I woke at Laurel Fork Shelter this morning, which puts me 146.9 miles from Hot Springs, NC.
I resupplied in Hampton, TN last night, and didn’t make it out of town until 8:30pm. The road walk back to the trail is sketchy enough in the day time, and down right dangerous at night. I decided to walk against the flow of traffic, and utilize my headlamps flashing red light for the first time.
I was up till 2am writing, attempting to capture some of the big take away lessons of the past 2,045 miles. I’m still too close to the situation to see things accurately. Though I am making notes along the way.
When I arrived home after my last long hike, I realized that the lessons I learned were seeds, not fruit-bearing mature ideas. Some time in the fertile environment of family and friends, will no doubt germinate the new crop I am bringing home this year.
For now, I continue in solitude. It’s absolutely bizarre to be on this path without so much as a hiking partner for over 600 miles. It has pushed me inward, and given me the freedom to expand beyond my perceived limits. I am a much stronger, tougher hiker for it.
The deep pit of gut-wrenching loneliness has only reared its head once this trip. Thankfully, the trail threw enough shit at me, that actions towards survival eliminated any time for self-pity. The sun is out now, and I am cruising across this ridge line.
I’m ready to be home, and ready to start a new chapter in my life. I miss my friends and family dearly.