A few weeks ago I hit a wall of fatigue. I was so tired I didn’t want to hike any more, talking about the trail or even be around any of my trail buddies. I wasn’t thinking about quitting, but I just needed a break from the trail. I could hardly face another day of waking up at the crack of dawn or carrying my 35lbs pack for another 15 miles.
I took a few days off and my wonderful best friend came for another visit. We took off to the Jersey Shore and went to Sandy Hook State Park, where we relaxed on the beach for a few days and ate lots of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. After a few days of that we drove back to the trail and did 3 easy days of hiking and had lots of good talks and best friend time.
When she left I was still feeling a bit blah, but after my fist day of hiking I was back and ready to go! I started to pick up my speed and was going 2.5-3 miles per hour (Which doesn’t sound fast, but trust me, it is. Try carrying your groceries home in a back pack.) which is some of my fastest time. I was able to hike 5 miles in around 2 hours which meant that I could hike 10 miles before lunch.
I met an older guy, Dr. Pepper, who was section hiking New Jersey and Pennsylvania down to Boiling Springs to meet his daughter at university, and we ended up hiking together for the next few weeks. Surprisingly we made a great team and became fast friends. I knew that when I got back on the trail after my Jersey Shore vacation I would be behind all my friends, so I was thrilled to have a new hiking buddy, especially one who hiked at the same speed as me.
We took turns hiking in front because the spider webs would get in your face as you hiked. Lucky for me, Dr. Pepper is 6’5 so he cleared all the webs and then some for me! We had lots of funny adventures both on and off the trail. One of my favorites was on a big day of hiking 22 miles. When we got to mile 21.5 there was a river and we went swimming, which felt great! As we got out of the water a man offered us a ride to Walmart. A long story short, Dr. Pepper got a credit card at the outdoorsy store to save me $25 on a sleeping bag liner I needed because its getting cold out, even though he didn’t want or need it. Then we ended up pushing our packs across a massive parking lot in a shopping cart and we looked like hobos. We had dinner at Subway, and then did our resupply in Walmart. We camped in the small town of Port Clinton beside a gazebo. I guess you had to be there… It was really fun.
I feel better now, and am fairly confident that I will keep on hiking. I’m still unsure if I will make it to Springer Mountain, GA, but I am enjoying the journey and loving the friends I am making along the way. I am now hiking with another girl named Foot, and we will pass the “Half Way There” mark tomorrow! I can hardly believe it!
I hope the weather stays warm! The nights have been getting chilly!