Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One Year Ago

Has it already been a year since I completed the hike of my life time on the summit of Mt. Katahdin? I'd do it all over again, just to touch that sign!
I miss all my hiking buddies, I miss the trail, I miss all of those 2,176 miles of roots, rocks,and mud!
Here's my journal entry from August 13, 2008:

What can I say? After 2176 miles of trail, I have reached my goal. I've kept my eye on the prize (touching the sign on top of Katahdin) since March 21st. Through good times and bad, cold, heat, rain, magic moments, killer sunsets and sunrises, mosquitos and ticks, beautiful landscapes, great company and fellowship, excrutiating pain, blisters, sore feet and bum knees, inspired conversations, annoying irritations,and occasional boredom, I have arrived at the end of the trail. I am grateful to be here.
Katahdin was even more majestic and grand than I thought she would be. I had beautiful views on the way up and then clouds on the top, as it should be. I kept thinking about how Henry David Thoreau described the mountain in 1846 as "primeval, untamed and forever untamable nature". The climb was tough, the biggest single climb of the entire trip, with more than 4,000 feet of elevation change to reach the 5,267 foot summit. I don't think I really even noticed, though. I had really spent the last 146 days training for this very day. I felt nothing but adrenaline.
It was very special to finish with my trail buddies, Rethinker, SiteSee, and Apostle. I had hiked with these three guys at different times since Virginia, and the odds of us all finishing on the same day had to be be slim. It was also a great pleasure to meet Start and the Twins on their way up the mountain, as we were descending, knowing that they were on their way to finish. It was an honor to share this day with my fellow hikers, they were true friends and an inspiration at all times, I could not have hiked alone. After experiencing the Appalachian trail as a thru-hike, I have the upmost respect for any man, woman, girl, boy, or dog that has been through the challenges, hardships, and glories of the trail. I now know what they have been through, and it ain't easy!
Finally, I want to thank my family, friends, co-workers, fellow hikers, and journal readers for the monumental encouragement and support that I recieved while I was on the trail. I can't emphasize enough the importance of the emotional and mental boost that I got from the guestbook. I couldn't have hiked without it.