It is amazing and hard to believe that I’ve been on the Appalachian Trail for three months already. I know I hit the 962 mile mark at VA 522 in Front Royal, Va. yesterday and will hit the psychological half way point at Harper’s Ferry, WV in a mere 4 days. Every day just builds on the previous day and I’m content and happy to get up in the morning and hit the trail again.
I left the Shenandoah National Park yesterday and can tell you honestly I am glad to leave it. Even though the forest is thick and lush most of the way it seemed claustrophobic due to the close proximity of the Skyline Parkway that curves its way through the park and closely follows the AT. There is too much traffic noise, more day hikers, and fewer camping spots that aren’t close to the shelters.
I have several videos that I am uploading to YouTube* today. 360 degree views from the top of the mountains, bears running from the trail in the Shenandoah NP, deer in my camp and eating along the trail, and the dung beetle pushing a ball of dog doo on the trail (now that was a sight I never thought I would see).
I’ve uploaded lots of pictures to my AT Jann 2012 Facebook page. I get a kick out of the snails, millipedes, a bear butt, and other critters that also use the trail. I make a real point of not stepping on any of them even if it makes my walk a bit slower. It dawned on me that we must not have snails in Denver because it is so dry there.
Yesterday I met Healed, a former seven time thru-hiker, at a parking lot. In addition to providing wonderful trail magic, he was making a video documentary. I was honored to be asked to be interviewed and was brought to tears when asked about my thoughts on reaching Mt Katahdin. I realize it’s three months away, but the thought of being done with a life-long dream is bitter sweet.
My next big adventure on the trail is hiking from Harper’s Ferry with my dear friend Jenny. She’s coming out for her first week-long section hike on the AT. She may think she’s just coming for a week on the trail, but I know she’ll get hooked and want to return every year until she too has the 2,184 mile AT completed. We’ve spent hours on the phone over the past couple of months going over her preparation questions and concerns. It will be a new experience for me to hike with someone everyday since I am so used to hiking alone. But we’ve spent many wonderful hours running and walking on paths around Denver, this will be so comfortable for me to continue our conversation.
Jenny will be with me when I hit the physical half way point on the AT. I feel the second half of this adventure is going to be different from the first half. My friend Kokopelli will be a week ahead of me when I get back on the trail and the number of thru-hikers will dip a bit more as I hike through the northern mid-Atlantic states, heading for New England.
* You Tube is not cooperating today, I will add the videos as I can. If you subscribe to the channel you will be notified when new videos are uploaded.