Forced to sleep in because the store didnt open until 7am. Now I know what youre thinking...why dont you just not be a pussy and run the last 15 miles without food. I considered. But when I get down from Katahdin and I have done 20 miles that is where I will camp for the night. I aint skipping dinner, I am a fatty at heart. Plus I wanted a redbull...duh wings. I got in and out of the store. As I was on the trail to BSC, I began realizing; 8 more miles and I am done carrying this pack. 7 miles and Im on the last climb. 6 more until your free to fly. 5 more hours. 4 till the floor. 3 its just me. 2 what can you do. 1 this is soo much fun. Chased a moose for the last half mile. I hit BSC. I saw my dad , lifted me higher. I dried my feet. Ditched the pack and packed my day pack ,...with pretty much nothing. I ran the first mile of the climb. It felt amazing. All the memories of the trail flowing through my mind like in the movies. I was crying and flying. The trail kicked up. It became a little technical. But I didnt miss a beat. My arms were doing half the work now. Grabing tree and rock, lifting me higher. I felt so alive. Superman ish. As I crested the ridge after some boulder hopping. I could see a hoard of people loitering at the top. The fact that I had a cool breeze, a crowd might be watching me and I was finishing the last mile of a 2200 mile journey, made me numb. I poured it on I was running. Hopping from boulder to boulder feeling the groove and climbing ever so slighly. The last bit kicks up. I only speed up. My lungs were burning for the first time in 2 months. Such a wonderful feeling. I got to the sign. 51:51? Thats a wierd time. Haha it was upside down. I couldnt tell. 12:12. I had left at 10:36. An hour and 36 mins to the top. No FKT but thats fast. I was exhausted. I took pictures and took it all in. I ate some skittles and found my pot of gold. But they were sour flavored skittles. And it began to sink in. Yes, I was done with the AT. But I still needed to hike the 5 miles back down. I know I said the AT was the hardest thing I ever did. But hiking down Katahdin was a pretty close second. I had no motivation. I was tired. Like 2200 miles tired. But I just reminisced the entire way down. The last mile I started running and by the end was sprinting. What an accomplishment. I felt so satisfied. I came along way. Struggled through some really difficult patches. And in the end, I sprinted.
What a journey. Thank you everyone who followed along, cheered me on or otherwise inspired/motivated/reved me up! I honestly recommend the trail for everyone. You dont have to do 40 miles a day. But get out there. Walk around. See some beauty. Meet some people. Restore your faith in humanity. Learn more about yourself. Think about what is important to you. Change your life for better. It is a life changing experience. For me and I think many other hikers. It is a struggle. And in my opinion, the best things come to you when you persevere through tough times and hardship, but still come out on top.
I know I will come back to the AT. It will take some time to forget the pain, suffering and trenchfoot. But ill get over it and miss the beauty and emotions. Maybe Ill get a crew and just run it. But I think I like the idea of being engulfed in the trail carrying all of your gear. Like an RV, drive and drive; home is where you stop for the night. No escape. A tunnel through the forrest. The only way out is through. The only shorter way; faster. If I do ever go for a record; I think I learned a lot that would be useful. I know for sure; I probably wouldnt tell anyone. Especially family and friends that love and care about me. In a sense it would be easier. Not to have the "support" as sometimes it turns from emotional/verbal support to physical/tangible support. Which, is just another challenge you dont need when you are already out there killing yourself. That being said...I already descended Katahdin. Maybe I am heading SoBo right now, trying to go for the record......you never know.
And so I will leave you with one more; one of my favorite songs......Pink Floyds "Fearless"
You say the hill's too steep to climb,
You say you'd like to see me try,
You pick the place and I'll choose the time
And I'll climb
The hill in my own way
just wait a while, for the right day
And as I rise above the treeline and the clouds
I look down hear the sound of the things you said today