so i'm having a hard time thinking of things to write.... arghhhhhh, my last email and i can barely type... figures. Looking back, i think that the trail definitely broke me, it beat me to a bloody pulp and then kicked me when i was down, just because it could, but then it built me back up into something that's (hopefully) better... it's just what the trail does. Through all the pain, suffering, boredom, lonliness, injuries, and whatever else, it all brought me to a better place and taught me so much about myself, the world, the people around me, i don't think i'll ever look at things the same way again. I actually never thought that i would make it to Katahdin, even when i was in Maine, heck, even when i was climbing the thing, i thought i would fall and break something or somehow i wouldn't make it, but somehow i did. somehow i managed to drag myself out of my sleeping bag on the days when it was raining, snowing, cold, hot, humid, buggy, and just get up and keep hiking. somehow i always managed to pull myself up and keep going, i'm not sure how, but i did it. i guess that impossible dream that i had to hike the appalachian trail wasn't quite as impossible as i thought it was. You know, i really thought that when i actually got to the top of Katahdin that suddenly everything would be different, that i would feel different, see things differently, but i really didn't, it's not an instantaneous process, the trail changed me little by little, each day and each mile, slowly. I don't think there was anything special about Katahdin, but it was a nice way to close out the trail and end the journey. There were so many good times along the way too, at hot springs, waynesboro, duncannon, rutland, caratunk, katahdin itself, i'll never forget the people i met and hiked with. We really formed a strange sort of family out there and helped each other out when we needed it the most, they're all amazing people. The important thing is that now that i'm done, there's so much more that i want to do! Ranger-Super-Danger is crazy, she's done an ironman, now i want to do one too because of her! i also want to do an ultralmarathon, and ride a bike across the country, and i haven't even been to asia or africa or south america yet. There's so many amazing things to do, i can't wait to get started on my next adventure =) I know I complained a lot about hiking the AT, but now that i'm done, i'm feeling the urge to hike the PCT. it's another trail, it goes from mexico to canada, through california, oregon and washington. Anyone want to go with me? probably won't be for a few years, after grad school, or when i need a nice long break from grad school. it just seeps into your head and before you know it you're out there hiking, that's what happened to me with the AT, think about it and let me know if you'd like to take a little walk out west =) One last thing... no one hikes to Katahdin alone, all the emails, phone calls and care packages that people sent all helped get me to that mountain in Maine. No matter how small, it could've been a single email that said, "Hi, we miss you", and that could've been all it took to turn a miserable, crappy day into a wonderful day. never underestimate the small things. so a big thank you to everyone out there who helped make my hike a little better! So now i leave you with the same thing i left in the final register on the appalachian trail, it's a quote from Calvin and Hobbes (of course!):
"It's a magical world... Let's go exploring!"