Today is a zero day in Monson, Maine.
I think I have my food supplies set for the trek through the 100 Mile Wilderness. I am going to carry 7 days of supplies. The most I ever carried on this journey.
After I exit the 100 Mile Wilderness, I estimate it might be two more days until I summit Mount Kathadin, the last footsteps to take on the Appalachian Trail for me. My emotions are all over the board.
Thoughts and dreams of Mount Kathadin have filled my head every day since I started thinking about this moment about 1.5 years ago. Today, I feel a strong pull towards Kathadin, wanting to get there so bad and other parts of me not wanting this to end so badly. Destiny wills me forward. I shall hike on and if fate allows it, I shall summit and I will be a Thru Hiker on arguably the most difficult long distance hiking trail in the world.
This journey was never about conquering the trail or the mountains. For me, that would be a false illusion. Nature is not to be conquered. I worked with nature to make it this far, nature allowed me to pass through. This journey is more about what is within me and having the total freedom to rediscover self, time and place. For me, this only happens out in nature and after nature has exhausted you and stripped away all false pretense and artificial worthless barriers that were put up as societal protections. Only then, does the real you announce itself. Kathadin may be the end of the Appalachian Trail (it’s so hard to even acknowledge that fact), but it is not the end of my journey, not even close. The AT and I have bonds that cannot be broken. The trail will be with me forever. The trail has taken so much from me, but it has given me far more back for sure. It has restored my faith in humanity, it has shown me true and unconditional love, it has restored my confidence, I got to know the real me again, it has given me the ability to care and look out for others again which includes strangers, I have no self doubt left, lifes regrets no longer exist, I do not care what others think of me, I am strong and know how to get through very rough days, I am more compassionate, more open, more sensitive, more thoughtful and I am much tougher, stronger and resilient than before. There is so much more I could add.
I hit the trail tomorrow morning, continuing on the hardest and most amazing accomplishment of my life thus far. I am not sure how I will handle the transition to the urban world yet. I am also ok with not knowing, it may be difficult. The trail will be with me and when I need some help, I know the trail will provide what I need. That statement would have sounded so strange and odd to me before the trail. Now, it is just a reality that is.
Below are three quotes resonating with me.
“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never pushed through the obstruction.” – William James, American psychologist and philosopher
As I go forward, I am not sure how often I will be able to publish blog updates from the remote forest. I will post as resources allow, but there may be a time lag.
114.5 miles to go on the AT. 114.5 beautiful miles. Sending love and best wishes to all who have supported me.