I hiked 20 miles today to a stealth campsite in the woods. There are a lot of frogs vocalizing tonight as the sun goes down.
The hike was good today, after a few miles of going it, it leveled off to gentle rolls up and down.
About 10 miles or so into today’s hike, I see what looks to be as small forest fire, which I estimate to be 5 miles away.
I sit down in the dirt on a ridge to have some lunch (tortillas, Spam, cheese and peanut butter). In a very short period of time, the fire gets much larger, it was amazing.
So I call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to let them know and they had me report it to the National Park Service. I could see flames and it kept getting bigger.
Thick smoke filled the skies and blocked the views. Ash started drifting in a some helicopters showed up. I am not sure what happened.
A while later, I came across a monument to a hermit named Nick Grindstone. It reads, “He lived alone, he suffered alone and he died alone.” He lived here for about 40 years and would come down twice a year for supplies. I have not found much else out.
So all of this put me in the mood to share a little about me being out alone. I am not really alone, there are other hikers of course, but far less it seems than at the start.
Anyways, my girlfriend loves strawberry Poptarts, so I make sure to have one a day, as it helps me feel connected in some way. When I go to town, I get a cold Coke. My family grew up a Pepsi family, but my grandparents on my dads side always had Coke, so that helps me feel connected. My grandpa would get very sick eating ice cream, but I remember as a kid on vacation, he would have a ice cream with me, so I would not eat it alone and then he would go be sick alone. So I have ice cream when I get to town, as it helps me feel connected. I also found a flower out here that smells just like the perfume Grandma Pat wore, identical, it blew my mind. On the trail I do other things too, to feel connected to people and to try to stay grounded and focused. You just have to find those meaningful things in life and keep them close. Usually, only I know why I do certain things and I am good with that.
Another successful day is wrapping up on the AT. I hope you found success in your day and will in your future happenings.